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    1. Man's Search For Meaning
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    2. Soldiers and Slaves : American
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    20. The Nuremberg Interviews

    1. Man's Search For Meaning
    by Viktor E. Frankl
    list price: $6.99
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    Asin: 0671023373
    Catlog: Book (1997-12-01)
    Publisher: Pocket
    Sales Rank: 518
    Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
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    Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl is among the most influential works of psychiatric literature since Freud. The book begins with a lengthy, austere, and deeply moving personal essay about Frankl's imprisonment in Auschwitz and other concentration camps for five years, and his struggle during this time to find reasons to live. The second part of the book, called "Logotherapy in a Nutshell," describes the psychotherapeutic method that Frankl pioneered as a result of his experiences in the concentration camps. Freud believed that sexual instincts and urges were the driving force of humanity's life; Frankl, by contrast, believes that man's deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose. Frankl's logotherapy, therefore, is much more compatible with Western religions than Freudian psychotherapy. This is a fascinating, sophisticated, and very human book. At times, Frankl's personal and professional discourses merge into a style of tremendous power. "Our generation is realistic, for we have come to know man as he really is," Frankl writes. "After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord's Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips." ... Read more

    Reviews (174)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Book to Provoke, What is Your Life's Meaning?
    I wish I read this 20 years ago, it would have created a whole new perspective on my life. I won't repeat what many of the other fine reviewers have mentioned, but will add the following:

    According to Frankl, man's search for meaning is his primary motivation for life, not a secondary rationalization.

    Existential Vacuum, in today's Modern Society, we all have basic food, and shelter, we all can survive (thank goodness we don't have to endure what Frankl had to), we are all comfortable in our existence, and yet this comfort creates boredom, and therefore, our search for meaning is even more compounded. Thus is what Frankl refers to as existential vacuum, we exist today day to day, but do so in a vacuum of existence, until we know our meaning.

    Man should not ask what is the meaning of life, but rather BE asked. In response, man must answer in his responsible, to whom is he responsible to, to what, to whom?

    True meaning is discovered in the world, not within man himself. Seek out your experiences, the meaning is out there in the world, not within yourself.

    You cannot avoid untentional suffering, but you can change your attitude towards it, to give suffering a meaning to you.

    Live your life as though you were living it the second time. View life as a series of movie frames, the ending and meaning may not be apparent until the very end of the movie, and yet, each of the hundreds of individual frames has meaning within the context of the whole movie.

    View your life from your funeral, looking back at your life experiences, what have you accomplished? what would you have wanted to accomplish but didn't? what were the happy moments? what were the sad? what would you do again, and what you wouldn't?

    A must read for anyone searching for a deeper meaning in life. The book won't give you the meaning, only you can, but it will certainly help you get started.

    5-0 out of 5 stars POWERFUL AND COMPELLING!
    I look with awe and reverence at those who have survived Auschwitz and similar death camps and am amazed beyond belief at how they managed to survive not only physically, but emotionally. I do not believe any amount of psychology could fully prepare one for the horrors inflicted on the survivors of such attrocities. Both my parents fought for their country overseas during the World War II and I heard, first hand, of stories that touch, horrify and will remain with me for a lifetime.

    Dr. Frankl developed an approach to psychotherapy known as, logotherapy. At the core of his theory is the belief that man's motivational force is reaching for meaning. While this book is not one that could be described as enjoyable reading, there is something about the author's experiences that will remain with us long after the book has concluded. Frankl gives meaning to life, despite life's suffering, and in a thought-provoking manner leaves a lasting impact on the reader that could well change the path of direction you choose to follow and how you continue to live your life.

    4-0 out of 5 stars All have a unique meaning to life to personally discover!
    After years of hearing others praise this book, I finally read it for myself, and found it is worth reading! Dr. Victor Frankl, an author-psychiatrist, experienced first-hand the horrible atrocities that were forced upon the Jews in Nazi Concentration Camps, and lived to tell about it. He shares the truths he learned as a prisoner, including man's search for meaning in life, and his ability to survive extreme physical and emotional hardships, despite the odds. In the process he developed a new approach to psychotherapy, known as "logotherapy." At the root of the theory is the value of helping others find their unique purpose or mission in life.

    What was the key to the survival in the Nazi death camps? It wasn't survival of the fittest in the traditional sense of those who were the most physically robust of the human species. Rather it tended to be those individuals, described below, who found inner survival strength as follows:

    (1.) Those who had a meaning in life, a sense of purpose, or intent to accomplish a goal. It was Dr. Frankl's desire to survive the death camps so that he could write and publish his experiences and truths learned through his suffering.

    (2.) Those who had a spiritual belief in God and a faith that there was a divine plan for them. They believed God would help them through their difficulties. Dr. Frankl said: "In spite of all the enforced physical and mental primitiveness of the life in a concentration camp, it was possible for spiritual life to deepen."

    (3.) Those who had an intellectual life to fall back on (in their thoughts) during the monotonous, strenuous, and most painful times of endurance. He states: "Sensitive people who were used to a rich intellectual life may have suffered much pain... but the damage to their inner selves was less. They were able to retreat from their terrible surroundings to a life of inner riches and spiritual freedom." This was something their oppressors were not able to take away from them.

    (4.) Those who held on to the cherished bonds of loved ones. Dr. Frankl often found strength by carrying on imagined conversations with his beloved wife who had been taken to another death camp. His ability to communicate his love for her in his thoughts, and receive back her love, gave him the incentive to hold on to life during the toughtest of times. Unfortunately his wife was not able to survive, but he didn't know this at the time. (Perhaps it was her Spirit he was communicating with afterall.)

    I was impressed with the description Dr. Frankl gave of a few of the prisoners, who despite being in a starving and sickly state, managed to go around offering aid and moral encouragement to others. Such individuals often gave of their meager piece of daily bread to keep another fellow prisoner alive. Such selfless service in the face of death, was truly admirable.

    In the second half of Dr. Frankl's book he distinguishes the difference between his theory of logotherapy and that of traditional approaches to physcho-analysis. At the core of his theory is the challenge to help individuals discover for themselves their reason for being, even a worthwhile goal. He quotes Nietzche who said: "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how." Dr. Frankl says: "The meaning of life always changes, but it never ceases to be." This book can be a great resource for readers to evaluate their own purpose in life, and perhaps in the process choose a path that is worthwhile not only to them but that will benefit others as well.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Both touching and helpful!
    This book was touching to the point that it was painful to read at times. Yet, the overall message of this book is wonderfully exhilarating. Whatever meaning you find in your life is your life. If that meaning gives you hope, you will have hope. If that meaning gives you despair, you will find despair. This is a fantastic piece of existential work! The whole idea in this book reminds me a bit of the concept of the self-system in Toru Sato's genius book "The Ever-Transcending Spirit". Now "The Ever-Transcending Spirit" is a much newer book but it is another truly excellent book that takes these things one step further by integrating these ideas with the psychology of relationships as well as transpersonal experiences. I recommend this Frankl and Sato's book very very much! They are both outstanding!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A monumental work of human courage
    This book would be instrumental to those who wish to understand the greater purpose behind their suffering. The author describes his enduring many horrific experiences of the Holocaust while discovering a greater meaning in these experiences.

    Viktor Frankl believes there is a deeper meaning behind the suffering many continue to experience. He also feels that it's one's personal challenge to discover the purpose behind the pain they feel. While being non-judgmental about human suffering, the author sees our pain as a source of strength rather than as a sign of weakness.

    This book is ideal for those who are seeking the greater meaning in their suffering. While much of his story takes place during the Holocaust, the lessons are universal to anyone who has ever experienced great difficulty. ... Read more

    2. Soldiers and Slaves : American POWs Trapped by the Nazis' Final Gamble
    by Roger Cohen
    list price: $25.95
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    Asin: 037541410X
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-26)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 2039
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Holocaust Did Happen to Our Boys Too!
    I had first heard of Berga and the 350 American GI's - Jewish - but in many cases not, who were herded by the Nazis into the Berga camp on a PBS special last year - and my reaction was shock, anger, but even admiration - NOT for the Nazis but for that gallant German-American Captain who not only defied the Gestapo by refusing to turn over his Jewish personnel but tried to escape several times.

    There have been stories - even other books written about Jewish-Americans, GIs but also in some cases civilians who were swept into the Third Reich by Hitler's advancing armies.This is the first history of how Americans faced firsthand the Holocaust by a mainstream publisher. While men like Erwin Rommel chose not to differentiate between Jews and Non-Jewish POWs; there were others, including those involved in the Bulge operation who chose to do so. The 350 prisoners at Berga were captured at the Bulge, where the Nazis were known to have committed atrocities en masse - the Malmedy Massacre against unarmed American POWs - and Belgian civilians nearby.

    While more fortunate than their compatriots butchered by the SS Monster Peiper at the Malmedy crossroads, at least 70 of the Americans - Jews and Non-Jews alike, perished from starvation, exposure - and execution - at the Berga camp. The Americans too, came face-to-face with the horror of Hitler's extermination program, as they were placed in close promixity to starved, slaved Russian and Polish Jews who were also at Berga.

    When the survivors were liberated they were told to keep silent, and worse, Berga ended up in the Soviet zone - and notwithstanding the Soviet's intense hatred of the Nazis - they chose NOT to expose what happened at Berga - after all, to the Russians they were only ZHIDS - and the Russkies too wanted the former Nazis on board with them to fight us in the Cold War. That is NO excuse however,for our government, especially in the face of Eisenhower's hatred of Nazism, to cover over the atrocities committed against AMERICAN GIs at Berga.

    Roger Cohen has given us a history that while is appalling - is one that needs wide-exposure, as our GREATEST GENERATION is dying out and anti-Semitism is again rearing its ugly head. The stories of the brave Captain aforementioned; and of the individual Americans who stood up to the bestality of Nazism deserves to be placed in every American school and library.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Soldiers and Slaves
    Soldiers and Slaves by Roger Cohen is the story of 350 Americans, captured during the Battle of the Bulge, who end up in a Nazi slave labor camp.A major portion of this group were Jewish.The prisoners were sent from a Stalag, where the Jewish prisoners were separated from their fellow POWs.How these men were treated at Berga was a travesty.What was a greater travesty however was how the Americans allowed those who perpetrated these heinous acts to get away with what, considering how they treated their prisoners, amounted to nothing more than a slap on the wrist.Cold war concerns got in the way of justice.The men who were able to survive the camp and the horrific death march after they were forced from the camp by their Nazi guards were heroes in every sense of the word.Those who are alive today still suffer both physically and emotionally as a result of their experiences.Recently, another book on the same subject was published.Although that book was good, this one is a much more interesting read and I recommend it to any WWII buff.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Little Know Incident in a Horrific War
    When the Germans attacked in what is now known as the Battle of the Bulge they captured more American soldiers than any other battle. Most of these captured solders were treated with at least some respect and with some consideration of the rules set forth by the Geneva Convention.

