Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning
The essential new book by the author of Bloodlands – ‘The most important work of history for years’, Antony Beevor
A radical reframing of the Holocaust that challenges prevailing myths and draws disturbing parallels with the present.
We have come to see the Holocaust as a factory of death, organised by bureaucrats. Yet by the time the gas chambers became operation more than a million European Jews were already dead: shot at close range over pits and ravines. They had been murdered in the lawless killing zones created by the German colonial war in the East, many on the fertile black earth that the Nazis believed would feed the German people.
It comforts us to believe that the Holocaust was a unique event. But as Timothy Snyder shows, we have missed basic lessons of the history of the Holocaust, and some of our beliefs are frighteningly close to the ecological panic that Hitler expressed in the 1920s. As ideological and environmental challenges to the world order mount, our societies might be more vulnerable than we would like to think.
Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands was an acclaimed exploration of what happened in eastern Europe between 1933 and 1945, when Nazi and Soviet policy brought death to some 14 million people. Black Earth is a deep exploration of the ideas and politics that enabled the worst of these policies, the Nazi extermination of the Jews. Its pioneering treatment of this unprecedented crime makes the Holocaust intelligible, and thus all the more terrifying.
For more reading on how 'Hitler's World May Not Be So Far Away' (Guardian) http://bit.ly/1KfRB2c
"Timothy Snyder's bold new approach to the Holocaust links Hitler's racial worldview to the destruction of states and the quest for land and food. This insight leads to thought-provoking and disturbing conclusions for today's world. Black Earth uses the recent past's terrible inhumanity to underline an urgent need to rethink our own future" (Ian Kershaw)"A wholly readable and utterly persuasive attempt to get us to look at the Holocaust in a different light. I read it twice, aghast but gripped by the moral abyss into which I was plunged on each page" (Observer)"Black Earth is provocative, challenging, and an important addition to our understanding of the Holocaust. As he did in Bloodlands, Timothy Snyder makes us rethink those things we were sure we already knew" (Deborah Lipstadt)"Part history, part political theory, Black Earth is a learned and challenging reinterpretation" (Henry A. Kissinger)"In this unusual and innovative book, Timothy Snyder takes a fresh look at the intellectual origins of the Holocaust, placing Hitler's genocide firmly in the politics and diplomacy of 1930s Europe. Black Earth is required reading for anyone who cares about this difficult period of history" (Anne Applebaum)"Timothy Snyder’s Black Earth is not only a powerful exposure of the horrors of the Holocaust but also a compelling dissection of the Holocaust’s continuing threat" (Zbigniew Brzezinski)"Timothy Snyder is now our most distinguished historian of evil. Black Earth casts new light on old darkness. It demonstrates once and for all that the destruction of the Jews was premised on the destruction of states and the institutions of politics.I know of no other historical work on the Holocaust that is so deeply alarmed by its repercussions for the human future. This is a haunted and haunting book―erudite, provocative, and unforgettable" (Leon Wieseltier)"Timothy Snyder argues, eloquently and convincingly, that the world is still susceptible to the inhuman impulses that brought about the Final Solution. This book should be read as admonition by presidents, prime ministers, and in particular by anyone who believes that the past is somehow behind us" (Jeffrey Goldberg)"Always readable, highly sophisticated, and strikingly original" (Bernard Wasserstein Jewish Chronicle)"Black Earth is mesmerizing" (Edward Rothstein Wall Street Journal (Europe))"an engrossing and often thought-provoking analysis of Hitler’s antisemitic ideology and an intelligently argued country-by-country survey of its implementation between 1939 and 1945" (Richard J Evans Guardian)"A masterful work" (Spectator)
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