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Barron Laycock "Labradorman" (Temple, New Hampshire United States)
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The Coming Anarchy: Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War
The Coming Anarchy: Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War
von Robert D. Kaplan
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3.0 von 5 Sternen The World According To Robert D. Kaplan!, 31. Juli 2000
This is a book full of fascinating and absorbing essays portraying Robert Kaplan's insightful vision of a world suddenly full of frightening, endlessly fragmented, unstable and chaotic nations launching into violence and internal genocide at the drop of the proverbial hat. So what has changed, Bobby, other than the fact that the balance of terror provided by a catastrophically expensive, wasteful, and useless Cold War that Kaplan aches nostalgically for since it provided some means of international stability? While everything Mr. Kaplan argues for is ostensibly true in the narrow sense, I have a problem with the fact that for all its flashes of insight and brilliance, his perspective is sadly lacking in any genuine insights in terms of a rational and progressive policy for righting what he rightly views is ailing the collective world at large. Moreover, I suspect from these essays that like many neo-conservatives desperately searching for reasons and rationalizations to reignite the home fires now languishing so petulantly beneath the American arms industry, he neglects to mention how flagrantly the transnational corporations he often lectures to negatively influence the regional conflagrations he so conspicuously deplores. In short, I fear the author doth protest too much; for all his urgent protestations, he seems more like a wolf dressed in wool baying like a sheep than an ardently sincere proponent of peace in our time.
Certainly ours is a much more dangerous and fractious world than it was before the breakup of the former Soviet Union. But it is a serious mistake to conclude that this is solely due to the lack of a continuing balance of terror that kept each opposing orbit of influence circling within tolerable political tolerances. Instead, the circumstances represented by the momentous change the author refers to must be viewed in a better defined, developed, and articulated context, one recognizing that while we enjoy a enviable lifestyle while producing what most of the rest of the world wants and cannot find the means to afford, we also act to undermine their positions, as well. For example, both the nation itself and the transnational corporations it serves also conspicuously withhold (for reasons of profit and advantage) humanitarian aid and support of the rest of the world's basic needs for such elementary supplies and services as pharmaceutical assistance for the third world tuberculosis epidemic, or control of HIV infections in Africa, or a more rational crop management system that doesn't ruthlessly exploit third world countries by condemning their leaders to grow cash crops for export to meet their World Bank payment obligations instead of allowing them to feed their burgeoning populations. This is a hardly an enlightened, disinterested, or progressive way to aid and assist the emerging third world countries.
In short, far from being innocent observers of dangerous trends going on "out there' in Kaplan's sterile and superficially defined world of nation states, we need to integrate what we know about the way the world really works, not just in the notional and abstract political world discussed in foreign policy statements for public consumption. Rather, we need one that recognizes the fact that nations often conduct foreign policy in service to their corporate sponsors' perceived interests, that the flag often follows commerce, that the profound social, economic, and political influence wielded with great purpose by the cynical, indifferent, and anonymous corporations who are in fact almost exclusively oriented and motivated by profit considerations affect what is going on in the world. I agree with much of what Mr. Kaplan has to say in terms of individual statements about the dangerous, unpredictable, and provocative times we are moving into. But I hardly believe it serves public discussion to voice these concerns so articulately only to then retreat to a silly and superficial set of notions about what the larger social, economic and political realities are or what an enlightened foreign policy would be to guard against these dangers. It is a sweet but insubstantial confection, one that patently disregards the profound issues of corporate globalization and how it views its role in the unfolding drama the author addresses so interestingly.


Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D Day: June 6, 1944
Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D Day: June 6, 1944
von Cornelius Ryan
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 16,13

