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Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil [Paperback]

By Ron Rosenbaum (Author)
Our Price $ 13.60  
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Item Number 161305  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   496
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.02" Width: 5.34" Height: 1.21"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 9, 1999
Publisher   Harper Perennial
ISBN  006095339X  
EAN  9780060953393  
UPC  099455016001  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Outline ReviewDebates concerning the historical and moral significance of Adolf Hitler have gone on since the beginning of his rise to power in Germany. In the decades after his bunker suicide, those debates elevated to arguments over the very nature and existence of evil. An integral part of the arguments has been the ongoing attempt to understand the why of Hitler. In this engaging work of literary journalism, Ron Rosenbaum travels the world to converse with some of the historians, philosophers, filmmakers, and others who have attempted to make sense of Hitler's actions, to find a root cause for the Holocaust.

Rosenbaum methodically examines the evidence for and against all the major hypotheses concerning the origin of Hitler's character. He sifts through all the rumors--including his alleged Jewish ancestry and what biographer Alan Bullock refers to as "the one-ball business"--and the attempts to derive some psychological cause from them. Various Hitlers emerge: Hitler as con man and brutal gangster, Hitler the unspeakable pervert, Hitler the ladies' man, Hitler as modernist artist working in the medium of evil....

But Rosenbaum's portrayals of those who would define Hitler are as fascinating as the shifting perspectives on the fhrer. Here we see the brave journalists of the Munich Post who attempted to reveal Hitler's evil to the world as early as the 1920s. We witness Shoah director Claude Lanzmann's imperious attempts to stifle analysis of Hitler and the Holocaust, branding such historical inquiries as "obscene." We see the effects, on a frazzled Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, of the controversy surrounding the publication of his Hitler's Willing Executioners. We see the interior crises of Hitler apologist David Irving and philosopher-novelist George Steiner, among others, as they struggle with the ramifications of their work and thought. And, best of all, we have Rosenbaum to serve as an informed, intimate, and on occasion witty guide. In White Noise, Don DeLillo depicted the satirical academic discipline of "Hitler studies;" Ron Rosenbaum breathes a life into the field that no fiction can match. --Ron Hogan

Product Description
When Hitler's war ended in 1945, the war over Hitler--who he really was, what gave birth to his unique evil--had just begun. Hitler did not escape the bunker in Berlin but, half a century later, he has managed to escape explanation in ways both frightening and profound. Explaining Hitler is an extraordinary quest, an expedition into the war zone of Hitler theories. This is a passionate, enthralling book that illuminates what Hitler explainers tell us about Hitler, about the explainers, and about ourselves.

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More About Ron Rosenbaum

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ron Rosenbaum grew up on Long Island, New York. A graduate of Yale with a degree in English literature, he left Yale Graduate School to write full-time. His essays and journalism have appeared in Harper's, Esquire, The New Republic, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker; he's done eight cover stories for the New York Times Magazine. He is the author of four previous books, including one novel and three collections of his essays and journalism, most recently Travels with Dr Death and Other Unusual Investigations.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and historian Thomas Powers called him "one of the few distinctive voices of modern American literary journalism." His work has been characterized by the essayist Phillip Lopate as combining "the skills of a terrific investigative reporter and an accomplished literary stylist with an idiosyncratic streak all his own."

More than ten years ago, he began investigating certain unresolved controversies among Hitler biographers, and ultimately embarked on an odyssey that took him from Vienna and Munich to London, Paris, and Jerusalem. The book that emerged combines original research and dramatic face-to-face encounters with historians, philosophers, psychologists, and theologians as they attempt to account for the elusive figure of Adolf Hitler and the meanings projected upon him by his explainers.

Currently Ron Rosenbaum writes for the New York Times Magazine, and The New York Observer, and teaches a course on literary journalism at the Columbia Graduate School of journalism.

Ron Rosenbaum currently resides in Manhattan, in the state of New York.

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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Good book, but not for beginners.  Feb 25, 2008
When I picked up this book, I did not know very much about the life of Adolph Hitler; after reading it, I'm not sure that I know very much more than bare facts. This is a really excellent account of the mind of Hitler (or rather, what scholars THINK the mind of Hitler must have been like), but it is definitely not for someone who is just starting to learn about the man. The book is densely written and sometimes quite difficult to understand. I appreciate the effort that was put into researching the book, but found that I really should have started out with a more "basic" book on Hitler before picking this one up. I would recommend the same for anyone who is just starting to learn about Hitler.
Understainding evil  Jan 10, 2007
This book does not really explain Hilter. Rather it highlights what the various explanations for Hilter reveal about the people or societies attempting the explanations. Rosenbaum offers a balanced assessment of the various opinions commonly offered to explain what happened in Germany in the 1920's through the 1940's and the European reaction to those event. Explaining Hitler is not a full history of the Nazi era but it is a fascinating social analysis of our response to that era.
Rosenbaum thinks only in terms of halocaust evil   Dec 17, 2006
I'm not going to gripe, as many others have, about the spurious nature of Rosenbaum's arguments, which mostly involve asking fellow Jewish authors why they think Hitler didn't care much for their ancestors.
My gripe is why Rosenbaum thinks that the Jewish halocaust was the only, or even the most important, example of Hitler's evil. In terms of body counts of innocent victims, 10 million of them being fellow Germans, Hitler's sins against the Jews are trumped by his sins against his own people, not to mention those 20 million pretty dead Russians, 10 million of which were completely innocent civilians, which constitutes three times the horror visited upon Rosenbaum's Jewish relatives. Rosenbaum is, like other minority groups, making claim that his ancestors were the champion victims. Perhaps in terms of percentages, but percentages aren't realistic metrics, only total numbers are, which makes the Russians and Germans tops in this competition. I wonder if Rosenbaum ever even considered who was actually massacred by the war, other than his targetted Jews?
Great Information, Egghead Writing  Jun 17, 2006
The information in this book is excellent. That being said, the prose is at times absolutely outlandish. The introduction gives you a cue of what's to come as the author gives you a "Dennis Milleresque" outline of the facts. After he used the term "Heathcliffian" I knew I may be in over my head. I ended up keeping my Franklin electronic dictionary next to the book to define the plethora of odd synonyms used.

It's worth the dollars. Just prepare to feel uneducated.
One of the most in-depth and thought-provoking historiographies of Hitler  Apr 16, 2006
Written about the history of Hitler studies, Rosenbaum gives a well-written and thoughtful insight into Hitler historians (be they primarily focused on Hitler or some other aspect of the Third Reich/Holocaust - the figure of Hitler always seems to rear his head). Direct interviews with historians gives Rosenbaum insight into who these historians are, and attempts to explain not only what we believe about Hitler but WHY we believe it. Very interesting, and the bible of Hitler historiographies.

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