    During this time however, some 350 soldiers were specially selected by the Nazi's as being Jewish, some by the "H" (Hebrew) on their dog tags, some just by looking Jewish to the Germans. These unfortunate captives were sent to a camp at Berga and forced to work at digging tunnels that were to hold a synthetic fuel factory. More than 70 of then died. Those that still lived have the appearance we've come to expect from the German camps, rail thin starvation.

    This is a little known incident in a horrific war. It is perhaps made worse because of the disappearance of Berga into the Eastern zone, the Cold War that followed. Maybe it was forgotten simply because it was too small. That is not to say that any life isn't important, but with perhaps 50 million killed.... ... Read more

    3. Buried by the Times : The Holocaust and America's Most Important Newspaper
    by Laurel Leff
    list price: $29.00
    our price: $19.14
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    Asin: 0521812879
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-21)
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    Sales Rank: 9113
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Buried by The Times: The Holocaust and America's Most Important Newspaper is an in-depth look at how The New York Times failed in its coverage of the fate of European Jews from 1939-1945. It examines how the decisions that were made at The Times ultimately resulted in the minimizing and misunderstanding of modern history's worst genocide. Laurel Leff, a veteran journalist and professor of journalism, recounts how personal relationships at the newspaper, the assimilationist tendencies of The Times' Jewish owner, and the ethos of mid-century America all led the Times to consistently downplay news of the Holocaust. It recalls how news of Hitler's 'final solution' was hidden from readers and - because of the newspaper's influence on other media - from America at large. Buried by The Times is required reading for anyone interested in America's response to the Holocaust and for anyone curious about how journalists determine what is newsworthy. ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars It doesn't surprise me
    I was turned on to this book by a friend and when I next saw him, he asked me, refering to the author Laurel Leff's revelations, "did you know that?" I answered that I didn't know that the Times had basically hidden the news of the holocaust but, on the other hand, finding this out didn't surprise me. Sulzberger was an assimilated Jew, the descendent of Rabbi Steven Wise, a renowned Reform Rabbi whose theology was very assimilationist. Thus, despite his Jewishness, the Times rarely ran a major story about what was going on in the concentration camps and the stories that were written were not positioned in a prominent place. If they made the front page, it would not be postioned as the lead story.

    Incredibly, the coverage of the holocaust did not mention "Jews" specifically. By reading the Times, you would not have known the extent of the genocide nor would you have known that Jews were the major target of the Nazi extermination efforts. It is important to note that there was never a "smoking gun" uncovered, i.e., a memo or written directive from Sulzberger ordering the staff of the Times to soft pedal the events in the concentration camps. What is beyond dispute is that the Sulzberger family was secular and did not view Jews as a people. What is further beyond dispute is that the coverage by the Times was scant. Thus, whether by directive or not, the Times failed miserably in its role as "journal of record," making a mockery of its motto "all the news that's fit to print. What is particularly reprehensible is that members of the Sulzberger family were being rescued while the details of the holocaust were being quashed.

    The Times, could have been influential but, tragically, it failed to exercise it's influence. Roosevelt basically looked the other way and, in sadness, we can only wonder whether he could have withstood the pressure and continued to do little if the Times had fully covered the events. Back then the Times obviously had an agenda and today, it still does. There was daily coverage of the Abu Ghraib prison abuses with one breathless headline after another. That was the more recent Times' agenda, specifically, to discredit the efforts in Iraq, particularly in an election year when the events there might have been a campaign issue. Tragically, there were no such breathless headlines during the darkest hours of the holocaust.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good research but....
    This is a very good book about how the New York Times family owners purposefully avoided dealing with the issue of anti-Semitism in Europe, and particularly Nazi Germany, while at the same time the Sulzberger family did everything it could to get its relatives out before the deluge. Laurel Leff has done a masterful job of showing how the Sulzberger clan became complicit in one of the darkest chapters in human history by not using the power of the paper to expose the real nature of the evil that Nazism was. Of course she does address the fact that anti-Semitism was not just a German issue, but from my perspective she does not go into enough detail about the extent of anti-Semitism in the US, and particularly major movers and shakers such as Joseph Kennedy who hated Jews so much that he always referred to them as "kikes" and opposed any action by the Roosevelt administration to educate the American public about the threat to Western civilization, even though he was ambassador to the Court of St. James at the time.
    But the problem with this book is that it focuses on the Times as if it somehow committed this sin for the first time in misleading the American public. I agree with her thesis that the Times has been hoisted as the most influential paper in the world among lazy elites, including those who have reviewed her book, but that is rapidly changing now, primarily due to the fact that the paper has failed so miserably in many areas, including the latest diversions of small change like Jason Blair. But the biggest holocaust of the last century did not occur in the ovens built by the Nazis, it was committed in the Ukraine when Stalin's forced collectivization starved far more Ukrainians to death than Hitler killed with his Zyklon-B. And the Times had a reporter, Walter Duranty, in Moscow at the time who won a Pulitzer Prize for mis-reporting this horror. Duranty was "Stalin's apologist" in many ways, dismissing honest reporters who covered the biggest holocaust as "overwrought"when they filed stories about the millions murdered by Stalin, filing stories about the "show trials" of Stalin as if they were legitimate trials that led to the deaths of millions more, and many other atrocities. Most serious scholars now have to acknowledge that the starvation of 8 million Ukrainians was not just an "unintentional consequence" of collectivization, and it really remains the NY Times most outrageous attack on the truth, the Nazi death camps notwithstanding. There are many stories in the NY Times thatreveal the lie that is it's masthead of "All the news that's fit to print." The Times fought mightily to keep Duranty'sprize last year when serious reporters wanted to take it away because it was gained by fraudulent means. Of course the paper has done a great job of condemning the awarding of Olympic medals by drug-enhanced athletes, but can't see the hypocrisy of its own efforts to keep Duranty's decades of duplicity being rewarded with a Pulitzer.
    I recommend this book because it shows the hypocrisy of the Sulzberger clan in dealing with Hitler's "final solution" but it is not the biggest sin committed by this paper in miseducating the people it supposedly serves.
    ... Read more

    4. "A Problem from Hell" : America and the Age of Genocide
    by Samantha Power
    list price: $17.95
    our price: $12.56
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    Asin: 0060541644
    Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
    Publisher: Perennial
    Sales Rank: 5526
    Average Customer Review: 3.92 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize For General Nonfiction National Book Critics Circle Award Winner

    In her award-winning interrogation of the last century of American history, Samantha Power -- a former Balkan war correspondent and founding executive director of Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy -- asks the haunting question: Why do American leaders who vow "never again" repeatedly fail to stop genocide? Drawing upon exclusive interviews with Washington's top policy makers, access to newly declassified documents, and her own reporting from the modern killing fields, Power provides the answer in "A Problem from Hell" -- a groundbreaking work that tells the stories of the courageous Americans who risked their careers and lives in an effort to get the United States to act.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (140)

    3-0 out of 5 stars A strong but limited argument for intervention.
    "A Problem from Hell" is a straightforward condemnation of the US government for inadequately dealing with instances of twentieth century genocide in Armenia, Nazi Germany, Cambodia, Iraq, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Kosovo. It is a passionately written and often suffers from an intemperate advocacy that doesn't seriously consider any counter-argument.

    The legal history of genocide is first reviewed, concentrating on the work of Raphael Lemkin, the lawyer who defined the word. Implicit throughout that which follows is Lemkin's principle that the United States (or any other capable nation) has not only the right but the responsibility to interfere when genocide occurs. Power argues that in every historical instance, the US government did in fact recognize genocide (even if it didn't admit as much) and refused to react adequately, if at all. However, her reliance on international treaties and easy moral outrage makes for a rather weak case, for two reasons.

    First, the strongly interventionist position is advocated without any serious consideration of the costs. Although she asserts that diplomatic and economic pressures might be effective, it is conceded that most cases would require military force and the deployment of ground troops. At the very least this would lead to American deaths, and in some cases carries that danger of a wider war. Such concerns are generally dismissed as a "realist" stance which needn't be a concern in the face of genocide, although it is acknowledged that NATO intervention in Kosovo has had "mixed" results.

    The book's second and greater weakness is to place the blame for immoral inaction on top State Department officials and, ultimately, presidential administrations without addressing the public opinions by which they are constrained. The Clinton administration, for example, is faulted for not following through on a promise to act in Bosnia, without noting that this relatively minor (and narrowly targeted) campaign promise would become a major issue if substantial military force later became necessary. Likewise, interventionist State Department officers are depicted as victims of their timid superiors without much explanation of the constraints of public opinion when, in fact, a strong interventionist policy could only have followed if there had been public support. Power's indictment of presidential administrations should really be explicitly extended to the voters who put these folks in power, people who aren't terribly interested in assuming the responsibilities of an international SWAT team.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Important point well put
    In this exhaustively researched book, Power examines the United States of America's reaction to the notion of genocide in the twentieth century, examining some of the greatest tragedies of the era, and the individuals who tried, either positively or negatively, to shape the American reaction to them. This is not a one-sided, leftist rant against a great power - rather it is a considered look at the fact that the US uses the genocide convention to suit itself, both the feel-good-look-good factor of agreeing with its worth and the political expediency of denying its implementation. This is not to say that the US is always at fault when it comes to preventing or stopping genocidal actions - and Power notes this, especially in reaction to the obvious genocide in Africa - but as the largest power in the 20th century, the US was often the nation that was in a position to decide if action was to be carried out or not. This is not so much a study in human misery (though there is plenty in this book) or the brave individuals attempting to discourage it (though there are many of those in this book too- the most outstanding being Major General Romeo Dallaire, commander of UN peacekeeping troops in Rwanda when the great troubles broke out) but a study in the politics of genocide and intervention. Well written and well sourced, don't be put off by the page count - you can easily divide this book into manageable sections. But it should be read by all people who are interested in world affairs, even if only to compare America's previous inaction when it suited them to their ability to intervene in another country when they believe it is in their interest.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Thorough but short-sighted
    In "A Problem From Hell", Samantha Power makes an ambitious attempt to analyze a century of Genocide, beginning with the 1915 Genocide of Armenians by the Turks, and ending with the still all-too-recent horrors in Kosovo. She finds the usual suspects, in the form of ruthless dictators and hate-mongers who cynically deny any wrongdoing even as mass graves are dug up, and western politicians who hold the scales of justice in their hands (in the form of modern military forces) but who find their own precious political careers weightier than the lives of thousands--or even millions--of people "over there". She also finds a few unusual heroes, particularly a Polish Jew named Raphael Lemkin with a habit of accosting high goverment officials as they stroll the halls of Congress.
    I must give Ms. Power credit for avoiding some of the knee-jerk anti-war attitudes of the contemporary left. No shrinking violet, she clearly advocates the position that it is acceptable--even an imperative--to go to war when the moral cause is compelling. Nor is she in principle averse to using the tools of retail politics. If a western coutry can muster selfish reasons to act on behalf of a moral cause, so much the better.
    She falters, however, by not showing how a western politician can make such a decision more palatable to his or her constituents. She musters a powerful argument for the moral need to stop genocide, and to pay a price in blood and treasure to do so, but this is of little practical value in the post-Nazi, post-civil rights era when every politician pays lip service to ending genocide. As such, I am afraid this book must be viewed as merely one of the best in a long series of books whose only real value is to preach to activists for whom genocide is already an overriding concern. Despite an earnest effort, Samantha Power has failed to bridge the gap between activists, and those western leaders who have the muscle to stop genocide, but who also have quite a bit else on their minds.

