Wednesday, January 27, 2016

To Hell and Back by Ian Kershaw

Europe 1914-1949 This is another remarkable book that provides a thorough accounting of the people, events and ideologies that occurred during these momentous years. It contains 522 pages of text and 37 pages of Bibliography which are the documents he used to create this work. It is so detailed that it took me over three weeks to finish reading. It is the kind of book that requires concentration totally different from reading and enjoying a work of fiction. It is different from most WWI or WWII books in that little is concentrated on the battles but more on the events leading up to the wars and the aftermath. The one overriding issue was the lack of regard to humanity. Whole groups were treated as if they weren’t human. They were callously murdered by the millions. The Jewish people were hated the most. Many countries had large populations of Jews. It wasn’t just Hitler. It happened in Russia and other Eastern countries. In the second war the conquered nations were only too willing to aid the Germans in rounding up and sending them to their doom and taking their former properties to their own use. Even the several years after WWII was ended the slaughter continued, but this time Germans and other ethnic groups were forcibly removed from wherever they had lived and sent back to their own country. During these years millions more were killed but this time not by gas chambers but one by one with whatever means were available. It is so unbelievable that inhumanity could be so rampant. In today’s world we think of the 3,000 victims of 9/11 as outrageous. Don’t get me wrong, it was outrageous, but compared to multiple millions over the 35 years covered by this book it is minimal. I can’t say I recommend reading except by scholars. You will have your core belief in the humanity of man shaken. Jack B. Walters January 27, 2016

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