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Nuremberg: Infamy on Trial

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  339 ratings  ·  37 reviews
The Nuremberg trials remain, after nearly a half a century, the benchmark for judging international crimes. Using new sources--ground-breaking research in the papers of the Nuremberg prison psychiatrist and commandant, the letters and journals of the prisoners, and accounts of the judges and prosecutors as they struggled through each day making compromises and steeling the ...more
Paperback, 560 pages
Published August 1st 1995 by Penguin Books (first published 1994)
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M. D.  Hudson
Poor Fritz Sauckel, the Third Reich’s conscript labor organizer. He was short, bald, uneducated and from a working class background, and he persisted in making things even worse by keeping the toothbrush moustache he wore in homage to his Fuehrer. Furthermore, he only scored 116 on his jailers’ IQ test, third-lowest of the Nuremberg 23. Worst of all, he had no real idea what a “western” trial consisted of (neither did some of the trial officials, but that is another story). In contrast, Albert S ...more
I'm taking off a star because of a lack of footnotes. There are endnotes, but they are those endnotes that don't have any asterix, making it so you really have to read the endnotes themselves.

Persico gives a huge amount of detail, but keeps the story interesting. It is fasnicating, though not surprising, how much politics came into the Nuermberg trials. My only complanint is that at the end of the book, Persico tells you what happened to the players, but doesn't mention any of the women, some of
Sharon Arnoldi
If there weren't other books on this topic out there I'd have givn it a higher vote, however this one pales in comparison with others (e.g. Telford Taylor's book). The Introductory section is well-written and informative, especially as pertains to the complex moral and jurisdictional issues of the tribunal and trial, which for me is the most important lesson to be learned from Nuremberg anyway. It was NOT about the good guys sitting in judgment of the monsters and Persico does make this clear. A ...more
James Repass
I have just finished this book, and it is chilling and powerful. To anyone who ever encounters Holocaust deniers or skeptics, send them this book, because it demonstrates so very clearly how the Nuremberg convictions against Nazi war criminals were obtained: by the use of Nazi Germany's very own,and meticulous records.

Never again!

Jim RePass
The is the best book written on the trials at Nuremberg. The description of the setting, the details of the defendant's role in the horror, the thought process of the prosecutors all broken down between the various stages of the trial were so well written. I would recommend this book to any person interested in the devils behind the Third Reich.
Keith Parrish
This is a fascinating look at the behind-the-scenes events of the Nuremberg War Crime Trials. Persico writes largely from the point of view of Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, who served as the chief U.S. prosecutor. This book is not written for academics and reads more like a narrative (albeit a very well sourceid narrative). Persico takes us back to the beginning of the conception of what the trials should be, who should be tried, where it should take place and the mechanics of getting al ...more
A narrative history of the Nuremberg war crime trials. The author has an engaging style. Multiple story lines are inter-weaved: the judges, the prosecutors, the defendants, the jailors, the prison psychologist & psychiatrist (who were competing to see who could get their book about the defendants published first) & the press covering the trial. Some of the defendants are covered at greater lengths like Hermann Goering & Albert Speer. Goering is defiant and wants to be the leader of t ...more
A well researched and highly readable account that documents the post World War Two Nuremberg trial. The author does an excellent but difficult job of keeping the narrative interesting and informative without getting bogged down in detail something I greatly appreciated because such a book could easily become dry and boring because of the complicated subject matter. Throughout the book the author stressed the human drama and conflict of personalities over dry legal facts, thus, giving the reader ...more
Brandon Wu
Persico's history of the Nuremberg trials of 1945-46 reads like a novel. On the one hand, this is great: it's compulsively readable. On the other hand, it's a bit problematic: one is never sure what is hard historical fact and what is conjecture out of Persico's mind, merely based on tentative "fact" or a difficult-to-confirm interview source. This would be less of an issue in my mind if Persico had spent some more pages expounding on the historical legacy of the Nuremberg trials; alas, he only ...more
Aug 19, 2007 Brenna rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: history
This book provides a very compelling narrative of the Nuremberg Nazi War Criminal Trial. We see the development of trial from the creation of the ex post facto creation of laws by the international community, through the politics and positioning evident amongst both the lawyers and the prisoners themselves and on to the sentencing of the prisoners. There is much criticism of the "after the fact" nature of the laws and it certainly does not seem just. However, it is interesting to note that these ...more
I love the way the book is written. Despite the level of detail, Persico managed to keep the book interesting page after page.

