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Auschwitz: A History

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  372 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
At the terrible heart of the modern age lies Auschwitz, a name that has become synonymous with evil. Here the utopian twentieth-century dream of employing science and technology to improve and protect human life was inverted from the latter part of the 1930s through the end of the Second World War, as the same systems were manipulated in the cause of efficient mass slaught ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published August 15th 2006 by Harper Perennial (first published January 1st 2004)
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Meirav Rath
Apr 02, 2008 Meirav Rath rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: holocaust
I can't say I found any use in this book that I haven't found in other books; besides a few tidbits about holocaust denial, and some details about post-war and historical Auschwitz the town there was nothing new in this book.
It's the pocket book Auschwitz history, it touches every subject there is to learn about the camp, the guards, the prisoners, the resistance, the factories, everything (besides the great Canada corruption scandal which got Rudolf Hoss kicked out of the place) but in such sm
Apr 18, 2014 Bob rated it really liked it
A rather remarkable book. It looks at Auschwitz from the point of view of the development of the camp over time. The start as a resettlement camp for workers moving into the area to get jobs to an internment camp to house undesirables for the Reich to the concentration and extermination camp we are familiar with.

The book is rather short at about 175 pages but it does pack a lot of information into those pages. Stories of the camp leadership as well as how the mentalities of the victims are exami
JPP Smorenburg
Jun 14, 2014 JPP Smorenburg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-shelf
A fascinating account, concise but apparently complete and detailed, of the gruesome Auschwitz camp complex, it's conception, daily workings and ultimate dismantling and liberation. The analysis of the evil, that the efficient mass killing of so many millions to facilitate the "Final Solution" was not ordered detailed from above from the start, but evolved in hideous efficiency through the freedom of movement of Hitler's subordinates who pressed ruthlessly forward the realization of the Nazi dre ...more
Sep 30, 2014 Chris rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, history-wwii
Not as good as the mini-series about the camp, but a good overview with some facts about the history of the area.
Nov 05, 2015 Cris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Um bom estudo sobre o mais famoso campo de morte. Bem escrito e de fácil leitura.
Brian Bigelow
Feb 07, 2017 Brian Bigelow rated it really liked it
I can wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the Holocaust.
Robin Friedman
Feb 08, 2017 Robin Friedman rated it it was amazing
A Short History Of Auschwitz

In this short book, Sybille Steinbacher, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Modern and Contemporary History at Ruhr University, gives a compelling account of Auschwitz. Professor Steinbacher, and her able translator, Shaun Whiteside, writes in a concise, stark, understated, and eloquent way. She avoids the tendency to sensationalize and overdramatize and allows her material to speak for itself. The stylistic, nonsensationalistic excellence of this book adds greatly
Nov 08, 2013 Kelly rated it did not like it
The same as a lot of people I know, I have somewhat of a fascination with the Holocaust. And perhaps "fascination" is the wrong word because it's nothing short of horrifying, yet in that horror lies a continued desire for knowledge, perhaps only as a way of understanding enough to prevent anything similar from happening again. Because of this interest, I was excited - again, it doesn't seem like the right word - to pick up the book "Auschwitz: A History" and get a really good in-depth look at th ...more
George Papadakos
Jan 08, 2017 George Papadakos rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chelsey Langland
This was disappointing. There was some interesting new information about how the camp was built, including how civilian German companies profited from the forced labor of inmates. There were hints of interest when the author focused on how various individuals involved, either in or on the periphery of the camp, had to have known what was happening there. But mostly, it was a very superficial take on the camp with no new information.

