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Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Cover: 'Black Earth:  The Holocaust as History and Warning '

Staff Review: "Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning " by Timothy Snyder


Timothy Snyder's book "Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning" attempts to place Hitler and Nazi Germany within a political and cultural context. Starting with Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and tracing how Hitler's opinions expressed there found fruition in the Nazi state, Snyder explains how Hitler's negative views of Jews became one of the main thrusts for his government in conquering neighboring countries and working with the Soviet Union, before finally invading Poland and threatening the Soviet state. The author carefully illustrates how people who once collaborated the Soviet government to kill or deport ethnic Poles and Ukrainians were easily swayed, both by personal and state rhetoric to turn their attentions to the Jews of Eastern Europe.  
So often we hear, "How could this have happened?" when talking about the Holocaust. Snyder's book clearly lays out the Nazi strategy when it comes to dismantling countries and governments and how they were able to use the past misdeeds of a population to convince them that they were doing the right thing. Snyder describes how Hitler's methods could be used again during our time to lead to even greater death and so reminds us that those who do not understand and forget what has happened in the past are doomed to repeat it.

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

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