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Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilizationby Nicholson Baker
Synopses & Reviews
Bestselling author Nicholson Baker, recognized as one of the most dexterous and talented writers in America today, has created a compelling work of nonfiction bound to provoke discussion and controversy—a wide-ranging, astonishingly fresh perspective on the political and social landscape that gave rise to World War II.
Human Smoke delivers a closely textured, deeply moving indictment of the treasured myths that have romanticized much of the 1930s and '40s. Incorporating meticulous research and well-documented sources—including newspaper and magazine articles, radio speeches, memoirs, and diaries—the book juxtaposes hundreds of interrelated moments of decision, brutality, suffering, and mercy. Vivid glimpses of political leaders and their dissenters illuminate and examine the gradual, horrifying advance toward overt global war and Holocaust.
Praised by critics and readers alike for his exquisitely observant eye and deft, inimitable prose, Baker has assembled a narrative within Human Smoke that unfolds gracefully, tragically, and persuasively. This is an unforgettable book that makes a profound impact on our perceptions of historical events and mourns the unthinkable loss humanity has borne at its own hand.
About the Author
Nicholson Baker was born in 1957 and attended the Eastman School of Music
and Haverford College. He is the author of seven novels, including Vox
and The Mezzanine, and three previous works of nonfiction, including
Double Fold, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award in 2001. He
lives in Maine with his family.
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