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Final Solution: The Fate of the Jews 1933-49

4.57  ·  Rating details ·  156 ratings  ·  29 reviews
The Holocaust has never been so widely commemorated, but our understanding of the accepted narrative has rarely, if ever, been questioned. David Cesarani's sweeping reappraisal challenges accepted explanations for the anti-Jewish politics of Nazi Germany and the inevitability of the 'Final Solution'.

The persecution of the Jews was not always the Nazis' central preoccupati
Hardcover, 800 pages
Published September 10th 2015 by Macmillan (first published September 1st 2015)
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4.57  · 
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 ·  156 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Many books are badged as the definitive, the standard or the must read on a subject. I'd not want to suggest David Cesarani's is the definitive book on the Final Solution as research and archives will over time change or add new information to develop our understanding. But, I would wholeheartedly suggest that if you read just one book on this terrible subject you would not go far wrong with this.

It is mammoth and packed with information and a list of sources, notes and index that is itself the
Tim Pendry

I have an extensive library on the Holocaust or the Shoah or whatever you wish to call one of the most unpleasant and cruel episodes in human history. It has fascinated me ever since I was almost physically sick at the age of 12 when I came across the story of Nazi medical experimentation.

But my interest has never been ghoulish nor, at the other extreme, a search for meaning where there is none. Nor am I Jewish where identity itself makes objectivity difficult, almost inhuman. To be an objective
Peter Mcloughlin
In the waning days of the Obama administration and the beginning of the Trump era (uncharted territory), it is understandable if overly pessimistic that I picked up this title. The book gets a feel from the inside of the collapse of the Weimar Republic as the Nazis installed their brand of totalitarianism and one party rule behind a charismatic leader. It in the beginning, was a murky and confused time with dark forebodings about the future for many. In 1933 people would not have a true sense o ...more
Lee Osborne
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of those rare books I'm awarding 5 stars, because of the profound impact it had on me.

As you can see, this book took me some time to read, both because it was long but mainly because the content is extremely distressing. It traces Nazi persecution of Jews from its ideological roots in the aftermath of the First World War, right through to the late 1940s, as the few survivors of the Holocaust attempted to rebuild their lives.

We all know the basics of what happened, but the level of sheer bru
Angela Tiu
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me approximately 3 weeks to finish this massive tome. The subject matter is one I've always been weirdly fascinated by. I went on a 3-week (hey, look at that) tour around Europe in 2013 and two of the stops in our itinerary included Amsterdam and Berlin. A visit to the Anne Frank museum in Prinsengracht got me to finally buy and read her diary which started this whole fascination with all things related to the Holocaust. A visit to the Holocaust memorial in Berlin and the Sachsenhausen c ...more
Jan Peczkis
This Holocaust Textbook a Thinly-Veiled Promotion of the Holocaust Industry: Combines Insight and Orwellian Cant in Analyzing Locals’ Acquisition of Post-Jewish Property

To begin with, what does Holocaust mean? Many Jewish historians say it refers exclusively to the Nazi German genocide of Jews, while other scholars recognize the Nazi German genocides of non-Jews as part of the definition of the term Holocaust. (p. xxix). [Since, to most people, the term Holocaust refers only to Jews, I use the t
Chris Jaffe
This is very informative and exhaustive (at times exhausting) account of the Holocaust from the rise of the Nazis until the post-war situation with DPs (Displaced Persons) had been worked out.

Cesarani argues that the Holocaust was not simply a case of anti-Semitism, though clearly that was a huge factor. It also stemmed from the war itself. Hitler and the Nazis were always heavily anti-Semitic but they rarely had clear long-range plans, and created policies on what was often an ad hoc, seemingly
Dec 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am starting a sabbatical next month, during which I hope to finish writing a play about one specific event during the Shoah. That said, this has been a lifelong interest. As a theatre director, I have done multiple plays dealing with the events that engulfed first Germany and then the world: Good, A Shayna Maidel, The Diary of Anne Frank, I Never Saw Another Butterfly and others. You might call these microcosmic views of the event.

Cesarani has written an almost unbearable macrocosmic treatment
Mar 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A staggering and detailed chronicle of the murder of millions of Jews by the Nazis. Cesarani's examination of the Holocaust is depressing, frightening and essential and a major work of scholarship from the late historian. Let it stand as a warning to all of us, as well as an appropriate memorial to its author.
Christian Ohlsson
So necessary to read in these days. So well written and interesting. So very sad and heartbreaking to read about the process that lead to the worst genocide we hopefully ever will see. This may never be forgotten. Never.
David Railton
Meticulous detail undoubtedly, but this, for me, gets in the way of the human tragedy. The individual stories and the sheer scale of the atrocities are harrowing, but lost somewhat in the detail.
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
The definitive account of the suspicion, violation and murder of the Jews by many parties during the 1930s & 40s. David Cesarani's account pulls no punches as it shines the light of the truth on who and why so many innocent people were murdered. To David's credit, he breaks boundaries by detailing how the Jews fought, denounced and betrayed themselves, which tells it's own tale of misery. This account should be read by everyone and the story should never be stopped being told. Heartbreaking.
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't really add more than what the critics have written other than to say it was a very compelling, articulate and complete history of the beginning to the conclusion of the assault and extermination of our people in Nazi Germany and the countries under its control.

