War and Genocide

A Concise History of the Holocaust
Narrated by: Collene Curran
Length: 13 hrs and 9 mins
Categories: History, Europe
4.5 out of 5 stars (55 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In examining one of the defining events of the twentieth century, Doris L. Bergen situates the Holocaust in its historical, political, social, cultural, and military contexts. Unlike many other treatments of the Holocaust, this revised, third edition discusses not only the persecution of the Jews, but also other segments of society victimized by the Nazis: Roma, homosexuals, Poles, Soviet POWs, the disabled, and other groups deemed undesirable. In clear and eloquent prose, Bergen explores the two interconnected goals that drove the Nazi German program of conquest and genocide - purification of the so-called Aryan race and expansion of its living space - and discusses how these goals affected the course of World War II. Including firsthand accounts from perpetrators, victims, and eyewitnesses, her book is immediate and human.

©2006 Rowman & Littlefield (P)2017 Redwood Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"A book that will likely be required reading in college-level courses for years to come.... A detailed overview of the Holocaust." ( History in Review)
"This succinct book is remarkably comprehensive, making it unusually accessible to nonexperts. Highly recommended." ( CHOICE)
"This is a book that will find its place on the bookshelves of most Holocaust scholars and should be included in any Holocaust library." ( Jewish Book World)

What listeners say about War and Genocide

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Agency - the capacity or state of exerting power

Any additional comments?

I was looking for a comprehensive history of The Holocaust, and Goodreads pointed me toward Timothy Snyder. I read Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin and Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning.... Still, I needed something more. Doris Bergen's book was exactly what I didn't know I needed.

Her history is concise, as titularly promised, but also complete. In the first chapter, she addresses not just the question of why did World War II happen but also the often forgotten question of "Why the Jews?" as the author puts it. She lay to rest many of my preconceived notions and mythology that I'd embraced as "cultural literacy."

Bergen also resists laying the entire Holocaust at the feet of one man, nor does she hold entire nations responsible. Specifically and deliberately, the author indicts those who actively and passively created and perpetuated mass murder.

Jarring and brutal, Bergen's language consistently used the voice of agency in describing the events of the Holocaust. Nobody "died" in the concentration camps described in War and Genocide; they were murdered by starvation, work, disease, gas, torture, suffocation (buried alive), gunshot, hanging, beating, or some other depravity that had a specific perpetrator and victim.

And Bergen does not allow either to be a faceless entity in the shadows of history. Through well-developed anecdotes, she brings the murderer and the murdered out of the darkness and names them. Her scorn or respect has an individuality that, for me, echoed the voice of God that each will surely hear on judgement day. The author never descends into collective nouns that tend to lull the reader into a complacency; instead you get the names and descriptions. You understand the person, the people, the Humanity—not the Six Million, the Jews, the Gypsies, the Gays, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Poles, the dead.

Likewise, the author notes that everyone who survived the Holocaust was saved by someone. I’m thankful to the author that the saved and the saviors, not just the murderers, are remembered here in War and Genocide.

A note about the narration of the audio book. Collene Curran’s prosody and expression were engaging; her delivery “professorial”, but in the best way possible. Occasionally, her tone was disconnected from the content. Specifically I remember picturing a smiling newscaster reporting “waves of refugees.” The narration did not often distract from the text itself though.

5 people found this helpful

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An informative review of the subject.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.
This is a ghastly subject, the author concisely provided more facts about it. While everyone has heard of the main atrocities that occurred during WWII, it's easy to forget that a lot of others were marginalized as well. We all know someone that would have been lumped into theses groups.

2 people found this helpful

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Informative and engaging

Any additional comments?

I'm a fan of history (not a professional historian) and was delighted to have been given the opportunity to review this audiobook.

I'm used to hearing audiobooks on the subject of WW2 that are narrated by men, so its refreshing to hear a female narrator. She has a very engaging voice, good tone, good pace. I can be picky about audiobook narration, but I would certainly listen to this narrator again in other audiobooks. One thing that I did notice, for better or worse, was that this narrator effectively conveyed varying levels of subjectiveness/objectiveness. I've listened to other audiobooks where the narrator/author combination leaves me with an impression of objectivity. For this audiobook, I frequently perceived that I was hearing the author's personal opinion. It reminded me of the audiobook of Shirer's 'Rise and Fall of the Third Reich' - there, too, you really got a clear sense of where the author's sympathies lay.