The headnotes said the book stemmed from a "research project", a
Patrice Jones
Oct 03, 2016 Patrice Jones rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fall-2016
I started out reading this as a library book but soon realized that I had to have the book in my library. I was too tempted to underline things and highlight sections. I bought a used copy.
Auschwitz was the largest of the Nazi concentration camps and death camps.
The book was heart-wrenching but a very informative book on the subject of the mass murders of the 1940s. I am not sure if this book is required reading in any classrooms around the world, but it should be. There is just too much false
i just began reading this non fiction novel this week. it seems to be a very interesting novel with lots of history and information. in the begining of this novel it explains about the ethnicities that were involved in the world wars and how they came about. It pretty much works its way from time erea on and explains the development of the war and the camps.
1/18 this book was a very fast read and also a very intersting read. the book explained many things like the creation of the camps, and
Jan 14, 2008 Charlie rated it really liked it
Surprisingly we read many testimonies of survivors ofinfamous Auschwitz but little on the creation and functioning of the death factory itself. This book takes us from its inception as a holding tank to its conversion to death camp and its final days. It is complete and detailed. Probably only more serious students would stick it out. I was interested in the choices of staffing, and the hardening and desensitizing of the staff and even the Capos who were themselves prisoners and eventually dispo ...more
Alan Nichols
Jul 31, 2013 Alan Nichols rated it really liked it
It would be difficult, for me at least, to 'review' this book. So rather than try that, let me say that I found it well worth reading as it provided a wealth of information about Auschwitz in a rather compact space. The author covers the history of the area, of the camp itself and how it came to be the horrific place it was. I found the details about the complicity of German industry in Auschwitz, particularly IG Farben factory in Monowitz, to be very interesting. She also traces the aftermath o ...more
Dec 26, 2013 Andrea rated it it was ok
Perhaps an odd book to start the year with, but one worth reading. Rather than focus exclusively on the functioning of the camp, this work takes a larger focus, developing the story of the region, the bureaucratic development of the camps and economic systems that relied on forced labor and finally the dismantling of the mechanisms of death. The author notes that the book grew out of a research paper and there are times that the tone is dry and a little academic, but there was a lot of informati ...more
Jennifer Gelert
Mar 03, 2013 Jennifer Gelert rated it really liked it
This was a very good book. Talked about the camps with information I had not heard before. Very detailed about what happened and why. How the camp started out as a prisoner camp and not the death machine it ended up being. There was even discussion of those who insisted it never happened. After reading this book; I hope no one ever forgets those lives lost and why. As the list of survivors gets smaller and smaller; let's hope there is enough of a history left that hopefully this will never happe ...more
Leanne Davis
Mar 13, 2016 Leanne Davis rated it really liked it
Good overview of the facts and time line of the camp. Learned a lot about the town around it, how privately funded money and business were so much a part of it and that people knew what was going on. That there were 7000 SS personnel working there and a only handful were punished and the rest assimilated back into society... Chilling and disgusting to understand how few were held responsible and how many got away. Lacked emotional connection that anything having to do with Auschwitz should have ...more
Nov 16, 2015 Grace rated it liked it
This book was excruciatingly hard to read. It took me several months to finish it. Though it was boring, I will say it is commendable. The information was very good and it packed a lot in the few pages. There was some information that I might not have needed. This book was okay, though I wouldn't read it again and I'd only suggest it if you're a hardcore WWII history junkie or working on a paper or something of that nature.
Mar 04, 2009 Tricia rated it really liked it
This was an eye-opening history of the town, the surrounding area, and how the concentration camp took it all over. I was a little disappointed because the author completely ignored a few of the big issues and glossed over others. It's a small book though, so I shouldn't have expected it to be a complete narration I guess.
Oct 14, 2011 Kristan rated it really liked it
This was an interesting book to read. There isn't much new information in this book that isn't found in other books about the Holocaust. There is some information about Holocaust denial at the end of the book. One thing Steinbacher does that most authors about the Holocaust (at least that I've encountered) is there is very little use of stories by witnesses and victims.
Cody Gregory
Nov 16, 2016 Cody Gregory rated it really liked it
my novel was about Auschwitz and the lives damned to stay there until the end of the war. i gave this book a 4 star rating because i felt it was a good book and though it could have gone into more detail about how life went about in the novel at Auschwitz ,but i digress it was still a very good book. i think people who like the ww2 era and war in general would like this book.
Debby Nguyen
Aug 24, 2015 Debby Nguyen rated it really liked it
This provides a detailed timeline of how Auschwitz became what it was, and its purposes during WW2. The books takes a while to follow, but once you get a hang of it, you won't stop reading. The content is remarkable, honest, and heart- breaking. Auschwitz- A history provides us with incredible details of life inside one of the most well- known extermination camps. A great read!
Chelsea Floyd
Oct 31, 2012 Chelsea Floyd rated it liked it
I just kind of skimmed through this book. It was a fairly quick and easy read, and just the main facts about Auschwitz. Most things I had already learned from high school, other books, and the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. :)
Dena Norman
Dec 10, 2014 Dena Norman rated it really liked it
This read very much like a thesis - some parts were dry and technical, while others read like parts of a novel. Overall I learned more than I could have imagined and Steinbacher certainly knows her stuff. I wish more of her books were available in English, especially "Dachau".
Alex Puiu
Mar 13, 2014 Alex Puiu rated it liked it
A particularly relevant work which outlines the modi operandi of the deathcamp, how it evolved from a couple of barracks to the "black-hole" of European (and not only) Jewish community.
Not as harrowing and vivid as perhaps other accounts.

Aug 25, 2013 Jon rated it really liked it
Very good. A history, in great detail, of the history and chronology of the concentration and extermination camp that was Auschwitz. Hard to believe that a lot of politicians did everything they could to ignore what was happening in the camps.
Jan 19, 2016 Deborah rated it it was amazing
I have read so many books over the years about the Holocaust but this one book surpasses all of the others. This is a remarkable book filled with information I had never read before. I found myself highlighting so much of it (ebook edition).
Feb 06, 2008 Colin rated it really liked it
A short history of Auschwitz, notable for its focus on the town itself and its relationship to the death camp. Also features the full, uncropped version of the famous photograph of Sonderkomanndo burning bodies, which reveals that it was taken from inside a building, in hiding.
Omar Ali
Dec 17, 2013 Omar Ali rated it really liked it
There are many larger and more detailed (and perhaps, more emotional and horrifying) books about Auschwitz, but as a short, factual and accurate rendering of that gigantic horror story, this book is excellent. Sybille Steinbacher covers a surprising amount of detail in a very short space.
Jun 17, 2011 Tim rated it it was amazing
In presenting a history of the Nazis most notorious camp, Steinbacher gives readers a snapshot of the German's evolving deportation and extermination policies.
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