    5-0 out of 5 stars See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil
    In 1994, during the ongoing genocide in Rwanda, Christine Shelley, the Department of State spokesperson, tried to explain the official American view of what was happening in Rwanda. In doing so, she offered one of the most perverse exchanges ever on the issue of genocide: "we have every reason to believe that acts of genocide have occurred in Rwanda." "What's the difference between acts of genocide and genocide?" asked a journalist. "Clearly not all of the killings that have taken place in Rwanda are killings to which you might apply that label"; "how many acts of genocide does it take to make genocide?" the journalist pressed; "that's not a question that I'm in a position to answer."

    This frustrating exchange, coming more than two months into a genocide that ultimately claimed 800,000 lives, is testament to the pervasive influence that the term genocide has acquired in the public mind. It is also evidence that the long efforts of Raphael Lemkin, who conjured up the concept of genocide in 1933, baptized it a decade later, and converted it into an international crime in 1948, had finally paid off. Lemkin had achieved part of what he dreamed: to create a word that would trigger the imagination and moral outrage necessary to cause good people to prevent such horrific acts of barbarity and inhumanity.

    Samantha Power, of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, traces the history of genocide in the twentieth century by focusing on how America reacted to the genocides it had to confront in the past hundred years: that in Turkey against the Armenians, in Hitler's Germany, in Cambodia, in Iraq, in Rwanda, and the former Yugoslavia. The book, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003, synthesizes an amazing array of information that together combine for the most authoritative review of the subject. Blending together her journalistic instinct for story-telling, her writer's gift for precision and concision, and her historian's eye, she produces a masterful account that navigates between the human tragedy of genocide and the cold political calculus of responding to it.

    Her verdict is as indictable as her hope is refreshing. The failure to prevent genocide rests on a complex nexus that leads political reasoning to favor inaction. An inability to imagine how terribly human beings can act when fueled with hatred, a perverse belief that action will do little good, a political calculus that punishes commission more so than omission, and a supposed handicap in obtaining a clear picture of what is happening all conspire to allow American policymakers to rationalize inaction, even when faced with overwhelming evidence that their intervention is essential to save thousands or even millions.

    But the story is not all depressing. From the Armenian genocide in 1915, policymakers have been willing to stand up and demand that their country act. Sadly, their appeals have been met with little excitement, and often they have proven professionally suicidal. Yet, there is certainly a learning curve; the fear of reliving "another Rwanda," for example, has a powerful institutional influence that may prompt action in the future. What is certain is that if this wholesale tilt in American foreign policy is ever to become a reality, "A Problem from Hell" will have played a major role in bringing it about.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Brutally Honest
    A Problem from Hell, written by Samantha Power, delves deep into the flesh of American History. Touching on the many problems in Iraq, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Kosovo, Power takes these issues and discusses what America did, or the lack of action, and what the American public has not been aware of. What I found fascinating about this book was not only the hard and stunning facts, yet also Samantha Power's explanation of genocide, and further, what she feels America should do in the future. Her ideas resonated with our current situation in Iraq, and after reading this book it made me think about our place in that situation. Our country has repeated the same mistakes over and over again, and through the many situations where we should have learned our lessons, we have just ignored other calls for help. The quote at the beginning of the book, by Abraham Lincoln, sums up her ideas, "We - even we here - hold the power, and bear the responsibility." Abraham Lincoln knew that with a powerfully growing nation, what comes hand in hand with this power is responsibility. The US has not taken this responsibility, yet when were hit with the devastating loss of citizens in the World Trade Center attack, many countries came to our aid and supported us in our loss, yet when other countries are hit even harder, we sit at the sidelines. This book is riveting and brutally honest, and will open anyone's eyes to the atrocities that our country has committed. ... Read more

    5. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
    list price: $5.50
    our price: $4.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0553296981
    Catlog: Book (1993-06-01)
    Publisher: Bantam
    Sales Rank: 2494
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    A beloved classic since its initial publication in 1947, this vivid, insightful journal is a fitting memorial to the gifted Jewish teenager who died at Bergen-Belsen, Germany, in 1945. Born in 1929, Anne Frank received a blank diary on her 13th birthday, just weeks before she and her family went into hiding in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. Her marvelously detailed, engagingly personal entries chronicle 25 trying months of claustrophobic, quarrelsome intimacy with her parents, sister, a second family, and a middle-aged dentist who has little tolerance for Anne's vivacity. The diary's universal appeal stems from its riveting blend of the grubby particulars of life during wartime (scant, bad food; shabby, outgrown clothes that can't be replaced; constant fear of discovery) and candid discussion of emotions familiar to every adolescent (everyone criticizes me, no one sees my real nature, when will I be loved?). Yet Frank was no ordinary teen: the later entries reveal a sense of compassion and a spiritual depth remarkable in a girl barely 15. Her death epitomizes the madness of the Holocaust, but for the millions who meet Anne through her diary, it is also a very individual loss. --Wendy Smith ... Read more

    Reviews (436)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Diary of Anne Frank was a wonderful book.
    I read the book, "The Diary of Anne Frank." I thought that it was not only a wonderful book, but it was very real. It is the captivating story of a young girl, told to her diary about her life, growing up under sone of the strangest, and saddest conditions. It was written in Holland in the early 1940's, during the anti-semetic movements of the Nazi party. Is is told from the innocent eyes of a child, forced to go into hiding to escape Nazi persecution. She lives under close quarters, with seven other people. I felt, because the book was so real, that I actually knew the characters in the book. I found myself relating to ideas that Anne had and things that she said. I think that everyone should read this book because is is an insight into life, love, and hate. I believe that this is a great book and could be enjoyed by anyone.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl
    The book that I just finished reading is called Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl written by Anne Frank herself. It is one of the best book that I have ever read. It tells you about the life of a teenage girl who is trying to survive the awful times of the Holocaust while in hiding. Along with her, there are seven other people living in this hiding place. She learns how to cooporate with other people and how to live while all cooped up. The story takes place in Amsterdam and the hiding place is called the "Secret Annexe". There are two people who get them their food and take care of them. The end of this book is so heart-wrenching that it is unbelieveable. I would definately give this book nine stars out of ten. This book is so informative that is really makes you realize how fortunate we really are these days. It explains everything so well that you can't even believe that something this horrible could ever even happen. This book has definately made me think completely different in a good way and I hope that it will do the same for you.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Franco's Fabulous Book Review
    Anne Frank, a 13 year-old, strong-willed, and courageous girl, is living in the Secret Annex during WWII to escape the Nazi regime. Anne, along with her family and close friends, are hiding from the Nazis because they are of the Jewish faith. Anne falls in love with Peter, a 15 year-old boy who is living with her in the Secret Annex. They become very close as they spend time in the attic trying to escape Peter's annoying mother. The group living in the Secret Annex has to be extremely careful. If they make too much noise, they have a chance of being caught. If they are caught, they will most likely be sent to a concentration camp. Any loud noise or movement could cost the eight tenants of the Secret Annex to die.
    "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl" is an amazing book. It lets you realize how lucky we are to live in the world we live in today. The struggles that Anne and the group go through to live a "normal" life are nothing like anyone in today's world would be forced to go through. It allows people interested in WWII to gain information as to what is was like to live during the war.
    "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl" is a must read. It is ver informative, yet allows the reader to learn about WWII in an interesting way. So, if you like WWII and are interested in learning what it was like to live back then, this book is for you. It is also a good piece of historical fiction. Pick it up today!

    Julie Francolino

    4-0 out of 5 stars A diary that truly depicted War...
    I earnestly almost cried after reading this book.I was 13,the same age as Anne's when she started writing her diary,whom she called "kitty".

    For those who have no idea who Anne Frank is,she is a Jewish girl and the youngest of two girls.Her father was successful businessman...and the family led a happy and wonderful life after settling down in the bustling city of Amsterdam,that was until Adolf Hitler started the Nazis.The Nazis was an anti-Jew operation,where they would capture Jewish men and tortured them.The women and young and old were not let off either,many were sent to concentration camps,where living conditions there were so bad,many died of diseases rather than the slow torturings.

    It was at this time that Mr Frank decided to go into hiding with his family.With some of his kind-hearted co-workers,they managed to perfect a secret hideout.Anne,her mother and sister Margot began moving into the hideout,which was located just behind the office.Joining them were the Van Dans (not sure if spelling is right)who had a son named Peter and a doctor.Life was very tough,for living behind the office with barely a bookshelf as a wall means not making loud noises.No one must know of their existense,so all everybody could do is to crept round their area softly,tip-toeing and even speaking in hush-whistle.

    For almost 2 years,that's the life of Anne.A growing teenager,she could not go out to the streets to watch a movie,play with her friends or even talk to boys,for that means getting caught by the Nazis.It was also round this time that Anne had one true friend where she can confide everything to:kitty,her diary.

