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Publisher's Summary

Ordinary Men is the true story of Reserve Police Batallion 101 of the German Order Police, which was responsible for mass shootings as well as roundups of Jewish people for deportation to Nazi death camps in Poland in 1942. Browning argues that most of the men of RPB 101 were not fanatical Nazis but, rather, ordinary middle-aged working-class men who committed these atrocities out of a mixture of motives, including the group dynamics of conformity, deference to authority, role adaptation, and the altering of moral norms to justify their actions. Very quickly three groups emerged within the battalion: a core of eager killers, a plurality who carried out their duties reliably but without initiative, and a small minority who evaded participation in the acts of killing without diminishing the murderous efficiency of the battalion whatsoever.

While this book discusses a specific Reserve Unit during WWII, the general argument Browning makes is that most people succumb to the pressures of a group setting and commit actions they would never do of their own volition. Ordinary Men is a powerful, chilling, and important work with themes and arguments that continue to resonate today.

©2013 Christopher R. Browning (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very detailed, would recommend.

Great book, very descriptive when descibing events/battles/photographs. Maybe could have used a better reader, but overall well worth the buy. Would recommend

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Cold, but poignant

Insightful and jarring. A testament to the potential for evil within us all, as well as a warning of the price of Silence and passivity in everyday life.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Necessary Information

This, along with "The Rape of Nanking" and "Gulag Archipelago" should be read by every human.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Eye Opening

Terrifying and illuminating. The author provides alot of context and analysis for reserve police battalion 101. Dry, but an important read nonetheless.

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Wow. Lots to learn from this!

very comprehensive in depth analysis on the people and the variety of perspectives and actions. Nothi g is black and white. Nuance is always important. Great book!

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wow

I thought I had an idea of the Holocaust. I didn't. this book brings it to light in a whole new way. the sheer numbers of it all around unimaginable. great book

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Interesting but thick with data

The parts about the psychology and soldiers' reactions were interesting, but there was a lot of discussion of command structure, historical debates, and quibbling over sources

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Another Testament

More proof what human are actually not only capable but motivated to accomplish when various factors are present. Perhaps we need to pay attention to skirmishes for more fishing area and as Hitler discusses Living Space. To make an assessment that is is out of the ordinary then you must read more history start with the Raping of Nanking.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Bogged down in details.

Get out your pencil and take notes. This book is full of details, obscure Polish town names, people's names that are not even their real names.

Basically a recap of court testimony. Yawn....

4 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

I know the Germans did terrible things and don't need to hear more about them.My interest is the perpetrators and how they came to do these things.I would have liked to hear more about the individuals involved ,their history and what became of them afterwards. Ordinary Men offers some insight into how this could happen but not much about the individual soldier of Battalion 101. I would like to add ,no one tried to stop the killing. They knew it was going to happen no matter what they did. The same is true of the Geman Civilians.When they heard rumors ,if they believed them, in that totalitarian state during a war what could an individual do. This is why we must prevent abuse of human rights at its core.

4 of 11 people found this review helpful