5.0 von 5 Sternen The Single Best Book On D-Day Yet Written!, 30. Juli 2000
Famed author Cornelius Ryan has a unique and appealing way of telling a story that makes his books quite unique, and this huge best seller is no exception. Here he sets the stage for his brilliant trilogy on the war in Europe by chronicling the events surrounding the fabled Allied sea-borne assault in Normandy on June 6, 1944. Its total cost in terms of human life and unnecessary destruction is a cautionary lesson for history. Like his other books, this is a story told at every level, but concentrating on the faithful recollections of the actual participants in the action. Thus, the reader is wept into the action as we get a voyeur's view of the moment-to-moment development of the story as it unfolds in all its horrific detail.
There is a virtual cornucopia of information presented here, and Ryan's approach is scrupulously faithful to the facts, all of them, regardless of the source. Therefore, there is a great deal of attention paid not only to the recollections and experiences of the Allied assault troops, but to German defenders and French civilians caught in the terrible crossfire of the opposing forces. This was the book that originated the man-on-the-ground perspective that has been subsequently used to such advantage both by Ryan and number of notable others. There is little apparent effort here to color the results and make the Allies more circumspect and less provocative in making and activating their star-crossed assault. One gets the sense on reading this, as with each of Ryan's three books on the European campaign, that this is the whole story as best he could determine it, and he makes an extraordinary effort to include as much relevant information by way of using both recollection and contextual data to bolster a comprehensive picture of the battles as they unfolded all over Normandy and its environs.
The late author Ryan was one of a handful of masterful storytellers and historians who emerged from the Second World War to chronicle its events so masterfully. Like John Toland, William Shirer, and a number of notable others, Ryan illuminated and familiarized a generation of readers with the human stories of war and destruction, and brought these otherwise unbelievable and incomprehensible experiences home to a waiting world of ordinary and otherwise bewildered citizens. This is one of the best of the efforts, shining the light of truth on one of the greatest moments in modern history, when the Allies stood fatefully in the breach, about to take the European continent back by force of arms from the terrible totalitarian forces that had stolen it so cruelly and violently four years before.


The Sociological Imagination
The Sociological Imagination
von C. Wright Mills
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 15,00

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Masterful and Imaginative Look at The Value Of Sociology!, 30. Juli 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Sociological Imagination (Taschenbuch)
No one has written with more verve and authority about the awesome and frightening capabilities of man than the late C. Wright Mills, a prominent and controversial sociologist who wrote such memorable tomes as "White Collar", an exploration of the emerging American Middle class in the early 1950s, and The Power Elite", a provocative examination of the nature of power, privilege, and status in the United States, and how each of these three critical elements of power and property in this country are irrevocably connected to each other. At last look, both books were still in print and are still used in both undergraduate and graduate sociology courses throughout the world. After fifty years, that in and of itself is powerful testimony to his enduring value as a scholar and an original thinker.
Here Mills focuses memorably on the qualities and uses of the sociological perspective in modern life, how such a scientifically based way of looking at, interpreting, and interacting with the larger world invests its user with a better, more accurate, and quite instrumental picture of what is happening meaningfully around him. For Mills, the key to understanding the value in such a perspective is in appreciating that one can only understand the motives, behavior, and actions of others by locating them within a wider and more meaningful context that connects their personal biographies with the large social circumstances that surround, direct, and propel them at any given historical moment. For Mills, for example, trying to understand the reasoning behind the sometimes desperate actions of Jews in Nazi Germany without appreciating the horrifyingly unique existential circumstances they found themselves in is hopelessly anachronistic and limited.
On the other hand, one invested with such an appreciation for how biography and history interact to create the meaningful social circumstances of any situation finds himself better able to understand the fact that when in a country of one hundred million employed, one man's singular lack of employment might be due to his persoanl deficiencies or lack of a work ethic, and be laid at his feet as a personal trouble, it is also true that when twenty million individuals out of that one hundred million figure suddenly find themselves so disposed and unemployed, that situation is due to something beyond the control of those many individuals and is best described in socioeconomic terms as a social problem to be laid at the feet of the government and industry to resolve. To Mills, it is critical to understand the inherant differences between personal troubles on the one hand, which an individual has the responsibity to resolve and overcome, and social ills, which are beyond both his ken or control. Indeed, according to Mills, increasingly in the 20th century one finds himself trapped by social circumstance into dilemmas he is absolutely unable to resolve without significant help from the wider social community.
Thus, for both psychological as well as social reasons, a person using the sociological perspective, or invested with what he called the "sociological imagination", is more able to think and act critically in accordance with the evidence both outside his door and beyond himself. Fifty years later, such a recognition of "what's what" and "who's who" based on the ability to judge the information within the social environment is as valuable as ever. This is a wonderful book, written in a very accessible and entertaining style, meant both for an intellectual audience and for the scholastic community as well. While it may not be for "everyman", any person wanting to better understand and more fully appreciate how individual biography and social history meaningfully interact to create the realities we live in will enjoy and appreciate this legendary sociological critique and invitation to the pleasures of a sociological perspective by one of its most remarkable proponents some half century ago.