    In her diary,she wrote of how talkative she was in class(she went to school before the hiding),how she hates her mother when the latter compared her to her sister Margot,how she detested Mrs Van Dam...and her deepest thoughts on growing up in a secret hideout.She also shared about her crush on Peter,who also liked her.

    Anne,as we could see,was a normal girl,someone who detested writing,someone who likes a boy and someone who wants to grow up being an author.Well,you could say she is one now,with her diary published after the war, which was later translated to more than 50 languages and sold millions worldwide...but the young girl,unlike her diary,did not survived through the war,for she was captured from her hideout one fine day.Mrs Frank,Margot,the doctor,the Van Dams and Anne herself,all died.All except for Mr Frank himself,who survived...

    By the way, a little unknown fact about her Anne:her real name is Annelies Marie Frank.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Anne Frank:The Diary of a Young Girl
    The epic Adventure of Anne Frank, born in Germany Anne Frank spent two years of her life in Astonishing Circumstances. Anne faces adventure when the Nazis where murdering Jews. Anne, Mummy, Daddy, Mrs. Van Daan, Mr. Van Daan, and Peter. All hid in a secret passage in an old warehouse in Amsterdam. Anne and her diary explains of the fear of being discovered by the Nazis. Yet within it, a tender love story slowly unfolds-from her shy avoidances with peter to incessant glances and first kiss! Thus her diary is not a lament but a song to life, no matter the circumstances, no matter what the threats.
    Great book for all ages, and you can't beat the low price. ... Read more

    6. Auschwitz
    by Laurence Rees
    list price: $30.00
    our price: $19.80
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 158648303X
    Catlog: Book (2005-01-30)
    Publisher: PublicAffairs
    Sales Rank: 376167
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    Book Description

    Published for the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-a devastating and surprising account of the most infamous death camp the world has ever known.

    Auschwitz-Birkenau is the site of the largest mass murder in human history. Yet its story is not fully known. In Auschwitz, Laurence Rees reveals new insights from more than 100 original interviews with Auschwitz survivors and Nazi perpetrators who speak on the record for the first time. Their testimonies provide a portrait of the inner workings of the camp in unrivalled detail-from the techniques of mass murder, to the politics and gossip mill that turned between guards and prisoners, to the on-camp brothel in which the lines between those guards and prisoners became surprisingly blurred.

    Rees examines the strategic decisions that led the Nazi leadership to prescribe Auschwitz as its primary site for the extinction of Europe's Jews-their"Final Solution." He concludes that many of the horrors that were perpetrated in Auschwitz were driven not just by ideological inevitability but as a"practical" response to a war in the East that had begun to go wrong for Germany. A terrible immoral pragmatism characterizes many of the decisions that determined what happened at Auschwitz. Thus the story of the camp becomes a morality tale, too, in which evil is shown to proceed in a series of deft, almost noiseless incremental steps until it produces the overwhelming horror of the industrial scale slaughter that was inflicted in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. ... Read more

    7. The Orientalist : Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life
    by TOM REISS
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $17.13
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1400062659
    Catlog: Book (2005-02-15)
    Publisher: Random House
    Sales Rank: 3147
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (18)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Gives life to those memories and images of yesteryear
    I was captivated by the narrative of The Orientialist so thoroughly that I found myself reading whole sections aloud: to myself and to whomever came within the sound of my voice.Tom Reiss' writing style evoked many cross currents of sounds and images from my childhood.I was eight and a half when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

    My parents bought and read Time, Life, Collier's, Saturday Evening Post, The Grit, subscribed to two newspapers, and played the radio throughout the day up till bedtime.I remember listening to the London radio reports of Edward R. Murrow with my parents.I saw at least one movie newsreel each week during WWII.And at age 11 I had an evening paper route; my delivers were also late because before starting my route I read the war correspondents' columns and read the news items and studied the maps concrning the Allies' progress against the Axis.

    So, Tom Reiss' The Orientalist called forth a grand perspective of just how important the time of history that the life of Lev Nussimbaum covered really was.And Reiss' narrative illustrates how significant the life of a single person, no matter how obscure, mysterious, and "insignificant," can be for getting a profound insight into how history is about life and death, not just about names, dates and places.

    The Orientialist should be read by those who don't know about "this past," and, especially it should be read by those who have forgotten "this past."

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Orientalist
    The author of this truly wonderful book has written a fascinating story about an enigmatic figure in history, but the intriguing substory interwoven into the narrative is that which chronicles the dogged research he did to discover his material.Along with this remarkable tale of following every scrap or paper, every character, every hint and rumor, he encountered amazing coincidences.Somebody said you never have really good luck unless you work very hard, and this is surely the case here.

    The descriptions of Baku in the early 1900s and Berlin between the wars are vivid and moving, and provided me information I had never heard before.I have a special interest in Turkey and the Middle East, and the attitudes among Jews and Muslems of the 20s and 30s was enlightening.

    One of the best books I have ever encountered.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Loved the Orientalist
    I knew very little about the fascinating pre and post World War I erathat is so very well illuminated in this book, and about how the major Empires of Europe all collapsed in a few years.The life of the mysterious lead character, Essad Bey (with numerous aliases!) held me spellbound - in an earlier Hollwyood era, he would have been portrayed on the screen by Peter Lorre, as in a Bogart movie.All in all, this book is a fabulous recreation of some really weird times in history -- (almost as weird as today!) Literally could not put the book down and await Tom Reiss' next book eagerly.

    Bill Sheldon, Glenview IL

    5-0 out of 5 stars past and prologue
    'The Orientalist' is as clear a portrait as one can find about how we got, in a series of horribly transfixing steps, from WW I to WW II. People under 60 do not realize how close we are still to that time and how easy it would be to repeat it. I am 63 and have a friend (Christian) whose family escaped their farm in Latvia just ahead of the Russians, leaving the farm wagon and the old horse with a bit of hay on the wharf. Our Bible class teacher's grandfather, a rabbi, was one of the last 800 people to get out of Lithuania before the borders were closed.

    One does not feel that the spirit of Europe perhaps is less different today than it was then, despite the intervening 60 years. Factions of Communists, Nazis, Socialists, and Fascists still battle it out in many countries. The Rom, the Jews, and other ethnicities are still disliked and persecuted, and, if you read Malcolm Muggeridge's books and the new 'The Cube and the Cathedral,' Christians are not too popular either. It may be that Europe retains more of its barbarian heritage, its paganism, than anyone would like to admit.

    Lev Nussimbaum, with a fascinating history from a region that looked hopefully multiethnic in 1900, is worth knowing, as well as his bittersweet novel 'Ali and Nino.'

    5-0 out of 5 stars Bringing the tapestry of history to life
    What a great "can't put it down"ead.

    Mr. Reiss describes the rich tapestry of social and political life in Europe and the Middle East which produced conditions which brought Hitler to pass.All this is woven through a tale of the life of a man as complex and complicated as the times in which he lived. ... Read more

    8. Maus : A Survivor's Tale : My Father Bleeds History/Here My Troubles Began/Boxed
    by Art Spiegelman
    list price: $28.00
    our price: $18.48
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0679748407
    Catlog: Book (1993-10-19)
    Publisher: Pantheon
    Sales Rank: 2928
    Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Volumes I & II in paperback of this 1992 Pulitzer Prize-winning illustrated narrative of Holocaust survival. ... Read more

    Reviews (107)

    5-0 out of 5 stars More subtle than can be understood in a single reading
    These books are an easy and fast read, but by no means are they simple. In two slim comic books, Art Spiegelman chronicles his parents' movement from comfortable homes in Poland to the death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau, and from there to a surreally banal afterlife in upstate New York. We watch the destruction of the Holocaust continue in Spiegelman's father's transformation from a bright, good-looking youth to a miserly neurotic, his mother's deterioration from a sensitive, sweet girl into a suicide, and in the author's own unhappy interactions with his parents.

    I have read some of the most negative reviews of these books, and I respectfully disagree. Some negative reviews ("Spiegelman is a jerk") castigate Spiegelman for his shamefully self-interested milking of his father's life and the Holocaust. Other negative reviews find fault with the unoriginality of the story, or discover historical inaccuracies, self-contradictions, or simplifications in the tale. Finally, a set of reviews are upset with Spiegelman's coding of people of different nationalities as animals(especially the Poles, who were also victimized by the Nazis but are depicted as pigs in the comics.)

    The first criticism is both deserved and unfair. Deserved, because Spiegelman profits by the pain and death of millions, including his own family. Unfair, because Spiegelman himself consciously provides the basis for our criticism that he mocked and neglected his elderly father at the same time that he fed his own success upon his father's tales. The two volumes echo with his regret and unexpiable guilt at his treatment of his parents, and at his own success and survival. To attack Spiegelman for these things is like scolding a man in the midst of his self-immolation.

    The second type of criticism finds _Maus_ to be sophomoric, inaccurate, or repetitive of other Holocaust survivor's experiences. The defense here is that Maus is the story of a single family, seen through the eyes of a single man (Vladek Spiegelman), and filtered again through his son. It is almost certain that the elderly Vladek forgot, exaggerated, or hid details, just as it is certain that his son summarized and misunderstood. However, the quasi-fictionalized format of the comic book throws this subjectivity into relief. The destroyed diaries of Spiegelman's mother are a reminder of the millions of life stories left untold, including stories perhaps too horrible and shameful for the survivors to reveal. _Maus_ does not claim to be an objective, authoritative history of the Holocaust, and in fact tries to emphasize its own limitations.

    While other works may better convey the Jewish experience in the Holocaust, the innovative format of _Maus_ justifies its existence, as it allows the story to reach a greater audience.

    Finally, many have objected to the negative stereotyping of the many peoples appearing in the book, especially the Poles. Spiegelman draws the Jews as innocent mice, but the Germans as bloodthirsty cats, and the Poles as selfish pigs. More amusingly (because they appear infrequently in the story) the French are drawn as frogs, the Swedes as reindeer, and the British as cold fish. The Americans are dogs, mainly friendly bow-wow dogs but also sometimes cold-eyed predators capable of pouncing on a mouse or rat. I believe that the wrongness of stereotypes was a major reason why Spiegelman used them. The Nazis are recorded as having called the Jews "vermin" and the Poles "pigs". Whether they had the qualities of these animals or not, they were treated as such... and such they were forced to become despite themselves. The Jews had to hide, hoard, and deceive; the Poles were compelled to act out of self-interest just to survive.

