A brilliant, haunting, and profoundly original portrait of the defining tragedy of our time.
In this epic history of extermination and survival, Timothy Snyder presents a new explanation of the great atrocity of the twentieth century, and reveals the risks that we face in the twenty-first. Based on new sources from eastern Europe and forgotten testimonies from Jewish survivors, Black Earth recounts the mass murder of the Jews as an event that is still close to us, more comprehensible than we would like to think, and thus all the more terrifying.
The Holocaust began in a dark but accessible place, in Hitler's mind, with the thought that the elimination of Jews would restore balance to the planet and allow Germans to win the resources they desperately needed. Such a worldview could be realized only if Germany destroyed other states, so Hitler's aim was a colonial war in Europe itself. In the zones of statelessness, almost all Jews died. A few people, the righteous few, aided them, without support from institutions. Much of the new research in this book is devoted to understanding these extraordinary individuals. The almost insurmountable difficulties they faced only confirm the dangers of state destruction and ecological panic. These men and women should be emulated, but in similar circumstances few of us would do so.
By overlooking the lessons of the Holocaust, Snyder concludes, we have misunderstood modernity and endangered the future. The early twenty-first century is coming to resemble the early twentieth, as growing preoccupations with food and water accompany ideological challenges to global order. Our world is closer to Hitler's than we like to admit, and saving it requires us to see the Holocaust as it was -- and ourselves as we are. Groundbreaking, authoritative, and utterly absorbing, Black Earth reveals a Holocaust that is not only history but warning.
Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warningby Timothy Snyder
My eyes were opened even further to what happened during the Holocaust after reading this book. For one thing, I didn't realize how involved different areas of the world were. It wasn't just Jews in Germany that were being persecuted; it was much more than that. I was also unaware of how many deaths occurred even before the "death camps" were introduced. According to this book, many Jews did die in the camps, but so many more died outside of them, in their own homes, and in the streets.
When we think of the Holocaust, what comes to mind? For me, it is the death camps. Hitler. Sadness. Stick thin people. But what was it really? It was a tragedy, one that we should be careful not to forget, but what was the reason behind it? In this book, I learned a lot about who Hitler was, and why he thought Jews needed to be eradicated. I learned that he and his followers probably felt like America was a role model, and they wanted to be like us here, so they looked for ways to become more like us. But most of all, what happened was about power, greed, and the human desire to survive.
This book was very educational, but also a bit wordy. If I were to pick one chapter out of this book that I would say you must read, if you read nothing else, is the chapter titled "Auschwitz". If you think you can handle the rest of this book, all at one go like I did, or even in little bits and pieces, you won't be disappointed though. Just realize that it is not a chronicle of the most pleasant period of history.
Violence/Gore: Jews are mentioned to be shot at and murdered en masse; an execution of innocent poples is mentioned to occur several time; books are burned; death by starvation is mentioned to occur; corpses are mentioned to be seen several times; persecution of a race is depicted and recorded; seeing tortured bodies is mentioned; a man is mentioned to shoot and kill another man, no description is given; people are mentioned to have had "brains blown from their skulls"; robbing and killing are mentioned to occur; beatings mentioned; killing mentioned; humiliation mentioned; a brief description of a gory mass killing is given with some mention of how it was done, and the bodies; burning of religious places occurs; soldiers are mentioned to shoot at citizens, and take some women aside to be raped first, no description is given; a brief description is given of how a man was forced to shoot women, children, and babies and how the babies were killed; carbon monoxide is mentioned to be used as a form of murder.
Sex/Nudity: Women are mentioned to view sex as a duty; women are mentioned to be seductresses; a married man is mentioned to take a "young lover"; young women are given unwanted sexual attention by men, this is just a mention.
Mature Subject Matter:
Murder, war, persecution, racism, death, personal crises, moral issues, Holocaust.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Adults are mentioned to drink at a party.
Reviewed By Lydia