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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

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  873 Ratings  ·  62 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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Nov 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: nazi-germany, history
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
I found War and Genocide to be an interesting read because it covered some niche areas that were not focused on in other books I was reading at that same time. While Bergen doesn’t spend as much time on the broad concepts of the war (she definitely touches on them), she digs in to smaller issues, for example, other victims of the Nazi actions. She analyzes the effects on the Jews, but also homosexuals, Communists, the disabled, and more. This was what I found new and informative because I had no ...more
John Bardsley
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't give this five stars because i enjoyed reading it. Rather, because I struggled reading it. Saying that, this is a book I truly believe everyone should read this. It's haunting, but important. The most thorough account of Holocaust I've ever encountered.
Sep 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Certainly the best introduction to the topic I've come across, not to mention a book that is incredibly, incredibly well-written.

"In order for a house to burn down, three things are required. the timber must be dry and combustible, there needs to be a spark that ignites it, and external conditions have to be favorable--not too damp, perhaps some wind."
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A book read for a class. A well written, concise oversight of the main issues of the holocaust. I enjoyed reading it, not because of the subject matter, but because it was presented in an easily understandable manner.
A brief, yet comprehensive, and accessible overview of the Holocaust, tracing from the prewar Nazi ascent to power through the end of World War II. Written by one of the best academics currently working on the subject. Includes a good amount of analysis of postwar Holocaust scholarship, too.
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
excellent concise history of the Holocaust
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I haven't read many books like this. Though it's suppose to be a textbook, it felt far from that. It was easy to read and filled with so many details and facts I never knew. A great resource for those wanting to learn more about the times.
Hannah Brislin
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An in-depth look into the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, the steps taken to create the Holocaust, and the horrors of the Holocaust. A difficult book to read due to the subject matter but an important book for everyone to read so that we never forget.
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
clear, easy to read and very informative. fact driven and very thoughtful and thought provoking
Rachael Baumdicker
This was a very heartbreaking but necessary read, especially when taking a class on the Holocaust. You don't fully understand the full extent of what happened until you read this.
Ms. Nguyen
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: great-for-ap
Provides a historical and social context of the Holocaust. Research based, insightful.
Ayesha Madan
An exceptional book. Writing was consistently to the point, yet provided well researched explanations for all the pestering questions I have ever had about this dark period. The content in this book is not just for students enrolled in courses related to history, politics or Holocaust studies - but for anyone trying to make sense of the irrational human behaviours behind war and genocide.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it

War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust
: Doris L. Bergen

This is a concise review of historical events linking WWII and the Holocaust as a singular event. It does not drag out each event in the progression, but gives brief glimpses for the listener to contemplate on their own.

The narration was well done. Collene Curran made the subject understandable.

"I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator."
Amber Cochran
Feb 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Dec 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust begins with explaining the necessary ingredients for a fire which are: dry timber, favorable conditions, and a spark. The timber being humanity, the favorable conditions being the prejudices already in place and the spark was Hitler.

This book explains in further detail Nazi idealogies, programs and politics. Sometimes the author lost me on the history and politics, but this was due to my lack of familiarity with the era. In my mind, antidotes
May 30, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Rachel E. Gross
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this book as background for an Auschwitz-based fellowship on journalism ethics, and could not have asked for a better primer. It begins with the concept of a house fire. Before the blaze can occur, all the pre-existing elements must be in place: dry tinder, hot weather, the fateful spark. With clarity and insight, the book outlines how these elements were at play in Nazi Germany, in the form of institutionalized racism, a weakened economy, German disenfranchisement, and political instabil ...more
Jan 14, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Nicole Hamilton
Mar 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

Full disclosure: I worked as a research assistant on the first edition of this book, as I was a graduate student working with Professor Bergen when she was writing this book. I quite enjoyed it, and I found her ideas about the Holocaust to be very informative in my own studies. I appreciated the themes that she explored in her scholarship (persecution of other groups beyond Jews, etc.).

I was interes
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
"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
May 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was the main text for my introductory course on the Holocaust, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Bergen is detailed and clear, while still managing to cover an impressive amount of information. I especially appreciate her examination of photographs. Through her captions, I learned about the importance of recognizing photographers, angles, subjects, and time the picture was taken. Bergen tells a holistic, factual account of the Holocaust and implements eyewitness stories as well.
Feb 11, 2009 rated it liked it
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!
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-nonfiction
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.
Mar 26, 2012 rated it liked it
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~
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