The author examines how the Holocaust has impacted on other ethnic and social groups, asking whether the Holocaust as a symbol is a useful or destructive means of reading non-Jewish history. This volume:
explains the rise of the Holocaust as a gradual process, charting how its importance as a symbol has evolved, providing a theoretical framework to understand how and why non-Jewish groups choose to invoke ‘holocausts’ to apply to other events
explores the Holocaust in relation to colonialism and indigenous genocide, with case studies on America, Australia and New Zealand
analyzes the Holocaust in relation to war and genocide, with case studies on the Armenian genocide, the Rape of Nanking, Serbia and the Rwandan genocide
examines how the Holocaust has been used to promote animal rights.
Demonstrating both the opportunities and pitfalls the Holocaust provides to non-Jewish groups who seek to represent their collective histories, this book fills a much needed gap on the use of the Holocaust in contemporary identity politics and will be of interest to students and researchers of politics, the Holocaust and genocide.
The book does not simply lay down precepts. It presents examples drawn from the author's more than forty years' experience as a working historian. One important chapter, dealing with America's road to war in 1941, shows in unprecedented detail how an interpretation of a major historical issue can be developed. The aim throughout is to throw open the doors of the workshop so that young scholars, both historians and political scientists, can see the sort of thought processes the historian goes through before he or she puts anything on paper. Filled with valuable examples, this is a book anyone serious about conducting historical research will want to have on the bookshelf.