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Hardcover Denying History Book

ISBN: 0520216121

ISBN13: 9780520216129

Denying History

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Book Overview

Denying History takes a bold and in-depth look at those who say the Holocaust never happened and explores the motivations behind such claims. While most commentators have dismissed the Holocaust... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Warriors don't kill women, children and babies...

Not my words. They were the words of a modern-day Luftwaffe squadron leader, who I had the pleasure of meeting back in the seventies. His point was that nobody in their right mind could in any way justify the Holocaust. As Denying History goes on to prove, nobody in their right mind could in any way justify Holocaust denial.At the (for me) prohibitive price, I would never have bought the book, but a friend lent me his copy, for which I am most grateful. Shermer leads an unassailable destruction of the various denial approaches, from those who question the figure of six million, to the extremists who deny that there ever was a Holocaust. On a personal note, I grew up in Britain as a non-Jew, and one of my neighbours, a Mr. Hammill, was a Survivor. In the summer, when everybody slept with their windows open, you could sometimes hear him screaming in his sleep. Literally.The capacity for genocide is inherent in humans. To deny that, to deny that it DID happen to the Jews, is just the first step towards creating the basis for the next Holocaust. Denying History goes as far as is humanly possible in proving that the Jewish Holocaust did actually happen, and that virtually all of those who question the reality, have agendas of their own.

Excellent in every respect

Passions tend to boil with the subject of Holocaust denial, so one would expect, when reading this book, to see some rather heated language. However it does not happen; Shermer and Grobman are cool and methodical as they tackle this thorny subject.This is as valuable a source on historical methodology as I have seen in quite some time. The authors could simply have dealt with the issue of Holocaust denial, but they choose also to discuss the very nature of the science of history, and how proper historical methodology must be adhered to if the past is to be protected from distortion. The authors draw clear boundaries between legitimate revision and deceptive denial posing as revision. "It is not enough for deniers to concoct an alternative explanation that amounts to nothing more than denying each piece of free-standing evidence. They must proffer a theory that not only explains all of the evidence but does so in a manner superior to the present theory. This they have not done." (p. 172) That is as concise an explanation of what defines true revision as you will find.The authors methodically confront each of the deniers' contentions, and refute them one by one. The deniers' sloppy methodology (deliberate or otherwise), inconsistent standards regarding evidence, or simple distortion of the historical record are exposed for all to see. The authors accomplish this without resorting to any name-calling. They let the evidence (or lack thereof) speak for itself.The authors also examine the background of the deniers, showing that the deniers are far from being simple seekers of truth. A clear agenda is at work, and the deniers' claims that they are simple students of history, trying to clarify the historical record, simply doesn't wash.There have criticisms in other reviews that the authors do not discuss the millions of other victims of the Holocaust, but this is hardly the point of the book. The authors make it clear and explicit that they are dealing with the issue of Holocaust denial and the distortion of history, and are not embarking on an extended discussion of the nature of the Holocaust itself.It is evident to me that the importance of the sanctity of history, and protecting it from distortion for ideological purposes, is as important to the authors as the specific subject of Holocaust denial. The final chapter, "The Rape of History," mentions the Holocaust only at the end of a lengthy discussion of revision versus denial. The conclusion of this chapter reads, "Whatever else it might be, history is the primary story of the storytelling animal, the narrative of our past that offers meaning to our present and, ultimately, our future." (p. 256) Distorting that past robs us of our meaning today.No matter your field of interest, if you are a student of history you will find this book invaluable.

Convincing treatment of a sensitive subject

This book is the most convincing refutation that I've seen of the claim that there was no systematic Nazi plan to murder Europe's Jews, and the most penetrating analysis of why some people make that claim. Shermer and Grobman are to be commended for dealing with the subject from the standpoint of historiography, avoiding the shrill ad hominem arguments that are, alas, all too frequent in this sensitive area, and for making an attempt to figure out exactly why people believe what they do. Their analysis of David Irving is especially enlightening: Irving is certainly an intelligent man, and doesn't appear to be a vicious anti-Semite. The authors' explanation of how this otherwise sensible historian was led down the garden path by the ex-Nazi "in crowd" is one of the most interesting, and thoroughly convincing parts of the book.

A Penetrating & Frightening Look At Holocaust Deniers!

It is both puzzling and painful to recognize that there are still serious(?) people abroad in the world who loudly deny the veracity of the historical record concerning the Holocaust. As if to extend the unconscionable cruelty of the world yet longer for the millions of victims of this century's most heinous and tragic phenomenon, some actually continue to claim that either the Holocaust never happened, or that its dimensions and scope were much more limited and constrained that so-called Jewish revisionist historians would like the public to believe. This book puts the lie to all this nonsense, giving those who would deny the truth and accuracy of the history of the Holocaust an exceptionally thorough trip to the intellectual back shed to give them the whipping of their cranial careers. With this volume, historians Michael Shermier and Alex Grobman have presented a virtual tidal wave of substantiating evidence of the nature of the complex social movement that the Holocaust deniers comprise. The authors trudge through a depressing tour of every aspect of this social movement, and go deeper into every aspect of the deniers and their social network in an effort to both better understand what motivates them as well as how to finally and authoritatively refute their claims. In so doing, they not only illustrate how shallow, self-serving, disingenuous, and disreputable these claims and positions are, but also provide much more substantial proof of the existence of the Holocaust. In some ways this tour into the deep underbelly of continuing hate, bigotry, and ignorance is a descent into a Dante-like inferno, one the reader tends to recoil from because of its `in-your-face' portrayal of such rampant and continuing racial hate and conflict. In other ways it seems more like an impromptu visit to the comical land of the Keystone cops, or the gang who couldn't shoot straight. Anyone falling for this grab-bag crack-pot mixture of conspiracy theories, racial suspicions, and social paranoia isn't likely to be sitting next to anyone in a graduate course in history, anyway. Still, one must remember that Hitler graduated from the ranks of the likes of these cretins. This is a profoundly disturbing but altogether necessary book. To suggest that after fifty years serious people could still question the historical record regarding the savage and murderous events collectively referred to as the Holocaust is but one more painful indicator of how far the world must go to reach any kind of intellectual maturity or cosmopolitan compassion. One of the most interesting sidelights of the book is the fact that the authors have devised an ingenious framework that both contemporary and future historians and social scientists can employ to verify and virtually any historical event. I highly recommend it for anyone who has ever had someone say (as I have heard a number of times), "The Holocaust never happened."

Brilliant example of history and historiography

Denying History succeeds on two levels. First, it is a thorough demolition of the arguments of Holocaust deniers, presenting the overwhelming evidence for the systematic and deliberate murder of about 6,000,000 Jews by the Nazis during World War II. On this level, it is a very painful book at times, but clear and utterly convincing.Second, and perhaps more importantly, it is an exploration of historical method intended to show how not only Holocaust deniers, but fringe groups of all kinds, distort and pervert history to make their points. The book is a virtual guide to BS detection, displaying the techniques used by pseudo-historians and how the conclusions drawn by these techniques evaporate in the light of a careful, objective evaluation of the evidence.In a sense, it is too bad that the Holocaust, a very emotional topic (and this book can be quite angry at times), is the test case; less of a hot-button issue might have made for a calmer (and at times less disturbing) book. But the Holocaust deniers need to be denied, and Shermer and Grobman do a masterful job of it, without losing sight of the larger historiographical issues involved. Denying History is intense, readable, valuable, and for anybody who has ever been upset by bizarre historical claims, essential.
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