The Oxford Handbook of Holocaust Studies

OUP Oxford
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Few scholarly fields have developed in recent decades as rapidly and vigorously as Holocaust Studies. At the start of the twenty-first century, the persecution and murder perpetrated by the Nazi regime have become the subjects of an enormous literature in multiple academic disciplines and a touchstone of public and intellectual discourse in such diverse fields as politics, ethics and religion. Forward-looking and multi-disciplinary, this handbook draws on the work of an international team of forty-seven outstanding scholars. The handbook is thematically divided into five broad sections. Part One, Enablers, concentrates on the broad and necessary contextual conditions for the Holocaust. Part Two, Protagonists, concentrates on the principal persons and groups involved in the Holocaust and attempts to disaggregate the conventional interpretive categories of perpetrator, victim, and bystander. It examines the agency of the Nazi leaders and killers and of those involved in resisting and surviving the assault. Part Three, Settings, concentrates on the particular places, sites, and physical circumstances where the actions of the Holocaust's protagonists and the forms of persecution were literally grounded. Part Four, Representations, engages complex questions about how the Holocaust can and should be grasped and what meaning or lack of meaning might be attributed to events through historical analysis, interpretation of texts, artistic creation and criticism, and philosophical and religious reflection. Part Five, Aftereffects, explores the Holocaust's impact on politics and ethics, education and religion, national identities and international relations, the prospects for genocide prevention, and the defense of human rights.
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About the author

Peter Hayes is Theodore Z. Weiss Professor of Holocaust Studies, Northwestern University. John K. Roth is Edward J. Sexton Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Claremont McKenna College.
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Additional Information

Publisher
OUP Oxford
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Published on
Nov 22, 2012
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Pages
792
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ISBN
9780191650796
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Holocaust
History / Military / World War II
History / Modern / 20th Century
Religion / Judaism / General
Religion / Philosophy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A bold new exploration that answers the most commonly asked questions about the Holocaust.

Despite the outpouring of books, movies, museums, memorials, and courses devoted to the Holocaust, a coherent explanation of why such ghastly carnage erupted from the heart of civilized Europe in the twentieth century still seems elusive even seventy years later. Numerous theories have sprouted in an attempt to console ourselves and to point the blame in emotionally satisfying directions—yet none of them are fully convincing. As witnesses to the Holocaust near the ends of their lives, it becomes that much more important to unravel what happened and to educate a new generation about the horrors inflicted by the Nazi regime on Jews and non-Jews alike.

Why? dispels many misconceptions and answers some of the most basic—yet vexing—questions that remain: why the Jews and not another ethnic group? Why the Germans? Why such a swift and sweeping extermination? Why didn’t more Jews fight back more often? Why didn’t they receive more help? While responding to the questions he has been most frequently asked by students over the decades, world-renowned Holocaust historian and professor Peter Hayes brings a wealth of scholarly research and experience to bear on conventional, popular views of the history, challenging some of the most prominent recent interpretations. He argues that there is no single theory that “explains” the Holocaust; the convergence of multiple forces at a particular moment in time led to catastrophe.

In clear prose informed by an encyclopedic knowledge of Holocaust literature in English and German, Hayes weaves together stories and statistics to heart-stopping effect. Why? is an authoritative, groundbreaking exploration of the origins of one of the most tragic events in human history.

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