Hitler, the Germans, and the Final Solution

Ian Kershaw

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June 16, 2009
400 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
ISBN: 9780300151275
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A deeply insightful social history of Hitler’s rise to power and the attitudes of the German people during the era of the Third Reich

This book is the culmination of more than three decades of meticulous historiographic research on Nazi Germany by one of the period’s most distinguished historians. The volume brings together the most important and influential aspects of Ian Kershaw’s research on the Holocaust for the first time. The writings are arranged in three sections—Hitler and the Final Solution, popular opinion and the Jews in Nazi Germany, and the Final Solution in historiography—and Kershaw provides an introduction and a closing section on the uniqueness of Nazism.

Kershaw was a founding historian of the social history of the Third Reich, and he has throughout his career conducted pioneering research on the societal causes and consequences of Nazi policy. His work has brought much to light concerning the ways in which the attitudes of the German populace shaped and did not shape Nazi policy. This volume presents a comprehensive, multifaceted picture both of the destructive dynamic of the Nazi leadership and of the attitudes and behavior of ordinary Germans as the persecution of the Jews spiraled into total genocide.

Ian Kershaw is a highly acclaimed historian and professor of modern history at the University of Sheffield. He is well known for his writings on Nazi Germany, especially his definitive two-volume biography of Adolf Hitler, Hitler, 1889–1936: Hubris and Hitler, 1936–1945: Nemesis. He lives in Manchester, GB.

"Hitler, the Germans, the Final Solution constitutes an invaluable tool to better understand the Third Reich. Both those who are historical novices in this period and those who are well immersed in it will benefit from Kershaw’s insights on Nazi Germany in general and on Hitler and the Final Solution in particular. While most of these essays have appeared at different times and in different journals, having them all together between the covers of one volume enhances their importance and reaffirms Kershaw's place as one of the stellar historians of the period."—Deborah E. Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies, Emory University

"Following on the success of his bestselling biography of Hitler, Sir Ian Kershaw has assembled here, in a very accessible format, a collection of seminal essays that perfectly complements his two-volume study of the Nazi dictatorship, not least because it offers a most welcome guide through the maze of research on the origins and dynamics of the Holocaust and Hitler's role in it."—V. R. Berghahn, Columbia University

"In this superb collection of essays, Ian Kershaw again demonstrates his mastery in interpreting the history of Nazi Germany and Hitler's policies regarding the Jews in particular. This is must reading."—Saul Friedlander, Professor of History, UCLA

“This valuable collection of Ian Kershaw’s seminal essays, spanning a quarter of a century of path-breaking scholarship on Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, will be required reading for students of the period. As Kershaw’s excellent Introduction indicates, these essays have both had a major impact on the historiography of their day, and indicate the evolution of historical interpretation, emphases, and understanding of what has come to be recognized as the most devastating event in modern history.”—Omer Bartov, author of Erased: Vanishing Traces of Jewish Galicia in Present-Day Ukraine

"Over the past three decades, Ian Kershaw has been one of the most insightful and productive historians of Nazi Germany, contributing pioneering studies on public opinion and popular attitudes in the Third Reich as well as his monumental biography of Hitler. It is simply splendid that his many seminal articles are now available in one volume.

"—

Christopher R. Browning, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

A comprehensive view of the destructive force of the Nazi leadership and of the attitudes and behavior of Germans in the persecution of the Jews. . . . This is a precise and sensitive account of an aspect of the Holocaust."—Booklist

"For anyone interested in gleaning Kershaw's best insights into Hitler and the Third Reich in a single volume, this work is highly recommended."—Library Journal

"Ian Kershaw, the author of a magisterial two-volume biography of Hitler, has spent the last quarter-century trying to explain Nazism's origins and appeals. By bringing together 14 essays written . . . between 1983 and 2006, Hitler, The Germans, and the Final Solution provides a splendid summary of his accomplishments. In a characteristically candid and thoughtful introduction, Kershaw reflects on how his views have changed in response to new scholarly challenges and opportunities."—James J. Sheehan, Washington Post Book World

"[Kershaw] once again demonstrates how much can be revealed by a fresh perspective and approach to the ineradicable stain of Nazi Germany. . . . What emerges from these fascinating pages, which stand as a complementary volume to Kershaw's Hitler biography, is an infinitely more complex picture. . . . Masterly."—Desmond Ryan, Philadelphia Inquirer

“[Kershaw is] Hitler’s best biographer . . . a meticulous scholar whose respect for evidence illuminates every page of his book. . . . Full of interesting and important reflections.”—Max Hastings, New York Review of Books

Selected as one of the best books of 2008 by the Washington Post in the History category 

"[A] definitive study. A solid introduction to several of the key debates and state of the field by one of its outstanding contributors. Essential."—Choice

"[A] wonderful volume. . . . This is a deeply insightful and well-written social history of the Nazi period, an excellent review of the scholarship of one of the greatest living historians of that era."—Jewish Book World

"[Kershaw] gibt vor allem denjenigen, die sich mit dem Thema "Hitler, die Deutschen und der Holocaust" erstmals beschäftigen wollen, eine solide Einführung und durch die Vielzahl von bibliographischen und Quellenangaben auch wertvolle Hinweise zu vertiefendem Studium."—Joachim Neander, German Studies Review

"Professor Kershaw's Hitler, the Germans, and the Final Solution is a fascinating record of the evolution of historical opinion as to how the fevered ideologies of an obscure corporal came to be translated into a murderous and effective campaign, waged by an advanced European state against a hapless and inoffensive people." —Ralph Ameian, Jerusalem Report

"This satisfying collection will help those in Holocaust Studies retrace the trajectory of the last few decades of debate. . . . Kershaw has always been extraordinarily adept at distilling this historiography while making his own important contributions. . . . Kershaw's ability to appeal to both specialists and non-specialists is a sign of the originality of his research, his analytical clarity, and the deftness of his prose, making his work foundational in the study of the history of National Socialist Germany. . . . His mastery of the literature and his range of archival sources are matched by few in the field. The strength of this work and the prospect for future production are well on display in this important new collection." —Paul B. Jaskot, Journal of Interdisciplinary History