Peter Novick is professor of history at the University of Chicago. He is the author of The Resistance Versus Vichy and That Noble Dream: The Objectivity Question and the American Historical Profession, which won the American Historical Association's prize for the best book of the year in American history.
Throughout, the author seeks to go beyond the debates inspired by Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi's influential Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory, often regarded as the seminal work in the field of Jewish communal memory, by focusing not on whether Jews in a pre-modern community had a historical consciousness, but rather on the ways in which they perceived and preserved their history. In doing this, Greenblatt opens a window onto the roles that local traditions, aesthetic sensibilities, gender, social hierarchies, and political and financial pressures played in the construction of local memories.
The Visual History Archive's holdings are extensive—over 100,000 hours of video, including interviews with over 50,000 individuals—and came about at a time of heightened anxiety about the imminent passing of the generation of Holocaust survivors and other eyewitnesses. Now, the Shoah Foundation's investment in new digital media is instrumental to its commitment to remembering the Holocaust both as a subject of historical importance in its own right and as a paradigmatic moral exhortation against intolerance. Shandler not only considers the Archive as a whole, but also looks closely at individual survivors' stories, focusing on narrative, language, and spectacle to understand how Holocaust remembrance is mediated.
In Lessons of the Holocaust, the distinguished historian Michael R. Marrus challenges the notion that there are definitive lessons to be deduced from the destruction of European Jewry. Instead, drawing on decades of studying, writing about, and teaching the Holocaust, he shows how its “lessons” are constantly challenged, debated, altered, and reinterpreted.
A succinct, stimulating analysis by a world-renowned historian, Lessons of the Holocaust is the perfect guide for the general reader to the historical and moral controversies which infuse the interpretation of the Holocaust and its significance.