Barbarossa
Barbarossa
von Alan Clark
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 17,99

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4.0 von 5 Sternen Classic Overview Of 2nd World War Along The Eastern Front!, 30. Juli 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Barbarossa (Taschenbuch)
This very well written history of the German assault into the Soviet Union and the ensuing war along the Eastern front represents a kind of landmark in being one of the earliest of the many histories of that conflict to emphasize the enormous contribution of the Russians to the Allied effort. It was considered controversial in its time because of its emphasis on Soviet strengths and attributes as central to the eventual result. Most other historians had argued that blame for losing the war belonged to Hitler, the Wehrmacht and the well-debated arguments and disagreements among the German General Staff regarding the specifics of the waging the total war Hitler had envisioned must be fought to annihilate the Russian army.
All the basics are here; the tragic misinterpretation of Soviet strength, especially as it applies to Soviet reserve and manpower resources, which were 300 percent higher than believed, the belief that by simply crushing the troops massed between the border and the Leningrad-Moscow-Crimea salient they would crush the communist government and send the country into anarchy, chaos, and ruin, and their own uniform arrogance in believing they could master and quickly dominate this gargantuan nation of several hundred million in a single season. Hitler and the German General Staff were shocked and amazed again and again by the tenacity, resourcefulness, and staying power of an army they had presumed to have already beaten in the opening weeks of the campaign. The author masterfully explains how the Russians, after losing two million men in a single two-month period could rally itself, reorganized, re-outfit, and send another two million into combat so quickly. This is truly one of the most maligned, misunderstood and mysterious aspects of the war in Europe.
Alan Clark has succeeded in this book, which was first published in 1965, in providing an entertaining, edifying, and accurate overview of what the Russians referred to as the "Great Patriotic War". He centers in on four aspects of the more than four year long struggle; first, on the futile and badly coordinated attack on Moscow in the early winter of 1941-42; second, the siege at Stalingrad, a Wehrmacht blunder of catastrophic proportions; third, the Kursk offensive in 1943, which was the largest and most dramatic tank battle in history; and finally, the great Soviet offensive beginning in 1944 that drove the Wehrmacht to its knees, sending it crawling back inch buy inch and yard by yard all the way to the ashes and ruins of a ravaged Berlin. My recommendation is to combine this excellent book with "When Titans Clashed", a more recent tome, which provides an amazing nuts and bolts perspective that is even more strictly written from the Soviet perspective. With the two books combined, you will have a much better understanding of the war along the Eastern front and better appreciated ho the Russians did so much to help win the European theater of the Second World War. Enjoy!


Bridge Too Far: The Classic History of the Greatest Airborne Battle of World War II
Bridge Too Far: The Classic History of the Greatest Airborne Battle of World War II
von Cornelius Ryan
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 18,99

5.0 von 5 Sternen Superb First Person Approach to Operation Market Garden, 30. Juli 2000
Famed author Cornelius Ryan has a unique and appealing way of telling a story that makes his books quite unique, and this huge best seller is no exception. He lets the disastrous story of the wrong-headed Allied decision to risk an immense day-light paratrooper drop with "thunderclap surprise" (catching the Germans with their proverbial pants down) for the first time in the European campaign unfold as an ill-conceived effort to capture a series of bridges critical to a fast and successful prosecution of the Allied thrust into the heart of Germany.
This tale retelling the Allied miscalculation of potential German resistance and the speed with which they could proceed up the one road needed to support the airdropped forces is a riveting tale. Its total cost in terms of human life and unnecessary destruction is a cautionary lesson for history. Like his other books, this is a story told at every level, but concentrating on the faithful recollections of the actual participants in the action. Thus, the reader is wept into the action as we get a voyeur's view of the moment-to-moment development of the story as it unfolds in all its horrific detail.
There is a cornucopia of information presented here, and Ryan's approach is scrupulously faithful to the facts, all of them, regardless of the source. Therefore, there is a great deal of attention paid to the recollections and experiences of the German armed forces and noncombatants as well as the Allied invaders. Unlike some other efforts on this subject, there is no apparent effort here to color the results and make the Allies more circumspect and less provocative in making and activating their ill-conceived plans. One gets the sense on reading this book that this is the whole story as best Ryan could determine it, and he makes an extraordinary effort to include as much relevant information by way of using both recollection and contextual data to bolster a comprehensive picture of the battles as they unfolded in the air, and then more fatefully on the ground.
Ryan was one of a handful of masterful storytellers and historians who emerged from the Second World War. Like John Toland, William Shirer, and a number of notable others, Ryan illuminated the human stories of war and destruction, and brought these otherwise unbelievable and incomprehensible experiences home to an entire generation of otherwise bewildered citizens. This is one of the best of the efforts, shining the light of truth on a still controversial and provocative Allied action that could have expedited the end of the war, but instead resulted in large scale death and destruction.


Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945-1974 (Oxford History of the United States (Paperback))
Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945-1974 (Oxford History of the United States (Paperback))
von James T. Patterson
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 23,65

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4.0 von 5 Sternen A Wonderful Addition To The Oxford American History Series, 30. Juli 2000
The fascinating difference in Brown history professor James T. Patterson's approach to the twenty years after the end of World War Two is in his daring to approach the subject thematically rather than chronologically, which gives both cause for celebration as well as some moments of frustration. While this excellent, literate, and quite readable book is intended for a general audience as an integral part of the so far impeccable Oxford History of the United States series of monographs, including such notable others as the outstanding recent "Freedom From Fear" by Stanford professor David Kennedy (see my review of it), it is not, in my view, a book for the uninitiated or novice history buff.
This much said in way of qualification, I found it to be a wonderful and scholarly book, organized quite usefully and thematically along several critical historical issues unfolding during this time. First, it covers the rise of civil rights consciousness and the subsequent struggle for equality by American minorities; second, it describes in detail the historical phenomenon of the cold war and its concomitant policies and its consequences for Americans in graphic social, economic and political terms; and finally, it explains how the changing demographic composition of the country in both geographic and economic terms changed the nature of economic and political life in America.
All of this is seen through the prism of a change of unequalled economic prosperity and growing disparities between the affluent and those the economic engine driving the country left behind. At the end of WWII, many in this country foresaw a time of burgeoning opportunities and unequalled economic, social, and political growth and movement toward the great American society. Moving from a society that was largely still rural, un-electrified, and agrarian, the post-war boom of the late forties and fifties saw a virtual cultural transformation in the country into one largely urban and suburban, affluent, and industrially employed. Indeed, the fifties represent a watershed period in American history, a time of unequalled wealth and new prosperity for a majority of its citizens.
Yet the America of this period also had more discouraging and less wholesome aspects to it, and these are described and explained in a thoughtful, erudite, and comprehensive narrative that helps one to better understand how this period in American history made us what we are today. Trudging purposefully through a colorful panorama that makes the incredible journey all the way from Harry Truman to Richard Nixon, this culturally astute, insightful & memorable book covers the waterfront of a tumultuous, fractious, & endlessly exciting period of American history. It is truly a book belonging on every purported 20th century history buff's bookshelf. Enjoy!


Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community
Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community
von Robert D. Putnam
  Gebundene Ausgabe

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Terrific & Penetrating View At American Loss Of Community!, 30. Juli 2000
It amazes me how often an academic with an important piece of the truth about the nature of contemporary social reality becomes embroiled in an avalanche of escalating public expectations & hyperbole until suddenly he is expected to become a hopped-up social prophet singularly able to explain, detail and unravel the heretofore-mysterious elements of our existential dilemma. Such is the case here with Professor Putnam's provocative findings regarding social disintegration in the America of the '90s.
This is an absorbing book, the result of Putnam's efforts to expand a short article Putnam had written regarding the observable facts of increasing social isolation and personal disconnection within our culture. Here he employs new data substantiating and extending the details of his original thesis, indicating that on almost every measure investigated, individual Americans are less likely to regularly socialize with their peers, becoming more isolated, more fractious, and less friendly to others than they have been in the recent past. The book is written in an engaging way, and entertains and seduces the reader with amusing (as well as frightening) facts and figures regarding the degree of animosity and alienation individual citizens feel.
Of course, it is easy to become so enthralled with reading through the entertaining list of particulars he enumerates than to pay heed to the burgeoning shapes and images lurking beneath the data; i.e., concerned readers should engage themselves in locating all this information usefully within a meaningful social context. Increasing social isolation and the progressive breakdown in what sociologists call social cohesion are not new phenomena, but have been steadily eroding the social fabric and our feelings of connectedness to one another for over a century. In fact, at the turn of the 20th century both Emile Durkheim and Max Weber were warning of the social dangers associated with the rise of a rational, secular and materialistic social milieu. Reading other recent books such as Sales Kirkpatrick's "Rebels Against The Future" or Philip Slater's classic 1970 book "Pursuit of Loneliness" give one a much better grounding in how the degree of social isolation and civil alienation are related to what is happening in the larger social surround individuals find themselves in.
In essence, the kinds of isolation detailed so well in this tome are the result of the long-term corrosive effects of materialism, with concentration on capital acquisition and gaining more wealth and more affluent lifestyles. Indeed, if one reads the recent book "The Overworked American" by Juliet Schor, one gets the distinct impression that many Americans are so focused on "getting ahead' that anything interfering with this obsessive reach for greater material security gets short shrift in contemporary society. There should be no confusion about the nature of the problem that confronts us; we have no community because we have no culture left. The revolution of scientific change and technical innovation has systematically swept away the web of meanings we once had to integrate and make sense of all this. All we really have today is a mutual acquisition society, based primarily on our mutual lust for material goods and minimally constrained by the skeletal rules and regulations civil society sets for the nature of the material quest. This is a terrific book. Read it.


Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-45 (Oxford History of the United States (Hardcover))
Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-45 (Oxford History of the United States (Hardcover))
von David M. Kennedy
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 52,60

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5.0 von 5 Sternen A Magisterial & Authoratative Look At The Crisis Years!, 30. Juli 2000
With this wonderful book, David Kennedy has produced a definitive treatment of the crisis of the century, a book of epic proportions; one detailing, describing and explaining the many ways in which the insoluble social, economic, and political maelstrom that enveloped this country is related to the history of what came thereafter. As in other recent tomes such as Doris Kearns Goodwin's "No Ordinary Times" and Tom Brokow's The Greatest Generation", the present volume is quite explicit in meaningfully linking how the harrowing kinds of experiences, trials, and tribulations of the American people helped to forge the kind of character, determination, and resolve that was later so instrumental in meeting the challenges associated with the Second World War.
Yet unlike Brokow's effort and that of other historians like Stephen Ambrose, Kennedy avoids wide use of primary interviewing, and the difference this leads to in the tone and perspective of the book is telling. Like Goodwin's effort, this is a superb book, wonderfully written, eminently accessible (an important quality given its length of nearly 900 pages), with a sometimes soaring prose style that is so distinctive and so refreshing that reading it is a joy. This is history come to life, full of the color and hues of the original events, presented in a manner that is at once both academically sophisticated and yet available and readable by the general audience. Kennedy makes the reader feel as though he is present in the moment, experiencing the events as they transpire rather than eavesdropping some seventy or so years after the fact. Hearing about the ways in which feckless Herbert Hoover, for example, was in many ways the helpless victim of circumstances is quite interesting.
So is his take on so many other personalities and issues of the time, from the particulars of the New Deal and how they were conceived all the way to the insidious domestic treatment and 'internment' of Japanese Americans after the outbreak of WWII. Of course, Kennedy's book is rife with interesting and often provocative interpretations of the events, and this willingness to weigh in intelligently and convincingly adds to the overall entertainment and intellectual value of the book. While I didn't necessarily agree with all of these interpretations or his conclusions, it is always a pleasure to be in the presence of such an active, nimble and creative intellect. This is a book that anyone with an interest in the literally endless ways we were formed in the crucible of events of the past as well as by the people who came before us will want to experience this absolutely top-shelf new work by David Kennedy. Enjoy!


Cold New World: Growing Up in a Harder Country
Cold New World: Growing Up in a Harder Country
von William Finnegan
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 24,68

