A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps

Book - 2015
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Winner of the 2016 Mark Lynton History Prize
Winner of the 2015 Wolfson History Prize
A Wall Street Journal Best Book of 2015
A Kirkus Reviews Best History Book of 2015
Finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in the Holocaust category

The first comprehensive history of the Nazi concentration camps

In a landmark work of history, Nikolaus Wachsmann offers an unprecedented, integrated account of the Nazi concentration camps from their inception in 1933 through their demise, seventy years ago, in the spring of 1945. The Third Reich has been studied in more depth than virtually any other period in history, and yet until now there has been no history of the camp system that tells the full story of its broad development and the everyday experiences of its inhabitants, both perpetrators and victims, and all those living in what Primo Levi called "the gray zone."

In KL , Wachsmann fills this glaring gap in our understanding. He not only synthesizes a new generation of scholarly work, much of it untranslated and unknown outside of Germany, but also presents startling revelations, based on many years of archival research, about the functioning and scope of the camp system. Examining, close up, life and death inside the camps, and adopting a wider lens to show how the camp system was shaped by changing political, legal, social, economic, and military forces,Wachsmann produces a unified picture of the Nazi regime and its camps that we have never seen before.

A boldly ambitious work of deep importance, KL is destined to be a classic in the history of the twentieth century.

Publisher: New York :, Farrar, Straus and Giroux,, 2015
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780374118259
Branch Call Number: 940.5315 W113k
Characteristics: xi, 865 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm


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Dec 11, 2016

Well written history that gives a very detailed complex picture of a very complex time. Gives both first person comments and careful interpretation of them. Helps to show the situations in which people found themselves and how different people react differently. Weaves together information that has been available for a long time--Anne Frank, Odd Nansen, Primo Levi, court records, and adds new information available from local records. Contains photos that provide a moving counterpoint to the text, and detailed charts and maps. Highly recommended--worth the length.

Nov 29, 2015

This is the best book I've ever read on the camp specifics of the Nazi era. It is extremely well written, and yet scholarly, with a massive number of footnotes. It ranges from objective numbers of inmates, deaths, camp locations to often heartrending tales of individual inmates and horrifying descriptions of the SS criminals who enabled this despicable human tragedy. Be prepared for a long read: it's worth it.

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