Oct 232012

In last Friday’s Philosophy in Action Newsletter, I recommended three books on the Holocaust that I’ve read recently. I thought I’d post those recommendations here, with a reminder that you can get the special offer of a free 30-day trial subscription with Audible at AudibleTrial.com/PA.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reading — or rather, listening to — books on the Third Reich and the Holocaust.  I’m particularly interested in personal narratives: I want to know what it was like to live through that inhuman era, including the warning signs available to ordinary people of the coming disaster.

It’s difficult but rewarding reading.  I’m not just acquiring knowledge: I’m honoring the victims of the Third Reich by listening to their stories.

Here, I’ll just recommend three books:

Life and Death in the Third Reich by Peter Fritzsche (Amazon & Audible)

I’d strongly recommend this book as a from-the-ground overview of the Holocaust.  It focuses on people’s experiences of the Third Reich — drawing heavily on letters and journals — against the background of major political and military events.  It’s also an excellent intellectual history: it looks deeply at the ideology and goals of the Nazis, in order to make sense of their actions.  (Thanks to this book, I understand that so much better than ever before now.)  It includes thoughtful discussions of the moral culpability of ordinary Germans too.

Night by Elie Wiesel (Amazon and Audible

This was a painfully poetic personal narrative — and it’s a classic for good reason.  It’s short, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Forgotten Voices of the Holocaust by Lyn Smith (Amazon and Audible)

I just finished listening to this book yesterday morning.  It consists of small stories told by Holocaust survivors, organized chronologically and topically, with the narrator providing an overarching context.  In the audiobook, the stories are just segments of the interviews, and they’re often so much more emotionally moving as a result.  I couldn’t stop listening.

Except on occasion, I won’t be replicating these tidbits from the Newsletter blog posts or elsewhere, so if you’d like to see it, be sure to subscribe. By doing so, you’ll receive weekly announcements of upcoming broadcasts, posted podcasts, and exclusive tidbits of advice.

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