A Concise History of the Third Reich

Wolfgang Benz, Author, Thomas Dunlap, Translator . Univ. of California $35 (309p) ISBN 978-0-520-23489-5

Does anyone really need yet another book on Nazi Germany? After the masterworks of Richard Evans's multivolume history and Ian Kershaw's two-volume biography of Hitler, a certain ennui sets in. Benz is a leading German historian, the director of Berlin's Center for Research on Antisemitism. In this book, he sets out to accomplish what he did previously in The Holocaust : provide a concise, authoritative account, this time for the entire history of the Third Reich. At this he succeeds. Everything is here: the rise of the Nazi movement, the establishment of the dictatorship, culture, war, Holocaust and, finally, the collapse. Yet the treatment is flat, almost textbooklike. So many of the major interpretive issues that have engaged historians worldwide and the broader public in Germany are absent. For instance, Benz writes of the Hitler youth organization, but overlooks the question of how to incorporate into our interpretation of the Third Reich the experience of girls in the organization who often felt a sense of emancipation from the strictures of home and church. What were the connections between other forms of persecution and the Holocaust? How modern was the Third Reich? A concise interpretive work would have made for a much more satisfying book. B&w photos. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/06/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 309 pages - 978-0-520-25383-4
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 331 pages - 978-0-520-94134-2
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