By Norman G. Finkelstein, Ruth Bettina Birn
No fresh paintings of historical past has generated as a lot curiosity as Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's Hitler's prepared Executioners. Purporting to unravel the secret of the Nazi holocaust, Goldhagen continues that standard Germans have been pushed by way of fanatical anti-Semitism to homicide the Jews. an instantaneous nationwide best-seller, the ebook went directly to create a world sensation.
Now, in A kingdom on Trial, top critics problem Goldhagen's findings and exhibit that his paintings isn't really scholarship in any respect. With compelling cumulative impact, Norman G. Finkelstein meticulously records Goldhagen's distortions of secondary literature and the inner contradictions of his argument. In a complementary essay, Ruth Bettina Birn juxtaposes Goldhagen's textual content opposed to the German files he consulted. the most important overseas authority on those files, Birn conclusively demonstrates that Goldhagen systematically misrepresented their contents.
The definitive assertion at the Goldhagen phenomenon, this quantity can be a cautionary story at the corruption of scholarship through ideological zealotry.
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Additional info for A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth
Hitler: Speeches and Proclamations, 1932-1945, Wauconda, IL 1990, pp. 37, 40; Saul Friedlander, Nazi Germany and the Jews, New York 1997, pp. 72, 95-7, 101-4 (Friedlander puts more stress on Hitler's public anti-Semitism throughout the 1920s but concurs that in the early 1930s 'the Jewish theme indeed became less frequent in his rhetoric'); Sarah Gordon, Hitler, Germans and the Jewish Question', pp. 84, 129; Kershaw, The 'Hitler Myth', pp. 230-5; Niewyck, The Jews in Weimar Germany, p. 54. For the period January 1932 to March 1933, there is no mention at all of Jews in any of Hitler's speeches collected in Domarus's standard edition.
Norman H. , The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, New York 1969, p. 721; Brustein, The Logic of Evil, p. , Hitler: Speeches and Proclamations, 1932-1945, Wauconda, IL 1990, pp. 37, 40; Saul Friedlander, Nazi Germany and the Jews, New York 1997, pp. 72, 95-7, 101-4 (Friedlander puts more stress on Hitler's public anti-Semitism throughout the 1920s but concurs that in the early 1930s 'the Jewish theme indeed became less frequent in his rhetoric'); Sarah Gordon, Hitler, Germans and the Jewish Question', pp.
Yet the book did indisputably elicit an avalanche of praise. How does one account for this paradox and what is its significance? I want to address these questions in two areas: scholarship and politics. It bears emphasis that, however informed, the remarks that follow are speculation. They clearly belong in a separate category from the preceding analysis of the text itself.  The Nazi extermination of the Jews spawned two parallel, indeed contradictory, bodies of literature. Historians working with the German materials have gradually reached consensus that most ordinary Germans did not share Hitler's obsession with the Jews.
A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth by Norman G. Finkelstein, Ruth Bettina Birn