In Masters of Death, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Rhodes gives full weight, for the first time, to the Einsatzgruppen’s role in the Holocaust. These “special task forces,” organized by Heinrich Himmler to follow the German army as it advanced into eastern Poland and Russia, were the agents of the first phase of the Final Solution. They murdered more than 1.5 million men, women, and children between 1941 and 1943, often by shooting them into killing pits, as at Babi Yar.
These massive crimes have been generally overlooked or underestimated by Holocaust historians, who have focused on the gas chambers. In this painstaking account, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes profiles the eastern campaign’s architects as well as its “ordinary” soldiers and policemen, and helps us understand how such men were conditioned to carry out mass murder. Marshaling a vast array of documents and the testimony of perpetrators and survivors, this book is an essential contribution to our understanding of the Holocaust and World War II.
About the author
Richard Rhodes is the author or editor of twentytwo books, most recently the author of The Twilight of the Bomb, the last volume in a quartet about nuclear history. The first, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, won the Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, and a National Book Critics Circle Award. He has received numerous fellowships for research and writing, including grants from the Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He has been a visiting scholar at Harvard and MIT and a host and correspondent for documentaries on public television's Frontline and American Experience series. An affiliate of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, he lectures frequently to audiences in the United States and abroad.
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