    In other words, I think that Spiegelman's stereotypes were a deliberate choice. The WHOLE POINT of _Maus_ is how the dehumanization of the Holocaust twisted people beyond their capacities... how the camps tried to make people as ugly and despicable as their worst racial stereotypes, by making them all alike in their fear. Sometimes they succeeded.

    Neither Poles nor Germans are depicted as only selfish, cowardly, and cruel in _Maus_. In fact, there are many Polish in Spiegelman's books who are shown as fellow-sufferers, or kind despite the risks to their own lives, just as there were Jews who betrayed their own. Look closely at the drawings-- I open Maus II to a random page, and see both pigs and mice in the prison suits, both as capos and victims. Who is the kind priest who renews Vladek's hope on page 28? A Pole! Even the Germans are seen to suffer from the war, caught by powers beyond their control. Meanwhile, Vladek himself is shown to be an inflexible racist (II, p. 98).

    I argue, therefore, that the above criticisms of _Maus_ show a hasty reading of the books and poor comprehension of how an artist(even of non-fiction) chooses to convey a theme.

    As a non-European, I have no personal investment in Jewish, German, or Polish points of view. However, as a second-generation American and child of war survivors [a civil war, so we are both victims and oppressors], I have a chord that resonates with the story of the Spiegelmans. I just re-read "Maus II" this afternoon and found to my amazement that it was still able to draw tears. In fact, when I first read the Maus books ten years ago I don't recall them affecting me so deeply... but I was younger then and had only an intellectual understanding of many things, such as love, fear, guilt, death, and weakness.

    I wholeheartedly recommend these books to those who are willing to read them more than once. If you are not moved by them now, perhaps later you will be. Meanwhile, let's do our best to stop such suffering around the world.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Modern Allegory
    A veteran of the underground comic scene in the 1970s and a more recently a cover artist for the New Yorker, in the late 80s, Art Spiegelman undertook a project of interviewing his father Vladek, a Polish Jew who survived the holocaust in Auschwitz. He turned the narrative into an allegorical, graphical representation of the ordeal, in which Europe is a menagerie of humans behaving at our raw, animalistic worst, and perhaps best as well. Umberto Eco claimed that "Maus is a book that cannot be put down, truly, even to sleep." This was certainly true for me when I read it. Perhaps the only 'comic book' (as inappropriate as that term may be here) to win a Pulitzer Prize, Maus is gripping and compelling. Some have criticized it for relating simply a story which was no more remarkable than millions of others. Can anything different be said, however, of Night, or The Diary of Anne Frank? Does that make it any less important that the story be told? And yet, in Spiegelman's cat and mouse play, where moral virtues, failings, and decrepitude are writ large, Maus is also exceptional because of the strength of its allegory, which is almost Spenserian in its strength.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Yet Another Sanctimonious Telling of the Holocaust
    This is yet another sanctimonious telling of the Holocaust. Maus is the blatant type of trivialization being taught to our children that leaves most unaware of the other victims of the holocaust. For American school children the Holocaust has become synomous with Jewish history. Maus simply reinforces most historical literature which focuses on the six million Jewish victims to the exclusion of the nine million Gentile victims. This book goes so far as to portray one of the Nazis other targets, the Poles, as fattened pigs going about their business unmolested by the Germans! There were three million non-Jewish Poles who perished in this tragedy, many trying to save their Jewish neighbors. Shame!

    "The genocidal policies of the Nazis resulted in the deaths of about as many Polish Gentiles as Polish Jews, thus making them co-victims in a Forgotten Holocaust. This Holocaust has been largely ignored because historians who have written on the subject of the Holocaust have chosen to interpret the tragedy in exclusivistic terms--namely, as the most tragic period in the history of the Jewish Diaspora. To them, the Holocaust was unique to the Jews, and they therefore have had little or nothing to say about the nine million Gentiles, including three million Poles, who also perished in the greatest tragedy the world has ever known. Little wonder that many people who experienced these events share the feeling of Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz, who anxious when the meaning of the word Holocaust undergoes gradual modifications, so that the word begins to belong to the history of the Jews exclusively, as if among the victims there were not also millions of Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, and prisoners of other nationalities." Richard C. Lukas, preface to The Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles under German Occupation 1939-1944

    1-0 out of 5 stars Anti-Polish Propaganda
    While this a moving account of one families experience during the holocaust, the depiction of Poles as pigs in Spiegelman's "Maus" an unfair and highly insulting caricature. Poles suffered horribly under Nazi occupation. No nations suffered worse. Six million Poles were murdered. Roughly half were Jewish and half Gentile. In fact exterminating Poles was also part of the Nazi master-plan. They were victims and to portray them as pigs is a grave injustice. While I read the reviews pointing out pigs have positive traits or are neutral animals, it is disingenuous to present the selection of the pig as representative of the Pole as anything but a slur. Germans are shown as cats. This is no wonder since cats chase mice. Apart from that, cats are quite nice animals. This, however, does not pertain to pigs. I suggest when reading this book you research the positive events in the 1000 history of Polish Jews. For starters, visit Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Over 11,000 'Righteous Gentiles' are honored; almost 5,000 are Polish. These are non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A landmark comics work
    "Maus," Art Spiegelman's moving tale of the Holocaust and how it impacts a family a generation later, is hailed as a comics classic for a reason. It is a landmark work that transcends the term "comics."

    Through the seemingly absurd decision to use animals in place of people - Jews are mice, for instance, while Nazis are cats - Spiegelman manages to avoid coming across as heavy-handed, exploitative and melodramatic. The reader never feels that they are reading an educational tome with badly drawn people better suited for school than compelling entertainment. Instead, through the use of universal cartoon imagery, the emotional tug of the story is successfully conveyed.

    Two threads are woven throughout. The first deals with the Holocaust directly, from the years before Jews were taken to the camps and then to release. The second thread deals with Spiegelman's relationship with his father many years later, and that relationship's ups and downs as the author tries to get the oral history he needs to tell the tale of "Maus." All of the pain, confusion, death, turmoil and horror of the Holocaust comes home, as does the autobiographical tale interwoven throughout of the author's relationship with his father - who is also the central figure of Holocaust survival.

    Modern editions of this book ("Maus" was originally published in serial form) are generally produced very well. The two-book slipcase offered here is sturdy and attractive to look at. The pages are printed on thick, glossy stock. The black and white artwork really shines, every stroke visible and vibrant. Mine has been read multiple times and still looks great.

    "Maus" is compelling reading that requires no great love of comics to enjoy. History lovers, those interested in the Holocaust, and people who like stories about family struggles will enjoy this. Readers will quickly forget they are reading a comic, instead becoming wrapped up in the story Spiegelman has to tell. A highly recommended buy. ... Read more

    9. On Hitler's Mountain : Overcoming the Legacy of a Nazi Childhood
    by Irmgard A. Hunt
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $17.13
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060532173
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
    Publisher: William Morrow
    Sales Rank: 19532
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    On Hitler's Mountain is a powerful, intimate, riveting, and revealing account of a seemingly halcyon life lived mere paces from a center of evil and madness; a remarkable memoir of an "ordinary" childhood spent in an extraordinary time and place.

    Born in 1934, Irmgard Hunt grew up in the picturesque Bavarian village of Berchtesgaden, in the shadow of the Eagle's Nest and near Adolf Hitler's luxurious alpine retreat. The very model of blond Aryan "purity," Irmgard sat on the Führer's knee for photographers, witnessed with excitement the comings and goings of all manner of famous personages, and with the blindness of a child accepted the Nazi doctrine that most of her family and everyone around her so eagerly embraced. Here, in a picture-postcard world untouched by the war and seemingly unblemished by the horrors Germany's master had wrought, she accepted the lies of her teachers and church and civic leaders, joined the Hitler Youth at age ten, and joyfully sang the songs extolling the virtues of National Socialism.

    But before the end -- when she and other children would be forced to cower in terror in dank bomb shelters and wartime deprivations would take a harrowing toll -- Irmgard's doubts about the "truths" she had been force-fed increased, fueled by the few brave souls who had not accepted Hitler and his abominations. After the fall of the brutal dictatorship and the suicide of its mad architect, many of her neighbors and loved ones still clung to their beliefs, prejudices, denial, and unacknowledged guilt. Irmgard, often feeling lonely in her quest, was determined to face the truth of her country's criminal past and to bear the responsibility for an almost unbearable reality that most of her elders were determined to forget. She resolved even then that the lessons of her youth would guide her actions and steel her commitment to defend the freedoms and democratic values that had been so easily dismissed by the German people.

    Provocative and astonishing, Irmgard A. Hunt's On Hitler's Mountain offers a unique, gripping, and vitally important first-person perspective on a tumultuous era in modern history, as viewed through the eyes of a child -- a candid and fascinating document, free of rationalization and whitewash, that chronicles the devastating moral collapse of a civilized nation.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (9)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Growing Up in the Shadow of The Eagle's Nest
    You may have read numerous books on World War II, but Irmgard Hunt has written an account from her viewpoint of growing up in Nazi Germany in the town of Berchtesgaden.She describes conflicting opinions held by family members regarding Adolf Hitler and her confusion as to who and what to believe.Was he Germany's savior or a monster to be feared?School became something she hated due to pro Nazi teachers who indoctrinated the students and abused their authority with unnecessary corporal punishment.One of her classmates was the son of Albert Speer while another was the son of the executed Fritz Sauckel. Irmgard describes an experience of a fanatical pro Nazi teacher who insisted she get up in front of the class and state how proud she was that her father gave his life in the war for the Fuhrer.Another of her teacher's appeared to be a kindly woman who gently asked whether or not one of her relatives was supporting the Fuhrer.She hesitated in answering, but then lied that he doesn't talk about the situation.She later found her teacher was an informant for the Gestapo, and shuddered as to how close she had come to consigning him to a concentration camp.She also relates her uncomfortable experience of sitting on the knee of Hitler in addition to her fear of allied bombings and wondering how the Americans would treat her family members once they invaded Berchtesgaden.This book is told from the viewpoint of a child and the fears and conflicting thoughts she had regarding the war.The book also includes a picture of Hitler's Berghof after it was bombed along with a picture of the Eagle's Nest sitting on top one of the mountains.The author also speaks of her beginning to challenge her mother's beliefs.The war became tiresome and Irmgard realized she had been robbed of a significant part of her childhood.This book is a quick read, but whether you are a grizzled veteran of World War II books or a neophyte this is a book that gives you the war from a different viewpoint ( a child).

