The Holocaust has been the subject of countless books, works of art, and memorials. Fifty-five years after the fact the world still ponders the enormity of this disaster. The Holocaust Encyclopedia is the only comprehensive single-volume work of reference providing both a reflective overview of the subject and abundant detail concerning major events, policy decisions, cities, and individuals. Up-to-date and designed for easy access, the encyclopedia presents information on the major aspects of the Holocaust in essays by scholars from eleven countries who draw on a number of sources--including recently uncovered evidence from the former Soviet bloc--to provide in-depth studies on the political, social, religious, and moral issues of the Holocaust as well as short entries identifying events, sites, and individuals. The book also has more than 250 photographs, many of them rare, and 19 maps.
The volume includes:
* Raul Hilberg on concentration camps and Gypsies
* Ruth Bondy, Israel Gutman, and Dina Porat on major ghettoes
* Roger Greenspun on the Holocaust in cinema and television
* Richard Breitman on American policy
* Michael Berenbaum on theological and philosophical responses
* Saul Friedlander on Nazi policy
* Michael Hagemeister on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion
* Michael R. Marrus on historiography
* Christopher R. Browning on the Madagascar Plan
* Robert S. Wistrich on Holocaust denial
* James E. Young on Holocaust literature
The last two decades of the 20th century witnessed a veritable explosion of Holocaust scholarship. We have endowed university chairs devoted to Holocaust studies, and museums and monuments to the Shoah bloom. Yet the public at large is no closer to an understanding of those momentous events today than we were two generations ago. Now comes a book that can at least partly remedy that situation. Editor Laqueur, a notable Holocaust historian (Generation Exodus, Forecasts, Feb. 19), has done a masterful job of bringing together more than 100 contributors from nearly a dozen countries, including such leading scholars in their fields as James Young, Stanley Payne, Michael R. Marrus, Raul Hilberg, Israel Gutman, Saul Friedlander, David Cesarani, Daniel Carpi and Christopher Browning. The result is a comprehensive one is tempted to say exhaustive, but the subject can never be exhausted volume. Of particular value are a 17-page chronology of events; the bibliographical essay by Robert Rozett, director of the Yad Vashem Library in Jerusalem; and Adam Kaczkowski's haunting and powerful photographs. These are joined by approximately 250 illustrations that cover all aspects of the Nazi extermination program but also offer intimate portraits of the culture of Jewish life in Nazi-occupied Europe. Entries range in length from a few sentences to a dozen pages on Hitler, anti-Semitism and Auschwitz. Laqueur asks, "Is it possible now, more than fifty years after the Holocaust, to write about it with authority?" The encyclopedia itself is authoritative, and Laqueur argues that "it is most unlikely... that any future revelations will necessitate a radical revision of the present picture." Finally, Laqueur is eloquent and humble in acknowledging the epistemological shortcomings of this (or any) work on the subject: "Documents cannot possibly tell the full story; they do not smell, they do not starve or freeze, they are not afraid." But this is no ordinary reference work; in it we can indeed see and even smell the horrors of the Final Solution, and yes, we are afraid. (Apr. 19)Forecast: There will undoubtedly be much media attention paid to this momentous book, aided by its publication on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Yale University Press
February 28, 2001
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