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War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust
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War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  509 ratings  ·  35 reviews
In examining one of the defining events of the 20th century, Doris Bergen situates the Holocaust in its historical, political, social, cultural and military contexts. Unlike many other treatments of the Holocaust, Nazism, World War II and the Holocaust discusses not only the persecution of Jews, but also other segments of society victimized by the Nazis: gypsies, homosexua ...more
Paperback, 263 pages
Published October 23rd 2002 by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (first published October 16th 2002)
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Extremely well written and insightful. Starts with a look at the "tinders" that made the Holocaust possible, then an overview of Hitler's life from childhood to eventual Führer. There is a close examination of the victims and collaborators of Nazism and the chaotic interplay involved. Highly recommend.
Oct 04, 2008 Ilene rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who loves history
This is the best synopsis of the Holocaust I have ever read. It is very concise, yet challenges some common historical inaccuracies such as the over-stated significance of the Treaty of Versailles in causing the Germans to become so hateful. These different perspectives are well researched, documented, and supported. I think this is a book that anyone who loves history would enjoy. Nevertheless, if you aren't a history buff you may find it a bit dry. I however, really enjoyed it and learned a gr ...more
This book, as expected, was very painful to read; however, I'm glad I was given the opportunity to read it. It is required for a class I am taking entitled Reading the Bible After the Holocaust. The truth is most of us want our stories tied up in neat packages with happy endings. The holocaust is mostly unexplainable, still unimaginable, and did not necessarily have a happy ending. Bergen helps us to put these difficult realities in perspective and does it in a way that is readable. Bergen tells ...more
Amber Cochran
This book was assigned to me for a a 20th Century History class, and reading it was a bit like being punched in the gut for 200 pages. However, I really think that this is a subject matter that should be uncomfortable to read about. In the end, I am so glad that I read it, and I am grateful that now I know more about that terrible part of history than I ever have before. I believe the Nazi inspired madness that gripped Europe in the 1930s and 40s and it's devastating consequences should always r ...more
Doris Bergen’s War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust presents a straightforward account of the Holocaust. Rather than starting from a particular chronological point, Bergen begins with a short history of several thematic elements that she believes influenced German society and the beliefs of Adolf Hitler, leading to the rise of Nazism. These include antisemitism, racism, eugenics, imperialism, and the cheapening of human life in World War I. Significantly absent are notions of eco ...more
The Looking Glass Wars has to be one of the most imaginative retellings of the Alice in Wonderland tale. It takes everything that you loved from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and aspects of the real "Alyss," Alice Liddell, and combines them into one amazing novel. It's the Alice in Wonderland of the 21st Century.

My favourite thing about this book are the characters. Alyss, Dodge, Hatter, and all of the others are just so full of life and so full of personality that you could actually believe
Arzu Bokhari
I was definitely shocked by how much I enjoyed this history book. It was a required read for one of my undergraduate classes, and so I half expected a stuffy, mind-numbingly boring history book. I was pleasantly surprised; in fact, I couldn't even put it down while reading it on my Nook. I learned so much from this brief edition that has definitely convinced me to look even further into the Holocaust. I cannot recommend it enough.
A concise but surprisingly thorough history of the Holocaust. I was assigned to read this for a political science class focusing on perspectives of genocide and it really helped me understand the basics of what happened and causes and effects throughout the era. It is, of course, extremely difficult to get through but so important to read and understand this dark time in history.
This book calls itself a concise history of the Holocaust, but it felt like it was a lot more about the war in Europe than about the genocide. Still, the title reflects the dual nature of this work, and the author makes the argument that, to really understand the holocaust, you have to contextualize it with the war that brought it about. Overall, it was good, if disturbing because of the nature of the subject. I don't think she should have taken out any of the parts about the war, but I feel lik ...more
Sarah Jo.
War and Genocide by Doris L. Bergen is one of the best versions of written Holocaust history I have read so far. I greatly recommend this edition and book for any history lovers or anyone interested in human rights.