    5-0 out of 5 stars A valuable book!
    Irmgard A. Hunt's memoir, "On Hitler's Mountain," is a valuable, fascinating addition to the accounts of the Second World War.Hunt, born in 1934, gives a clear, heartbreaking account of daily life during the 12 years of Hitler's regime.She makes no excuses for how her countrymen (and parents) fell for Hitler's line of a "greater Germany," particularly after the horrid, humiliating Treaty of Versailles, the subsequent inflation and hunger of the Weimar period, and the seeming miracle of the 1933-1938 period.Her father was a draftee in the German army, and died in France.Illustrated with family photographs, and appropriate non-family photographs, this book is well worth reading, and deserves to be included in school curricula worldwide. Hunt grew up, came to the States, married, had two children, and became an executive in several organisations in defence of the environment.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
    Irmgard Hunt's book is a thoroughly engrossing story of a childhood in extreme circumstances.Equally enthralling is her description of how evil crept so easily into German society.Her parents voted for Hitler in 1933 because they were desperate for stability and prosperity.Their middle class respectability kept them from questioning authority or the authoritarian tactics of the Nazi regime.

    Her description of the hardships and ravages of the war from a child's point of view makes for a fascinating narrative.Someone once said of U.S. Grant's memoirs that it's the only book about the Civil War that you keep reading because you want to find out how the war turned out.The same can be said of Hunt's book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Young Girl Growing Up In Nazi Germany
    She was on the politically correct side of the fence. She even got to sit on Hitler's lap and her parent's supported Hitler. However, she was in other ways an ordinary German trying to live an ordinary life and to have a regular childhood. Through her eyes the reader has an opportunity to answer some of the questions that most readers have. What was it like to be an "ordinary" German citizen caught up in the evilness of the time? How did "ordinary" German citizens react to the crimes all around them?

    Hunt writes of her life and the lives of adults around her. She sheds light on how this criminal government came about and of the complacency those persons who could have stopped it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A remarkable memoir
    On Hitler's Mountain is a beautifully-written, thought-provoking memoir of Nazi Germany from the perspective of a young blond German girl.Irmgard Hunt describes the everyday life of her childhood in a remarkably frank style.She resists any temptation to justify or editorialize her recounts of her joining the Nazi youth group or her parents support for Hitler.Her depictions of war-time poverty and the pressures from teachers and neighbors to conform don't seek to justify the behavior of her family and neighbors.Rather, they illuminate how one can be lured into thinking or acting in ways that are in retrospect so monstrously wrong.

    Like me, you may well finish this book in just three evenings and not stop to wonder how you would have behaved, either as a child or an adult, in Nazi Germany. ... Read more

    10. Doctors from Hell : The Horrific Account of Nazi Experiments on Humans
    by Vivien Spitz
    list price: $23.95
    our price: $16.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1591810329
    Catlog: Book (2005-05)
    Publisher: Sentient Publications
    Sales Rank: 22254
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    Book Description

    A chilling story of human depravity and ultimate justice, told for the first time by an eyewitness court reporter for the Nuremberg war crimes trial of Nazi doctors. ... Read more

    11. The Plot: The Secret Story of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
    by Will Eisner, Umberto Eco
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0393060454
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-16)
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 2808
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A work more disturbing than fiction from "the father of graphic novels" (New York Times).

    Will Eisner, the great American master of comics, has undertaken what he regards as his most powerful work yet. The Plot examines the outrageous fabrication of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which purports to be the actual blueprint by Jewish leaders to take over the world. Hatched as an anti-Semitic plot by the tsar's secret police to deflect widespread criticism of the government, the Protocols, first published in 1905, succeeded beyond the propagandistic ambitions of its originators; the lie became an internationally accepted truth. Presenting a pageant of historical figures including Tsar Nicholas II, Henry Ford, and Adolf Hitler, Eisner exposes the twisted history of the Protocols from nineteenth-century Russia to modern-day Klan members to Islamic fundamentalists. The Plot unravels one of the most devastating hoaxes of the twentieth century. ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Carefully exposes a very old fabrication
    Actually, this is quite a powerful and scholarly book.

    Yes, it is in comic book format.But there is no mistaking its seriousness.We see how a satirical French work which had nothing to do with Jews was transformed by some Russians into a libel against Jews in general.And we see the history of this fabrication as it makes its way through Europe and World War II, as well as into the Arab world, the Americas, and elsewhere.

    If there is one thing on this planet that outrages me more than anything else, it is anti-scholarly lies.We humans aren't worth much without our brains, and our brains are not worth much unless we value truth.Lies are major causes, in my opinion, of many human misfortunes, including plenty of unnecessary wars.And I think lies such as the fabricated "Protocols" need to be exposed.

    A minor point that occurs to me is that many people call "The Protocols" a "forgery."While that is certainly true, it can give a few people a misleading impression that there is a genuine Protocols and they are reading the wrong one!I prefer to call "The Protocols" a fabrication.

    In this book, we see many people claim victory over this lie, only to see "The Protocols" arise again, like some sort of undead monster.But I think this misses a big point.Namely that there is a difference between a lie, produced with a serious intent to deceive, and a taunt (such as, say, "your mother is a garbage truck") which is designed to insult and certainly is untrue, but does not have deception as a primary goal.A taunt can't have deception as a primary goal (imagine the taunted victim admitting that yes, her mother truly is a garbage truck, and here is a photo of the truck and a birth certificate).

    That means that "The Protocols" really can be defeated.Oh yes, copies will still be sold here and there.But most responsible people will dismiss this as a taunt, not as a controversial or serious work.And that is indeed happening.I think the deceptive power of this fabrication is diminishing, maybe significantly.

    There will be other lies in the future.And "The Protocols" is still around.But, with that big stake through its heart, this libel is indeed in just the kind of trouble it deserves.

    I recommend this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Stand For Clarity And Justice
    In what is the final work from Sequential pioneer Will
    Eisner (1917-2005), the great graphic storyteller turns
    his wide-ranging attention to the depiction of a
    grievously non-fictional wrong. In THE PLOT, Eisner
    culminates a decades-long examination of the historical
    fabrication which is widely considered the source of
    anti-Semitic propaganda which spans a century, working
    its poison around the world, even now.

    THE PLOT is an astute Sequential narrative denoting the
    concoction of THE PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION, and
    painstakingly follows the blind establishment of this
    gross and clumsy lie as authenticated fact across the
    ages. A disgruntled Russian bureaucrat plagiarizes the
    work of an 19th century Parisian satirist, transforming
    a poke at the tyrannies of a French emperor into a
    damning denigration of an entire group of human beings.

    The astonishing point made by Eisner, more astonishing
    than the hatching of a genocidal conspiracy for the sake
    of political convenience, is the manner in which this
    lie has endured, and spread its evil message across the
    years... even after THE PROTOCOLS have been methodically
    and repeatedly exposed as the malicious lie that it has
    always been! From Tsarist Russia, this cancerous document
    has sown its seeds of hate everywhere, from England's
    Winston Churchill and America's Henry Ford in 1920 to
    the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis from 1921 on through
    WW II.
    Even now, the bigotry engendered by the propagation of
    THE PROTOCOLS wreaks havoc with the common sense of the world,
    as reflected through its avid usage by the worst participants
    of fundamentalism, whether engaged in the burning of crosses,
    the bombing of mosques, or the terrorism of those taking
    revenge for Crusades past with more blind slaughter.

    Eisner's artistry, setting precedents for 70 years, is
    prodigious here. His depiction of THE PLOT's unveiling
    tableau, stark in its black & white tones while elusively
    gray in its basic textures, is an ingeniously succinct
    way to impart this penetrating tale of wrongdoing which
    perversely endures, and a virtue which must never falter.

    In utilizing the gifts which he has honed over the course
    of a lifetime, Will Eisner has set a standard for the ages;
    further establishing the Sequential field as a literary
    arena far more diversified than the narrowing yardstick
    applied to "funny pages", while taking a concrete stand
    for Clarity and Justice.
    Make no mistake about THE PLOT. There's nothing comic about
    this tale, or what's at stake if we, as human beings do not
    heed the truth, at last.
    ... Read more

    12. A Short History of the Jewish People: From Legendary Times to Modern Statehood
    by Raymond P. Scheindlin
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $14.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0195139410
    Catlog: Book (2000-07-01)
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
    Sales Rank: 34110
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Secular History Of The Jews- Beautifully Written
    Raymond P. Scheindlin has managed to write, in 263 pages, an accurate, secular and very readable history of the Jewish people. He takes the reader, chronologically, from the period of the first known references to the Israelites outside the Bible, (1220 B.C.E.), an Egyptian inscription commemorating the victory of the pharaoh Marniptah over the wandering tribe, to the declaration of Israeli statehood in 1948, and further still to the present peace negotiations in the Middle East. This sweeping and highly informative work presents the major geographical, cultural and political forces that have determined the course of Jewish history. Scheindlin also discusses the many individuals, secular and religious, who have shaped the mindset and character of the Jewish people.

    I am taking a course in Jewish history and asked my professor for "an excellent but readable book" on the subject. I told him I wanted to be able to "enjoy the reading process as well as study." He immediately suggested Rabbi Scheindlin's "A Short History of the Jewish People." I must say that if it is possible to call a history book "riveting" and "compelling" and still maintain credibility, I will say it. I could not put the book down! The text is beautifully written and the history itself, as well as the people who made it, are fascinating. The book also serves as an excellent outline of Jewish History and has assisted me in understanding the course's assigned texts. Highly recommended!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Narators of History
    This book serves as an excellent outline of Jewish History. If there is a time period you are not familiar with, this book will illuminate using the Jews as narators. An accurate, reliable telling, which can be used by the reader as a launching point for further study on a wide range of historical events and personalities. ... Read more

    13. A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East
    by David Fromkin
    list price: $20.00
    our price: $13.60
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0805068848
    Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
    Publisher: Owl Books
    Sales Rank: 2110
    Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling account of how the modern Middle East came into being after World War I, and why it is in upheaval today

    In our time the Middle East has proven a battleground of rival religions, ideologies, nationalisms, and dynasties.All of these conflicts, including the hostilities between Arabs and Israelis that have flared yet again, come down, in a sense, to the extent to which the Middle East will continue to live with its political inheritance: the arrangements, unities, and divisions imposed upon the region by the Allies after the First World War.