5.0 von 5 Sternen A Startling, Hard-Edged Look At The "Other America", 30. Juli 2000
In the midst of all the self-congratulatory celebrations marking the closing of the millennium, few affluent Americans seem aware or concerned of the innate contradictions and dysfunctions associated with the circumstances of their own affluence, or of the associated disparities, disjunctions, and despair of millions of younger Americans who are not fortunate enough, affluent enough, or politically-enfranchised enough to gain a technical or college education, and are nowhere to be found in the minions of highly paid and technicolored attired young nerds and nerdettes now running amok in the suburban malls and internet sites of mainstream America. This superbly written book by noted journalist William Finnegan details the dark side of the American Dream as we proceed into the new century.
Finnegan does not deny that a conspicuous minority of our younger citizens are finding themselves fabulously fortunate, preoccupied with drowning themselves in the material excesses too many of us wallow in, but it is to the other, less-chronicled segment of the twenty-something generation that he brings his considerable talents and insights, and he weaves a fascinating, fulsome, and frightening narrative around a series of personal anecdotes and experiences of teenageers and young adults trapped by life circumstances and poverty into lives that give the thoughtful reader pause. According to the author, a new, more rigid, and less fluid socioeconomic class system is emerging that makes the old and more tradition notions of rugged individualism look like a overly generous social welfare state. And we all know it was hardly that.
Finnegan spent a great deal of time with families in a number of different communities across the country, and became an intimate observer to the kinds of futile and often desperate attempts to become participating card-carrying members of the increasingly elusive American Dream. His is a terrific and absorbing look at the issues of race, ethnicity, social class, and social change as it is rapidly evolving in contemporary American culture, and the author never loses sight of the basic humanity of each of his subjects or their struggles to gain the material success and security so often portrayed in the electronic media they watch incessantly. Those he writes about are always dealt with in compassionate terms, recognizing individual complexities and talents that belie their poor educational experiences and lack of opportunities. We recognize the subjects as intelligent and multi-faceted people, and empathize with their frustrating existential situations.
This is a book one finds fascinating to read, in spite of its gloomy assessment of the reality of life in the "not-so-toni" barrios and exurbs surrounding the cities. It is an extremely entertaining and edifying book, a poignant and intelligent excursion into the heart of America's expanding impoverished underclass, and a well-focused peer into the unpromising future for millions of youngsters and twenty-something adults just now entering the job market with so few skills and very little hope of climbing out of their own desperate life circumstances. The book is a must-read for anyone thinking that Michael Harrington's "Other America" has melted away in under the prevailing influence of the financially sunny 1990s, and I recommend it as a book representing a more comprehensive national perspective regarding the need for government action to provide more opportunities and a variety of appropriate training programs for such disenfranchised Americans. As John Kennedy once said, if we cannot reach out to help the most humble and wretched among us, then there is little hope to save the fortunate few.


Nuremberg: Infamy on Trial
Nuremberg: Infamy on Trial
von Joseph E. Persico
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 15,99

4.0 von 5 Sternen Quite Well Written Look At Nuremberg Trials!, 28. Juli 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Nuremberg: Infamy on Trial (Taschenbuch)
Nothing so defines the differences separating the Third Reich from the Allies as the way in which the defendants of the trials at Nuremberg were handled. With painstaking precision and at extraordinary cost in terms of international arm-twisting and back-door deals, the proponents of a judicial proceeding designed to illustrate the manifest individual guilt of the various Nazi officials forged a result that still stands today as a model of a non-retributive effort in the face of extraordinary pressure. In this book author Joseph Persico offers a ground-level introduction to the motley cast of characters on trial as well as the collection of interested others who gathered to oversee the proceedings.
Achieving the result of fair trials that would literally change the perspective of the world toward participants in war was anything but easy, and moving toward that deliberate goal is a theme providing an interesting theme punctuating the pace of the book. Churchill wanted revenge by way of summary trials and quick retribution, while the Russians just wanted to string up the whole group in a mass hanging. Yet American Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson was able to resolve the differences well enough to proceed, although at times the reader wonders if the trials will be anything like the fair-minded judicial event he has in mind. Indeed, the back-stabbing, personal ambitions, and petty jealousies of the various factions, trial officials, and individual defendants becomes a kind of political circus that sometimes resembles nothing so much as vaudevillian showboating.
Still, the efforts at conducting a fair and open forum for the world to watch as the prosecution and defense teams clashed before the international tribunal prevailed, and the trials concluded with mixed results in terms of the results. Most of the defendants were found guilty, and many were hanged. Yet few observers doubted that the defendants had had their day in court along with and adequate opportunity to defend their actions to a watching world. Given how little justice and liberty they collectively allowed for their tens of millions of victims, it is remarkable just how civilized and dignified a proceeding the Nuremberg trials were, with all their theatrics and subterranean undercurrents. One marvels at the fact that after fifty years the world still stands in awe at the deliberate, careful, and methodical way in which the Allies achieved the result of a rational and fair trial of the defendants in history's most horrific modern nightmare, the terror of the Third Reich.
This is an interesting and absorbing book, and a fascinating and entertaining book to read. It was also particularly interesting to me since I had recently viewed the telecast by TNT based on this book which covered the trials, and the book served to fill out a lot of the remaining questions I had regarding the nature of the individual personalities from Truman to Churchill to Jackson to Biddle and the others. This is a worthwhile book, and I recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about these singular trials and their impact on history.


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