John Pelter
Well written, incredibly informative, and extremely concise. One could study the Holocaust for years and still not come close to covering all of it. This is a fantastic starting point.
"War and Genocide" is an interesting book about what drove the Nazis to do something as irrational as the Holecaust. Bergen sums it up as "race and space" and thereby explains why the Nazis devoted so many men and military resources to something that was anything but necessary to the war effort. If you're looking for a book that explains how something as terrible as the Holecaust happened, or how the Nazis rose to power in such a highly developed and educated nation, look elsewhere. This book se ...more
Apr 10, 2014 Karen added it
This book provides a great history of the Holocaust within the context of the Second World War.
Horrifying account of Hitler and the Holocaust
I read this because I had to. All in all it was a good introduction to the Holocaust. The writer definitely has an agenda. Blame it on Nazi ideology; also raise the question of why did so many people acquiesce; include information about targeted groups that were not Jewish, such as JWs, Roma, and homosexuals. Fine, but unfortunately the concise nature of the book doesn't allow her to defend her positions very well. Therefore, I wonder whether the kind of concise history she is trying to create i ...more
Jun 07, 2009 Nicole rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who want to know more without knowing it all
If you want to learn more about the Holocaust but don't have the time or energy to really delve in, this is the perfect surface read. It's amazingly concise and yet comprehensive, not to mention well written.

Bergen makes the experiences of the Holocaust as personal as possible given the time and space constraints of her book. She seeks to answer the whys and hows behind the whats. Her facts are black and white but the emotional response and judgment she brings (and encourages in the reader) are
Creole Wisdom
I'm reading this for my Women in the Holocaust class. It's fascinating, and provides a really detailed overview of what exactly went on in Nazi Germany. It begins around WWI to offer more information regarding the Treaty of Versailles and also Hitler's upbringing (more accurate than his political propoganda- Mein Kamf). Anyway, not done with it yet, but good so far!
It was a textbook for a class so it's hard to write a review of that but it was good. Covered what it needed to cover with some interesting pictures and decent content. It ended rather abruptly but I guess WWII did as well so it kinda makes sense. The aftermath/conclusion chapter was interesting as well. Overall: ~ehh~
As far as a Holocaust textbook goes, it wasn't bad. The first few chapters gave a lot of boring background details, but as you moved into the actual war, it got better. There were enough personal anecdotes to keep it interesting, and plenty of disgusting details about the horrors to make you feel sick.
I just finish reading this short, little textbook for my Holocaust class, and I was very impressed. It is a very well-written history of the Holocaust that puts everything together in a historical perspective that debunks some of the myths surrounding Hitler and concepts about pre-war Germany.
Doris Bergen presents a concise (as the title would suggest) overview of the Holocaust that is straight forward without "dumbing" it down. She explains the politics and prejudices at work between the individuals and groups of people. It is also very readable.
Audrey Marquardt
While I had to read this for a class on genocide, I really enjoyed it. Easy to read and full of useful information. Would recommend it for anyone who is looking for a good, overall view of Hitler's Germany.
Taylor Church
This is a fantastic read especially if your interest in both Nazi and Jewish history expands into your interest in WWII. This book is also full of some heart rattling eye witness accounts.
This book details the beginnings of the Holocaust through the demise of Hitler and Germany. It is a great book for anyone who is interested in the Holocaust.
Asli Espin
A book "everyone" should read..It did not answer my question of "how humanity allowed the Holocaust to happen" but it informed me at great lengths.
Deana Stuart
Great book! Makes a lot of information very accessible. It gave the historic basis for my 300 level college Holocaust class.
Read this for a class on the Holocaust that I was teaching. Very good introductory reading for undergraduate students.
Veni Johanna
Amazing introduction to the Holocaust. Concise, well-written, and informative without being boring. Highly recommended.
Probably the best textbook on the Holocaust ever written - and frankly, the best textbook ever written.
Bergen has some biases but overall this is a good concise history and easy to read.
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