    In A Peace to End All Peace, David Fromkin reveals how and why the Allies came to remake the geography and politics of the Middle East, drawing lines on an empty map that eventually became the new countries of Iraq, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon.Focusing on the formative years of 1914 to 1922, when all-even an alliance between Arab nationalism and Zionism-seemed possible he raises questions about what might have been done differently, and answers questions about why things were done as they were.The current battle for a Palestinian homeland has its roots in these events of 85 years ago.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (66)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent perspective on this period- Highly recommended!
    For those that are interested in the events surrounding WWI and its aftermath, this book is an incredible resource for gaining a wider understanding the events that led to the sometimes coincidental developments that continue to have repurcussions today. Particulary interesting is the developments leading up to the Sykes-Picot agreement that pretty much arbitrarily divided up the Middle East between France and Britain; the Balfour Declaration and the conflicting ideas many leaders at the world stage at that time had about their intentions therein; placement of the different regimes in artificially created states in the Middle East; and the often conflicting views and actions of officials on the ground and politicians back home, most of whom did not have an accurate grasp of the real situation.

    Particularly interesting is the section on Iraq, where some note the difficulties of forcing together a country of Shiis, Sunnis and Kurds, and to be ruled by a Christian, hasn't anyone in a decision making position today read their history?! I recommend this book to leaders dealing today with the Middle East.

    Also very impressive is the strength of Mustapha Kemal and the Turks in saving their country from total occupation, an endless array of fights going on for many years, while at the same time fighting internally with the small groups loyal to the corrupt, west-loving sultan. His accomplishment, when viewed within the wider context of how hopeless their situation seemed at the outset, their success in creating a new country out of the remains of a partitioned, ruined, exhausted empire is incredibly impressive, he is a rare leader in world history who has accomplished true greatness, and the Turks are right in revering him so.

    Overall, though the details can get to be so many that one can lose focus of the main events (they are very interesting nonetheless), this is an excellent source for understanding the interaction between the Allies during a very turbulent period, and many mistaken beliefs that led to wrong policies, repurcussions of which are still held today. It's a fascinating read given the current situation in Iraq, Israel and Palestine today. Fromkin has researched the period thoroughly, refutes commonly held beliefs about the period, and leaves the reader with a sense of awe at the fascinating interactions between the various actors on the stage. I would recommend it to those who have some basic knowledge of the period, this is not a textbook of learning the basics, but an excellent source of enriching one's knowledge that helps to understand similar intricacies in international relations that go on today.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
    "A Peace to End All Peace" is a book to end all books on the middle east.

    The book studies the formation of the modern middle east-and the crumbling of the former Ottoman Empire-from the period 1914-1922. At the onset of this time, Britain ruled the world, the Czar ran Russia, and the US was just an up and comer. At the end of this period, Britain's imperial ambitions were waning, Russia was now the Soviet Union, and the US had demonstrated its power through its presence in WW I.

    Through the careful research and well thought-out text, the reader can see how the modern day nations of Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, and Turkey were formed. You can see also see how their modern day troubles were created. It's all here: the beginning of Jewish-Arab troubles in Palestine, the shaky start to Iraq, the careless partioning of Lebanon and so on.

    Many thing impressed me about this book but perhaps none more than the role that bad intelligence played in the formation of Britain's foreign policy. I know: it's unbelievably relevant in the world of 2004 also! However, Britain made a number of decisions throughout World WAr I and after based on information and analyses that were simply untrue. While much has changed since then in terms of the transmitting of information, still the problems of the gathering of critical intelligence one-to-one remains.

    I would recommend this book to just about anyone who cares (or who should care) about Middle East politics. Before you voice your next opinion on American intervention in Iraq, you might want to read this book to sharpen your insights and arguments.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Read this now! It could all happen again!
    It's a bit spooky to read this account of events in the Middle East during the decade that bracketed World War, while the occupation and rebuilding of post-Saddam Iraq is unfolding. The parallels (both good and not-so-good) are fascinating, almost to the point where one could substitute current names like Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Condoleeza Rice for Lord Kitchener, Lord Asquith and Sir Mark Sykes.

    More than one scholar has suggested that this work from David Fromkin is a must-read for anyone wanting to understand the roots of the politics and current animosities of the Middle East. I'm no scholar, but I can't imagine another source that could provide a better accounts of the events and personalities from 90 years ago that have shaped (and often misshaped) the most problematic region of the world. The movie "Lawrence of Arabia" may have been cinema at it's best. But it was also history at it's most trivial. This is the real history, laced with context and the full implications of each development.

    Fromkin relates in fascinating detail the various acts of hubris, misdirection, treachery, imperialism, nation building, cowardice and more that shaped the arbitrary borders and ruling classes of today's Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran and Israel. From the Young Turks of the Ottoman Empire to the early leaders of Zionism, each player in this vast geopolitical game comes under the author's critical eye. And Fromkin is impartial with both his praise and his criticism. While his portrait of Winston Churchill tosses body blow or two to Sir Winston's image, it also establishes a firm foundation for those that regard Churchill as one of the most dominate and influential leaders of the twentieth century.

    Knowledge of the mistakes in the past is no guarantee that future mistakes will not occur, but it does help to avoid a repeat of past errors. This book should be required reading for any American, particularly our current leadership!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - simply the best
    The previous reviewer is, alas, the one spouting the nonesense! Israel only exists because of the decisions of Lloyd George and Churchill in 1918-1921: the creation of Israel in 1948 was the cumulation of a process that began with the British capture of Jerusalem from the Ottoman Empire in 1917, as Fromkin's book brilliantly and conclusively shows. Christopher Catherwood, author of CHURCHILL'S FOLLY: HOW WINSTON CHURCHILL CREATED IRAQ (Carroll and Graf, 2004)

    1-0 out of 5 stars Utter nonsense
    This book perpetuates the myth that the present mess in the the Middle East was caused by a bunch of confused, incompetent European statemen who, after World War I, allowed those pesky Arabs to govern themselves. It completely ignores the obvious truth that the present mess in the Middle East was caused by confused and incompetent European and American statesmen after World War II who thought a Jewish state surrounded by displaced Arabs was a good idea. David Fromkin and others dedicate their lives to obscuring that self evident truth. ... Read more

    14. Jewish Book of Why-Boxed Set
    by Alfred J. Kolatch
    list price: $44.95
    our price: $37.56
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0824603141
    Catlog: Book (1995-01-01)
    Publisher: Jonathan David Publishers
    Sales Rank: 91436
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    In this boxed set of the best-selling volumes The Jewish Book of Why and The Second Jewish Book of Why, Rabbi Alfred J Kolatch explores almost 1,000 questions about Judaism, including:

    Why is a child born to a Jewish father not necessarily Jewish?
    Why is there objection to surrogate motherhood?
    Why do some seminaries ordain women?
    Why are boys circumcised?
    Why is a glass broken at a wedding ceremony?
    Why are pork and shrimp not kosher? ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful gift and accesory
    These wonderful books deal with tradtional judaism and more controversial issues like conversion and marriage. The first volume is essentially detailed with accounts of 'who is a Jew' 'What is a Jew' 'What are Jewish holidays' 'What is the Jewish service and its structure' 'What are essential Jewish rituals' 'How do Jews interpret the Torah'. These chapters detail almost any question one might have about what it means to be a Jew, how to live a Jewish life and how to interpret the essential Torah. This volume is wonderful for non-Jews, return Jews, Secualt Jews and normal Jews intreested in exploring their religion deeper. Wonderful excerts explain the origins of such simple items like the Kipa(Yarmluke) and essential questions about Jewish dietary laws.

    The second volume tackles more modern and controversial topics. it explores the major streams of Judaism in America(Reform, Conservative, Orthodox) and it looks at the Hasidic community. This book explores the essential topic of conversion to Judaism and how that relates to the various Jewish streams. It also tackels intermarriage questions.

    This wonderful boxed set is perfect as a present and for information regarding the wonderful jewish heritage and its 5000 years of development.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Well written and simple
    Best, I think, for children, Jews by Choice, and non-Jews with questions. It is written on a very basic level. Wonderful reference source for when those occasional "trivia question" moments come up, and you simply "have to know."

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good reference source
    A well written and easily searchable reference source of the "whys" of Judaism. Explains traditions connected with holidays and major life events (weddings, births, funerals) clearly and concisely. The book has a serious tone, and the reader can expect a serious treatment of the subjects covered. ... Read more

    15. Cruel World : The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $23.10
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0679454640
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-10)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 20703
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    16. Blood from a Stone: The Quest for the Life Diamonds
    by Yaron Svoray, Richard Hammer
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $9.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0765307952
    Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
    Publisher: Forge Books
    Sales Rank: 312496
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The search for the Life Diamonds--the subject of the compelling documentary produced by the History Channel.

    They were known as Life Diamonds--rough uncut diamonds of high quality bought by Jews in Eastern Europe to use as passports to safety. After 1939 and the Nazi blitzkrieg, after the extermination camps began belching black smoke into the skies and the railroad station at Auschwitz II-Birkenau became the busiest train station in the world, they became Death Diamonds.

    Blood from a Stone is the amazing story of forty of those diamonds, of their journey across continents and oceans, from the mines of South Africa to the diamond centers in Antwerp and Amsterdam, to the Jews of Eastern Europe, to the Death Camps. . . and to the two American soldiers who liberated them from the SS, finally, and buried them in a forest in Alsace on the border between France and Germany.

    It is the story of the curse believed to lie over the fabulous wealth of these stones, bringing death and disaster to all who touched them. It is the story of Yaron Svoray, who spent more than a decade in search of one small foxhole somewhere in a thousand square miles of forest...and of his unbelievable success.

    Blood from a Stone is a unique story, a story unlike any to come out of World War II. Blood from a Stone will more than over a dozen exclusive photos from the two-hour History Channel documentary.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    4-0 out of 5 stars blood from a stone
    Blood from a stone is an amazing story that, gives the reader great insight to the mindset of our American fighting soldier during World War II as well as the inner workings of the children and secret workers of the holocaust. There is no doubt that this part of the novel leaves a lingering effect on the reader. The novel provides a large amount of history behind the diamond trade spanning from India to Africa and a fairly good account of the death camps throughout the Third Reich's empire. Bar none the most well written part of the book is Sam Nyer's recollections of his experiences throughout the war, to include, finding the diamonds with his partner Tommy Delion and hiding them. After this, the book becomes a billboard.

