Review of The Holocaust by R.L. Levy

Black (Univ. of Exeter, UK) surveys the history of the Holocaust based on wide reading in the most current scholarship in the field. Most original and valuable are the book’s last two chapters, “Memorialization” and “The Holocaust Today.” The first of these discusses briefly but penetratingly the construction of Holocaust memory in Germany and the states once allied to the Third Reich, in its more or less willing collaborators in eastern and western Europe, and in those nations that fought against Hitler or observed the struggle from a safe distance. This longest chapter in the book is highly informative and rich in detail. The closing chapter is equally innovative in its approach to the history of the Holocaust, bringing the discussion up to the present moment. Black identifies numerous cases of the flagrant exploitation of Holocaust imagery that try to latch on to the sufferings of Jews for almost always self-interested, petty, or otherwise objectionable causes. At best, these trivialize a tragic history. At worst, they defile it. Perhaps too densely factual for undergraduates, the work should prove useful for advanced students and nonprofessionals who wish to consult a reasonably comprehensive treatment of an enormous subject. A demanding but important work.

Reviewer: R. S. Levy, University of Illinois at Chicago

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