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Ordinary Men Audiobook

Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland

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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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  •  
    night owl 05-24-17
    night owl 05-24-17 Member Since 2015
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    "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.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
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    CSamafalda Dugan Washington, D.C. 09-16-17
    CSamafalda Dugan Washington, D.C. 09-16-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Distancing as a prelude to dehumanization"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Ordinary Men to be better than the print version?

    A sort of Manichaeism is common to humans when wishfully thinking that one is always on the “good” side. Perhaps that is what makes #Ordinarymen so poignant. Personally, part of me wishes Christopher Browning had left-out the details of the horrors perpetuated, not only by the hateful-organized-groups, but also by “ordinary men”. What a dark time in human history! At the same time, Browning’s regard for the historic records is admirable. If I had known the details of each chapter I would have probably skipped to the very last chapters. What happened to the ReservePolice Batallion 101 in Poland goes on to illustrate how “ordinary men” are not safe from indoctrination into authoritarianism, from habituation after the burden of choice has been removed, from role adaptation and conformity to peer pressure. What made this book so relevant to me, after reading the news on Charlottesville, and a multitude of ignorant comments about DACA students and other undocumented persons, is that “distancing” from the “other” as a prelude to dehumanization is a serious-soul- illness that can only be stopped through large doses of love.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott 08-09-17
    Scott 08-09-17 Member Since 2016
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    "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

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark 03-26-17
    Mark 03-26-17 Member Since 2016
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    "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....

    3 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rbergen 03-25-17
    rbergen 03-25-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Waste of time"

    Takes cheap and intellectually dishonest shots at the U.S. whenever he can. Somehow manages to drag up My Lai and other American events as if they compare to the industrialized slaughter by Germany.
    Criticizes American reluctance to take Japanese prisoners as racially driven murder. Since most Japanese did not wish to be taken prisoner and often attempted to trick there would be captors at the last second, shooting all Japanese attempting to "surrender" was justified. This is a basic rule of war and recently reconfirmed in Iraq.

    3 of 13 people found this review helpful

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