Persico portrayed the many historical figures as ordinary men (and women) with personal quirks. I thought the whole book gave a fairly balanced view on the whole trial. Persico clearly highlighted the mounting tension between the Soviet Union and the US in the years after WWII leading to the Cold War. The Nuremberg trial thus became not only a fight between good and evil
For me, books like this deal with the central questions of political life, among them how to recognize evil when it comes as a seduction, mouthing comforting platitudes and wrapped in the flag. There is an amazing quote from Göring near the end of the book, about the ease of manipulating any population into bellicosity: "All you have to do is to tell them they are attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger."
Persico does a great job of making a
Diane Schneider
A very thorough examination of the war crimes trials. The author puts a human face on all aspects of the proceedings without relying on sensational descriptions of the atrocities. A must read for pretty much everyone.
Not bad, but not as good as it could have been. Persico tried hard to construct a suspenseful account of the Nuremberg trials, and mostly succeeded… but his narrative style forced him to sacrifice rigor for “readability”. Persico did a nice job illustrating the various tensions at play between the trial’s participants, but I certainly would have preferred less of the who-was-dating-who stuff, and more documentary meat on the bones of the narrative. It’s not safe to assume that all readers of thi ...more
As of right now, I am doing some extensive research on the topic.
Erik Jerrard
Any interest in law or history at all, a must read.
Good for a first book on the subject. Interesting details covering everyone even remotely involved in the process but that makes for a sort of disjointed narrative. Great overview and maybe what you should read it you only intend to read one book on the trials. I was Interested that it was written at the time of the war in Bosnia when the possibility of actually prosecuting war crimes again became part of an international discussion.
This was assigned for my Nuremberg Trials class. At first I didn't like it very much because it presented historical events in a sort of fairy tale form, worded like fiction. After a while, the author started to present good insights and the writing took on a journalistic style. I would rather read straight non-fiction reporting of these events, but it wasn't entirely bad.
David Stutzman
Excellent inside account of the Nazi war criminal trials in Nuremburg. I found the most compelling aspects to be the powerful persona of Goering and the behind the scene politics of the trial's prosecutors. Read this if you want to learn about the Nazi ruling elite and the moral wrangling of the trial that was a precedent in international law.
A well-written, well-researched, historically accurate book written as if it were a novel. What more could you ask for?

The book covers the Nuremberg trials and the events just prior and just after them. Based on transcripts of the trials and interviews with eyewitnesses, this book is sure to color your opinion of the trials.
Jan E
It was fascinating to read about the behind the scenes maneuvering of the four major allies to name their principle judges and legal teams, how deeply political the trials and sentencing were, and how gruesomely botched the executions. Also, cool interesting psycho details about the inmates.
Christina Roy
Got a lot of stuff in it about the various personalities, etc., that other books don't. It doesnt fo into enough depth to completely satisfy, and spends more time around the American I really cared about, but also illuminating for 1946 attitudes between German, Americans, Russians, etc.
very interesting and detailed, but really long.
A solid and readable account of the trial and personalities involved. I have yet to find a book, however, that tackles some of the thorny legal issues head on. Persico does mention them, but gives them only a brief discussion.

An outstanding and thoroughly well-researched account of the first time that people were taken to trial for atrocities that occurred at war time. I offer this my highest recommendation!
Probably the best book I have read this year, was a slow read - but an outstanding one. I have read other books about the trial, but his one is by far the best I've read.
Nov 04, 2012 Dante marked it as to-read
I can't wait to get this book; however, since my job requires me to read all the time, I do not read for pleasure that much. So many books to read so little time.
Jamey Ann
I have wondered how so many were caught up in the evil of the Nazi regime for many years. This book explained it better than anything else I have read.
This is a fabulous piece of historical journalism, a chronicle of the Nuremberg War Crimes trials that reads like the best legal fiction. Highly recommend!
Meg Whitehead cyr
Awesome book. Learned lots about the defendants and prosecutors. So interesting. Definitely a page turner!!
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Nurnburg Trial 1 7 Aug 14, 2009 11:20AM  
  • The Nuremberg Interviews
  • Goering
  • Interrogations: The Nazi Elite in Allied Hands, 1945
  • Nuremberg Diary
  • To Lose a Battle: France 1940
  • The Last Days of Hitler
  • The Third Reich in History and Memory
  • Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Persecution, 1933-1939
  • A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II
  • Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction
  • Patton and Rommel: Men of War in the Twentieth Century
  • The Master Plan: Himmler's Scholars and the Holocaust
  • Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth
  • The Pacific War: 1941-1945
  • Speer: The Final Verdict
  • The World Must Know: The History Of The Holocaust As Told In The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil
  • Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened & Why Do They Say It?
Joseph E. Persico was the author of Roosevelt’s Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage; Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour: Armistice Day, 1918–World War I and Its Violent Climax; Piercing the Reich; and Nuremberg: Infamy on Trial, which was made into a television docudrama. He also collaborated with Colin Powell on his autobiography, My American Journey. He lives in Guilderland, New ...more
More about Joseph E. Persico...
Franklin and Lucy Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour: Armistice Day, 1918 Roosevelt's Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage Roosevelt's Centurions: FDR & the Commanders He Led to Victory in World War II Piercing the Reich

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