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Ordinary Men

Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland
Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (563 ratings)
Regular price: $24.95
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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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Necessary Information

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

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Ordinary Men.

Heartbreaking story. Unbelievable that these men did these brutal killings and so many were never brought to justice!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A sobering and important reminder of the devil inside us all.

Skillfully written and meticulous researched, the author argues and answers counter arguments with tenacity yet dispassion. An important message for all mankind to remind us that a brutal concentration guard resides in us all should we but allow it room to grow. The narrator is superb and I would listen to him read the phone book with rapt attention.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Amazing book

The book takes a deep look at just how cruel humans can be the line of good end evil crosses every mans heart

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Understand Your Fellow Men

This isn't an easy read, but it is an important one. The book itself can be dry and clinical, it can spend a little too much time recounting hard data and rattling off numbers after numbers. But almost every one of those numbers represents a human life that was extinguished too soon, and under the cruelest of circumstances.

This book is important as it helps us better understand some of the driving forces behind the Nazi extermination of millions of people across Europe. It also helps us understand the motivating forces behind people.

The original book is supplemented by extensive essays and responses to the critical response it has seen since it's initial publishing, and to me, that was the most fascinating portion.

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  • 12-28-18

A look inside the minds of everyday people

These men were not selected because of heavy party involvement or young malleable minds, they were reservists. Yet somehow their kill record was only exceeded by a single active duty unit. How did this happen? Anyone who has served should read this as it gives a look into how easy it is to get caught up. I am in no way condoning what they did nor excusing the behavior. This book provides a view on how they, mentally, traveled from friends to Jews to killers and torturers.

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Who Caused the Holocaust?

Hitler? In part. But it couldn’t have happened with you and I and our next door neighbor.

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A Frightening Look at Man's Evil Side

This book is an excellent insight into the heart of mankind's darkest side. Great book backed by research and factual historic accounting.