    A critical reader will notice that the two major diversions from the story read more like an advertisement for Svoray's two other books, than an absolute nessisity(?)to the featured story I found myself under the intense urge to skip ahead--but i didn't, for fear of missing something. The novel reads more like an autobiography of Yaron Svoray than an all-out, hollywoodesque treasure hunt at times, and it borders on killing the readers interest, but the story does prevail.

    I bought this book immediatley after watching the special on the History Channel and am very pleased that i did. It is truly the treasure hunt of the 20th century.

    5-0 out of 5 stars really good
    This book is really good and interesting.The first time i read the back i was hooked.I had to know what happened.I also loved the documentary of it on the History channel.Get this book it is worth your time!! ... Read more

    17. In Memory's Kitchen: A Legacy from the Women of Terezin
    by Cara Desilva, Bianca Steiner Brown, Michael Berenbaum, Cara De Silva
    list price: $25.00
    our price: $25.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1568219024
    Catlog: Book (1996-09-01)
    Publisher: Jason Aronson
    Sales Rank: 109794
    Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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    Of all the documents of the Holocaust, this cookbook compiled from memory by the female prisoners at Terezin, a way station to Auschwitz, may be the most remarkable. The Terezin prisoners recalled and wrote down their recipes for chocolate torte, breast of goose, plum strudel, and other traditional dishes not because they thought they might ever need them--they were surviving on scraps and potato peels at the time--but as a testament to the future, so that their grandchildren might receive a fragment of their inheritance. The manuscript found its way in 1969 to Anny Stern, the daughter of Mina Pachter, whose poems on barracks life are also included. ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    1-0 out of 5 stars Awful, awful, and even more awful.
    This is hands down the worst book I have ever purchased. It is neither a cookbook, nor a historical portrayal. It seemingly cannot make up its mind on what it wants to be.

    There are about 50 "recipes" if you can call them that. None have been updated, and none are complete. Measurements are in grams and 99% have absolutley no instructions - the "recipe" is just a list of ingredients. For the few that do have instructions, those consist of comments like "make like dumpling" as the ONLY instruction for the entire recipe. Do not purchase this book if you are looking for a historical cookbook, as not one single recipe is useable.

    There are plenty of good historical cookbooks. This is not one of them. There are also plenty of good history books, which this is also not one of - unless you count about 35 pages of poorly written drivel a history lesson. This book has absolutely no direction, and no value. Could not be more disappointed...

    5-0 out of 5 stars from Terezin concentration camp
    This book is a testimony to the towering reaches of the human spirit. In the midst of the horrors of Terezin, surrounded by suffering, deprivation, and death, hungry women recorded recipes of warmth, comfort, and abundance. They remembered cooking delicious meals, serving delicacies and caviar, making aspic, cooking many varieties of dumplings. The hand-written cookbook they put together demonstrates that although the Nazis held their bodies captive, their spirits remained free, drawing strength and nourishment from their memories of happy days and fully-laden tables. Despite the wretched conditions of the camp, these women dared to hope for a time when they could return to their kitchens and once again rejoice in feeding their families.

    This haunting book will bless your life. ... Read more

    18. Survival In Auschwitz
    by Primo Levi
    list price: $13.00
    our price: $9.75
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0684826801
    Catlog: Book (1995-09-01)
    Publisher: Touchstone
    Sales Rank: 10087
    Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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    Survival in Auschwitz is a mostly straightforward narrative, beginning with Primo Levi's deportation from Turin, Italy, to the concentration camp Auschwitz in Poland in 1943. Levi, then a 25-year-old chemist, spent 10 months in the camp. Even Levi's most graphic descriptions of the horrors he witnessed and endured there are marked by a restraint and wit that not only gives readers access to his experience, but confronts them with it in stark ethical and emotional terms: "[A]t dawn the barbed wire was full of children's washing hung out in the wind to dry. Nor did they forget the diapers, the toys, the cushions and the hundred other small things which mothers remember and which children always need. Would you not do the same? If you and your child were going to be killed tomorrow, would you not give him something to eat today?" --Michael Joseph Gross ... Read more

    Reviews (43)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Passionate & instructive insight into the Holocaust
    In a more perfect life, this book should be science fiction. Primo Levi deposits us in a world where the typical convivality that makes human society bearable has been eliminated and replaced by a horrible premise: humans may only live if they can do work useful to the state. "Survival in Auschwitz" plays the theme out. Those who are unable to work are immediately killed, using the most efficient means possible. Those who survive must find ways to maintain the illusion of usefulness with the least possible exertion. Instead of brotherhood, there is commerce, a black market where a stolen bar of soap is traded for a loaf of bread; the soap allows the owner to maintain a more healthy appearance while the bread feeds its owner for another day. We see property in its most base form. A spoon, a bowl, a few trinkets cleverly used, that is all a person can hold at a time. It's instructive to read this book as an insight into homelessness. What kind of place is this where we create humiliated zombies, shuffling behind their carts containing all their worldly possessions? How long can we let the State fight against the innate emotion that tells us that no-one should go hungry while we eat and no-one should be homeless while we have shelter?

    What always amazes me about the Holocaust is the sheer improbability of the story of each of its survivors. This is the horror. For every shining genius of the stature of Primo Levi, there are thousands of other amazing people, gassed and murdered in the showers filled with Zyklon-B.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Surviving a Real Nightmare
    "We had learnt of our destination with relief. Auschwitz: a name without significance for us at the time, but it at least implied some place on this earth"

    Primo Levi's memoir, Survival in Auschwitz, is a moving account of one young man's struggle for survival in the notorious Polish concentration camp. Levi employs a unique narrative structure, emphasizing the power of words both thematically and stylistically. Levi is only twenty-five when he enters the camp, and his storytelling does much to reveal the devastating impact that concentration camps had on the psyche and on the spirit. Levi confronts the harsh reality of what life in Auschwitz means, and how different it is from any form of civilization. In clear contrast to the camp's dehumanizing effects on its victims, Levi uses language to stir the hearts of his readers. In a kind of dictionary of suffering, he gives the reader the terms of his old existence: Buna, where young men labor in a factory that will never produce synthetic rubber; Ka-Be, the infirmary where Levi is granted a few weeks' rest to recover from a foot injury, and Selekcja, the Polish word for "selection," that seals the fate of those marked for the crematorium. Many readers wishing to learn more about the Holocaust or concentration camps will find Levi's work powerful and enriching. Perhaps more importantly, these readers will continue to ask Levi's questions in today's society.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Primo: Still a Man
    I'm not a fan of Holocaust narrative, mostly because I've read and been forced to read in school many of this type of novel. Primo's memoir, however, sticks in my mind unlike any other. What makes Survival in Auschwitz, aka If This Is A Man, unique is the complete objectivity he writes with. He records only fact, expressing no emotion whatsoever. The effect is unsentimental and wholly horrific. His role is a recorder of events for posterity, and asks the reader to judge for his/herself the morality of what took place in the camp, not only the actions of the Nazi guards but also the prisoners themselves. He lets the reader decide whether he retained his humanity in the face of complete dehuminization. If all you know of the Holocaust is contained in Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl, it might benefit you to pick this one up.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A gut-wrenching tale
    Reading Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi was one of the most dificult experiences of my life. With each turn of the page came a new horror, I found it dififult to read more then a chapter at a time, and yet with horrific fascination I was also unable to put down the book. His stories of human nature rock the reader in a way that is unfathomable to someone who has never read a novel of this type. His original title "If this were a man" is far more descriptive then Survival in Auschwitz, and the reader will be shocked by the tales he tells.

    4-0 out of 5 stars survival in auschwitz
    Primo is an italian jew from italy. in 1943 the fasciest militia raided her town and home. the german militia took everybody in that town and put them on a train. they didnt know it yet but thay had just become prisoners of germany, prisoners of adolf hitler. everything they knew and loved gone in and instant. they never knew if they would ever see their homes again or even their best friends again. primo lived in auschwitz for over a year and a half, fighting for her life day after day. during the day, her and the other prisoners in the camp got 3 meals a day, but it isnt the kind of meals you adn i think of. day after day all they had to eat was a piece of bread and a bowl of soup. thats not very filling, not very filling at all. also during the day they would have to work or they would be killed on teh spot. life was rough for that year and a half. probably the worste time was during winter. each prisoner was issued one thin shirt and pants and wooden shoes. might i remind you wood isnt a really warm material until you light it on fire witch they couldnt do because they were infact there only pair of shoes. i liked this book because it is a true story, a personal story of a young womans life. living through such a horrible time, living in auschwitz the worste concentration camp there was. i liked how it told everthing that happened and not just the bad. i thought it was funny how some of the prisoners tried to hurt them-selves to get into the ka-be, work free for forty days. i dont like how it is a book. i would rather watch it instead of reading I HATE TO READ. i dont like how it happened the whole holacaust thing. there could have been a better way to tell your hatred. you dont have to captize a entire nationality just to prove there hatred. i would recommed this book to people who liek to read. if you dont liek to read then dont buy books or read them. this book is good for people who liek to learn about the holacaust or personal stories about what actually happened while in auscwtiz. ... Read more

    19. Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of A Man Who Rescued A Million Yiddish Books
    by Aaron Lansky
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $15.72
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1565124294
    Catlog: Book (2004-10-05)
    Publisher: Algonquin Books
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    Book Description

    In 1980 an entire body of Jewish literature--the physical remnant of Yiddish culture--was on the verge of extinction. Precious volumes that had survived Hitler and Stalin were being passed down from older generations of Jewish immigrants to their non-Yiddish-speaking children only to be discarded or destroyed. So Aaron Lansky, just twenty-three, issued a worldwide appeal for unwanted Yiddish works.

    Lansky's passion led him to travel from house to house collecting the books--and the stories of these Jewish refugees and the vibrant intellectual world they inhabited. He and a team of volunteers salvaged books from dusty attics, crumbling basements, demolition sites, and dumpsters. When they began, scholars thought that fewer than seventy thousand Yiddish books existed. So far 1.5 million volumes have been saved!

    Filled with tender and sometimes hilarious stories, this is an inspirational account of a man who had a vision and made a difference. It is a collective love song to the brilliant Yiddish writers--from Mendele to Sholem Aleichem to I. B. Singer--whose lasting cultural relevance is evident on every page.
    ... Read more

    20. The Nuremberg Interviews
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $23.10
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 037541469X
    Catlog: Book (2004-10-05)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 1028
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