PIUS XII AND THE HOLOCAUST: Understanding the Controversy

Jose M. Sanchez, Author . Catholic Univ. of America Press $39.95 (190p) ISBN 978-0-8132-1080-3 ISBN 0-8132-1081-X

After the hype associated with John Cornwell's 1999 work Hitler's Pope, this careful, scholarly study of Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust is a refreshing contribution to a debate that continues more than a half century after the end of World War II. Sanchez, a professor of history at St. Louis University, thoughtfully examines the various arguments on both sides of a controversy that will likely never be resolved. In doing so, he presents a dispassionate, thoroughly documented tome that exhibits a high degree of fairness. Sanchez began his research in 1998 to provide a fresh, balanced look at a topic on which most authors have found it necessary to weigh in heavily on one side or the other. He assesses claims ranging from allegations that the late pope was an anti-Semite to the defense that the pontiff did not speak out more forcefully against the Nazi persecution of the Jews because he feared he would make things worse for the victims. Sanchez's conclusions offer nods to both the critics and defenders of Pius XII, but because his summary statement is more gray than black or white, readers looking for the sort of spice dished up by Hitler's Pope will doubtless be left disappointed. Sanchez's treatment is ideal for students of history and anyone truly interested in an objective analysis of a controversial figure. (Jan. 31)

Reviewed on: 12/17/2001
Release date: 01/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
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