Goldhagen's Willing Executioners

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April 8 1998 3:30 AM

Goldhagen's Willing Executioners

The attack on a scholarly superstar, and how he fights back.

(Continued from Page 2)

--Eric Hobsbawm, author of The Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914-1991

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"In this important volume Finkelstein and Birn demonstrate that Daniel Goldhagen's study of the Judeocide is monocausal, teleological, and severely blinkered. Finkelstein carefully sets forth Goldhagen's distortion and disregard of the secondary literature; Birn masterfully lays bare his gravely flawed use and interpretation of archival sources. Both authors also raise hard questions about the political reasons for the inordinate promotion and reception of Goldhagen's book. No serious student of history can afford to ignore these well-reasoned and withering reflections on the perils of pseudo-scholarship."

--Arno Mayer, author of Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?: The Final Solution in History

"Finkelstein and Birn provide a devastating critique of Daniel Goldhagen's simplistic and misleading interpretation of the Holocaust. Their contribution to the debate is, in my view, indispensable."

--Ian Kershaw, author of Hitler

"Among the dozens of reviewers of Hitler's Willing Executioners, Ruth Bettina Birn and Norman Finkelstein stand out for the seriousness and thoroughness with which they have undertaken their task. Even if I do not embrace every aspect of Finkelstein's conclusions concerning the politicization of Holocaust historiography, I am grateful for these writers' courageous, conscientious, and labor-intensive efforts."

--Christopher Browning, author of Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland

"Is Daniel Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners the definitive work on Hitler's Judeocide? The authors of this volume express serious doubt, which I share. To reduce a phenomenon of this scale and complexity to the anti-Semitism which permeated German society as it also permeated other societies is to be simplistic and to show contempt for the reader. This book rights the balance."

--Pierre Vidal-Naquet, author of The Jews: History, Memory, and the Present

"Highly recommended to the many readers of Goldhagen's controversial book, especially those who were mesmerized by its hypotheses. Fortunately, in an open society all scholarship is subject to public scrutiny, and the advance of historical knowledge cannot do without rigorous criticism of the kind provided in this important and courageous collection."

--Volker R. Berghahn, J.P. Birkelund distinguished professor of European history, Brown University