For this reason, I found my eyebrows wrinkling a bit at some of the topics and wished that there was more of an objective explanation for some of the author's assertions. To her credit, the author often prefaced this material with words along the lines of, "This is a controversial topic among historians, or you may have read differently elsewhere, but here's the real truth...". Her discussion of Jewish collaborators, the extent to which the army soldiers participated in genocide (or didn't refuse to obey orders pertaining to this), Germany's losses during the initial invasion of Poland, the role of the Treaty of Versailles --- the way that each of these issues were described, made me want to double check her sources and other sources on these topics. Of course, one of the two biggest drawbacks of audiobooks is that I'm unable to access her bibliography or references (the other drawback being lack of access to illustrations and maps), so I couldn't trace back her sources on these topics. I don't necessarily disagree with her observations, but I suspect that the topics are much more nuanced than her concise account provides. (This has been my experience when reading anything about the world wars, anyway.)

There were a few minor but also interesting topics that I would have liked to have heard more about. The author described the religious roots of anti-semitism (I wasn't aware that the term was a modern one until I heard this book) but I felt that she could have spent more time with the economic roots of anti-semitism. Also, I think that interesting stories can be told about how Jews fared relatively better in some countries rather than others. The author did talk about some of these countries (e.g., Italy) and very briefly mentioned Finland, but I would have liked to see more emphasis on this because I think it's quite thought-provoking that some countries were less willing to exterminate Jews, and that many Germans may have been compelled to become more complicit due to factors such as propaganda, fear of reprisals, and so on. Given that this is a concise history, though, the author can easily be excused for having to make choices about what to include and what to exclude in this book. I'm curious enough that I will take her clearly stated advice and will not treat this book as a standalone authority and will explore additional information sources on my own.

I enjoyed the author's excerpts containing personal anecdotes of people who lived during this time period. I'm familiar with some accounts of Holocaust survivors (I'm familiar with 'Night', for example), but I was also happy to read accounts about individuals with other roles to play. They add a very human side to factual descriptions of events during that time.

All in all, I have no regrets about this book. The fact is, this is a huge, huge subject with lots of information, events, and details. You really need to hear from different sources and gradually build an understanding in order to have an informed opinion. (I've read/listened to several military history books (and podcasts - shoutout to Dan Carlin's Hardcore History's 'Ghosts of the Ostfront' series!) and my 'informed opinion' continues to be revised with each book I read. This audiobook is a great addition to my WW2 collection of books and I'd recommend it to others!

This review is my personal opinion, provided in exchange for a complimentary copy of the audiobook.

1 person found this helpful

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Modern, reflective, and fairly brief.

This book does not go into great details as a dry academic text, as it says it is concise, and the description of the Holocaust is effective and much shorter than similar works. The thing that sticks out about this book to me, is the voice with which the subject is discussed. The book has a conversation with you, from our modern world, about the causes and implications. It has a contemplative, social-sciences angle, but chooses words carefully to ensure respect and accuracy is clear.

The Narrator is easy to understand, has good inflection, and no annoying ticks. Collene Curran makes it easy to lose her voice and feel as if one was reading directly, which is all one could ask for in such a work.

If you are looking for an exhaustive work, this is not for you. If you want the outline, important events, and some quality insights, I recommend it.

-I received a free review copy of this work-

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Very good undergraduate text; narrator is terrible

This is a very good introductory text on the Holocaust for undergraduates. Very accessible and clearly structured.
My only critique is on the selection of the narrator. Why would the publisher select (an otherwise fine) reader who has absolutely no idea how to pronounce German (or for that matter, Polish) names and terms? At the very least, the reader could have been given some coaching. "Wannsee" is pronounced "onesie", Konzentrationslager is barely recognisable as such.

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Good book, slow reading

Even though this is a history book, it doesn't have to read like one! History is so exciting and exciting especially the Holocaust but does it need to be read like your about to take the ACT??

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Evil triumphs when good men do nothing!

If you could sum up War and Genocide in three words, what would they be?

Concise, very enlightening

What other book might you compare War and Genocide to and why?

Have not read any books like this before.

Which character – as performed by Collene Curran – was your favorite?

She brought Hitler to life and exposed him for what he truly was.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I didn't realize that so many different people were targeted for torture and death not just Jews.

Any additional comments?

"I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator."

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Holocaust book with incredible wealth of knowledge

Any additional comments?

I enjoy books that can teach me something and this book provides more details that were new to me. Very very interesting. I would recommend this book.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

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Informative

I am always interested in re-learning about the world history because during my schooling days, I had just mugged up everything, without taking any particular interest. But now that I'm grown-up, I understand that was a mistake. I now look for books that will educate me on world history, without the book being academic in nature. This book fits the bill. I came to know of several facts that I didn't know of before. And it shows the length the author had gone to research the topic and present it in concise manner.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

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Fascinating read

Fascinating read. I always enjoy reading anything to do with this period in history. Well written this covered some controversial topics. This is an informative book worth reading.

The narrator gave a good performance.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.