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The Holocaust

A New History
Written by: Laurence Rees
Narrated by: Eric Vale
Length: 19 hrs and 28 mins
Categories: History, Europe
5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On June 1944, Freda Wineman and her family arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the infamous Nazi concentration and death camp. After a cursory look from an SS doctor, Freda's life was spared and her mother was sent to the gas chambers. Freda only survived because the Allies won the war - the Nazis ultimately wanted every Jew to die. Her mother was one of millions who lost their lives because of a racist regime that believed that some human beings simply did not deserve to live - not because of what they had done, but because of who they were.

Laurence Rees has spent 25 years meeting the survivors and perpetrators of the Third Reich and the Holocaust. In this sweeping history, he combines this testimony with the latest academic research to investigate how history's greatest crime was possible. Rees argues that while hatred of the Jews was at the epicenter of Nazi thinking, we cannot fully understand the Holocaust without considering Nazi plans to kill millions of non-Jews as well. He also reveals that there was no single overarching blueprint for the Holocaust. Instead, a series of escalations compounded into the horror. Though Hitler was most responsible for what happened, the blame is widespread, Rees reminds us, and the effects are enduring.

The Holocaust: A New History is an accessible yet authoritative account of this terrible crime. A chronological, intensely listenable narrative, this is a compelling exposition of humanity's darkest moment.

©2017 Laurence Rees (P)2017 Hachette Audio

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Aspen
  • 2017-08-31

FANTASTIC BOOK, BUT HORRIBLE READING

What did you love best about The Holocaust?

The information is very detailed and thoroughly researched. It could not possibly be any better in that respect.

What other book might you compare The Holocaust to and why?

Night by Elie Wiesel.

How could the performance have been better?

The performance was terrible. Mr. Vale was not the right person to narrate this book. He could not even pronounce names correctly, such as saying Joseph Goebbels name as GO-BELLS, instead of GUR-BELLS, and saying Hermann Göring name, as GORE-ING, instead of GAIR-ING, or even worse saying Lebensraum as LEEBEENSRAM, instead of LAY-BENS-RUM. This book needed a quality, thoughtful, strong voice, with excellent diction. Vale sounded like a substitute that was just hired at the last minute, and he narrated as if off of a script with too much emphasis on drama at all times, instead of pacing himself properly. This book is a 10 in research and in the depth of knowledge covered, but the audio version was just plain awful. A big 0.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

THIS IS THE HOLOCAUST.

Any additional comments?

Just about the narrator. The book was amazing, a 10++, but the narrator almost made me want to turn it off, especially when he continued to botch the rightful names of key figures, and key names. He was awful in every respect, and I give him a 0.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Tad Davis
  • 2017-07-03

Grim but important

Makes for grim but important listening. Rees traces the rise of Hitler and the progressive stages of the Holocaust with great clarity.

There are several important points to take away. Hitler's views on the "final solution" evolved over time; he managed to convey his intentions to his subordinates without actually writing anything down; and one of his key maneuvers was to repeat The Lie again and again, in the absence of evidence and even after his claims had been positively refuted.

Other points: the Allies had the full details on the death camps by 1944; they chose to do nothing for reasons that sound hollow; and the ordinary people who made it possible for Hitler to carry out his extermination were neither hypnotized nor, in many cases, especially conflicted about what they were doing.

Another point, although it's one the author doesn't make explicitly (at least as far as I can remember): unless we are forever vigilant, it could happen again.

Eric Vale is an energetic and expressive narrator.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Polar Bear
  • 2017-07-16

Thoroughly Researched Book on the Holocaust

Filmmaker Laurence Rees is a well-known for his documentaries on the Holocaust. In this book he relates how the Holocaust came about. It wasn't one definitive moment that started the Holocaust nor was it necessarily a directive coming straight from Hitler. It's a complex history. If you've studied Hitler, then you know that he wasn't much of a leader. He purposely let his subordinates figure out how to carry out his philosophy and wishes. He enjoyed the squabbling that ensued among his subordinates.

What I found annoying with the audiobook was the mispronunciation of names of people and places. The narrator got some right or he'd pronounce a name two or three different ways. For as much research that has been done on World War II, the narrator should have gotten the correct pronunciations of German, Polish, Yiddish, Russian and other names and place names. It was frustrating to hear him butcher names in such a long audiobook.

The point I'd like to make is that the content of the book was excellent and thorough.

7 people found this helpful

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  • LeeAnn Hart
  • 2019-08-12

Begging for a new narrator

I can only echo other reviewers who have commented on the subpar narration. Please, Hachette, re-record this important book with someone who has some gravitas to their voice and who can pronounce German and Polish. What a disservice to this brilliant book. I’m on the verge of returning it and reading the hard copy. I don’t know if I can stand to hear “Duh-KOW” (Dachau) or “Lots” (Łódź) one more time, not to mention all the other general mangling, mispronunciations, and the narrator’s heavy American accent.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-08-12

a book well worth your time to listen to.

very moving and fact based well worth the time spent listening to. It makes you remember to not forget history so it won't happen again.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Joanne
  • 2020-03-02

Powerful....

I don’t really write reviews but I thought it appropriate for this work. This is an amazing book. Hearing the words of people who lived a nightmare that I can not even dream happening is a feeling I have never gotten from a piece of non-fiction. While a crime of this scope and grandeur is not really possible in this day and age, mini versions of it can and are happening. It is important those of us who did not live through the atrocity learn about it so we can pass along the lessons we can draw from it when all the eyewitnesses do pass. Highly recommend this book!

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Brian D. Hertzog
  • 2019-09-06

Abominable narration

A potentially excellent book rendered barely listenable by horrid narration. It baffles me that someone with zero ability to pronounce German would be hired to narrate a book in which German words, names and phrases necessarily appear every couple of minutes. My willingness to overlook this glaring flaw finally cracked when he couldn’t even properly pronounce the name of the Canadian province “Newfoundland.” Come on, man! Add to that his frequent stilted attempts at dramatic delivery and it becomes a chore to get through. Only the quality of the research and storytelling save it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jeff Lacy
  • 2019-06-28

Different narrator imperative

It is imperative that a new narrator re-perform this incredible book. My suggestion is a mature British voice like Paul Hodgeson who narrates Nikolaus Wachsmann’s, KL. The subject of Rees’s book compels a deeper, more round fuller voice that is confident and experienced. Since the book deals with Europe and due to the sophistication of the subject and audience I urge a British voice, and one who will pronounce the names of persons and places correctly.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Daanish
  • 2020-05-13

Essential

Great history. Very well done. Essential to learn about the halocaust and see the eventual conclusion of racism, whether it is against the Jews, the Muslims or Chinese

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  • Janet
  • 2020-03-04

Does anyone vet the chosen readers ???

Unbelievably bad reader. This man can't pronounce the names of well-known figures in history which any informed person could say aloud accurately. His ignorance makes this very fine book almost unlistenable. Several other readers have commented on the problem and have given specific examples. They are correct.