There are similarities about the rise of authoritarianism to our current political situation. Hitler was elected too.
Dead John Williams
David Cesarani was a historian, he died just after this book was published.

It is now late January and I have only just finished this book. I started it in mid November. It is over 1000 pages, you cannot call this a quick and easy read. It is not quick and definitely not easy.

As per the title, this book details what happened to the Jews from 1933 to 1949. I think one of the main characteristics of this book would be that the writing is devoid of emotion. I read someone else describing this book a
Natalie Wood
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
The late Anglo-Jewish historian David Cesarani not only led the development of modern ‘Holocaust consciousness’, he fairly overturned the study of the period in several ways.

These included a revision of the history of Bergen -Belsen concentration camp “showing how it had … only become involved with the Final Solution in the late stages of the war”.

More startling yet, said Cesarani’s friend and colleague Professor Dan Stone, delivering the introductory paper at a memorial conference he convened i
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Je kunt alleen maar diep buigen voor deze historicus die in bijna 800 blz de geschiedenis van de joden in nazi Duitsland verteld. Het is geen boek wat je in een ruk uitleest maar het blijft boeien. Je denkt dat je het meeste al weet over deze tijd maar je komt toch steeds weer gebeurtenissen tegen waar je nog even extra van moet slikken. Bijvoorbeeld het excuus van Amerika om geen joodse kindertransporten toe te laten: " je kunt toch geen gezinnen uit elkaar halen!"
Ik wist al dat de behandeling
Billy Gunn
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Massive book on a massive subject. Quite political, this is NOT another Holocaust Survivor point of view volume. David Cesarani in my view is on of THE world leading experts on the subject of Hitler, Nazism and the Holocaust.

If you're looking to see how the Genocide of the Jews and to some extent of the German people themselves came to being then this might be a very good book to read.

Here you will not see with graphic depictions the life within the Concentration Camps and Death Camps, there are
Dw Duke
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book was excellent though it was quite detailed. It is quite a bit of information to absorb in just one reading. Yet, it contains very important information about the nature of circumstances leading up to the Holocaust and during the Holocaust. One can see anti-Semitism rising over the 30's and the reaction to the response around the world.
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As harrowing and exhausting a read as I've ever experienced. We should all read this.
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway.
Final Solution is a very dense, encyclopedic account of the extermination of Jewry in Europe before, during, and after World War II. World history taught in American schools doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the Jewish genocide carried out by Nazis. Before reading David Cesarani’s tome, my limited understanding was, “the Nazis were awful, they imprisoned and murdered Jews in concentration camps throughout Germany and Poland,
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dit is het beste boek over de Jodenvervolging door Nazi-Duitsland, dat ik heb gelezen. De schrijver schrijft vnauit het perspectief van de Joden. De geopolitieke en andere gebeurtenissen in de jaren van 1933 tot 1948 komen slechts zijdelings aanbod waar dat nodig is. Het boek is objectief, soms bina koud, geschreven, maar daarom des te schokkender. Cesarani laat ook zien, dat de hele genocide niet efficient gepland was, maar heel vaak ad hoc aangepst. Het is al met al eenboek, da the niet optimi ...more
Damien G
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
A detailed and moving book one of the best on the anti Semitism of Germany and Axis countries. I think it would be true to say that the German people were indifferent to the plight of the Jews. Hitler and his supporters knew that if you quickly suppressed the democratic process resistance would be suppressed. Opening the door to a slow indoctrination of hate towards the Jews. Who would care about them if prosperity and a strong Germany evolved. The author has researched Pre war Germany, and I no ...more
Excellent book. The in depth look into what the Jewish population went through should be read by everyone. Yes, it is a sad, sad, book filled with death on almost every page, but that has got to be remembered throughout history. Do wish there was more on how the Allies handled the problem. That was the only part that seemed short.
Paul Taylor
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A comprehensive, deeply researched, balanced account of the Nazis' treatment of Europe's Jews during the 20th century, the genesis of the Final Solution and the circumstances that conspired to seal the fate of Jewry. By no means a casual read this has become the latest seminal work for those interested in the Shoah.
Angel Serrano
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Exhaustiva narración del Holocausto, desde sus orígenes en 1933 con la ascensión de Hitler a la cancillería alemana, hasta la creación del Estado de Israel y la repatriación de judíos. Testimonio de que no sólo los nazis alemanes fueron culpables y de que hubo gran complicidad activa y pasiva en muchos países.
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an extremely well-researched and well-written history of the Holocaust and the lead-up to WWII. Cesarani looked at the history from a different perspective than most, namely that the war caused the extreme persecution and mass killings of European Jewish residents, not the other way around. He also spent much time implicating the collaborators from Allied nations or conquered nations.
Paulo A. Reimann
Must read

To read whatever book about the Shoa is always a shock. Sad. An effort to go through painful stories from a painful past. We must never forget. The book is probably the best I have read about the Shoa. By far. A must read.
Daniela R. Eduardo
rated it really liked it
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David Cesarani OBE was an English historian who specialised in Jewish history, especially the Holocaust.