Timothy Snyder has become the greatest English-language interpreter of the Holocaust and the "bloodlands" that gave rise to it. In Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, he explains in compelling detail (and sometimes with a bit too much repetition) how the bloodletting actually began in the Soviet Union itself and only then washed back into occupied Poland and finally, toward the end of the war, into Germany itself. And Zyklon B was the least of it: most Jews were shot at close range by the SS, German and Austrian soldiers, and by Russian and Ukrainian militias. The "warning" at the end is a rather strained analogy between the Holocaust and climate change. Despite its faults, a magnificent book -- and at the moment I'm writing this, the Kindle e-book is only $1.99.
Okay, I have only now slogged my way through KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps, which suggests that reading these monumental works in digital format may be a mistake. Even in print, however, it's probably not an easy read. Mr. Wachsmann is a native of Germany and a professor at the University of London; he does not leave a stone unturned. Whereas Timothy Snyder wants us to remember that in the great bloodletting, "people not very different from us murdered other people not very different from us at close quarters," Nikolaus Wachsmann presents the camps (and by extension, the Holocaust) as much more of a German thing.
And yes, I also enjoy what the professariat would dismiss as rubbish. My latest find is Robert Harris, who years ago wrote a magnificent counterfactual novel about Germany in 1964, with an elderly Hitler still dictating to Europe while President Joseph Kennedy governs the U.S. Harris later turned to more conventional historical fiction (Pompeii, the Dreyfuss Afair, the Enigma cypher machine) and now he has written a spellbinder about -- hedge funds! Yes. The Fear Index tells the story of an American math genius who devises the perfect computer program to profit from the stock market, especially when the market is going down, the faster the better. It's set in Geneva, and the story is alternatively told from his point of view and that of the Swiss police detective (who, in a nice touch, lives across the border in France because he can't afford to rent or buy in his home town). Ignore the many negative reviews, from readers who clearly didn't understand what was going on. Blue skies! — Dan Ford
I still have some copies of the 2000 iUniverse edition of
Remains: A Story of the
Flying Tigers. (The cover is different and the price was higher.)
While they last, you can get one for
$7.98 postpaid, sent by Media Mail to your U.S. postal address.
PayPal rolls your credit card; I sign the book and put it in the
mailbox, usually the same day.
A Kindle for $79.99, a tablet for $49.99!
For ten years I've been adapting my books and articles for
most notably for Amazon's neat Kindle device. When the price dropped
to $189, I broke down and ordered a Kindle for myself. From there it
went to $114 if you were willing to tolerate "special offers" (aka
advertisements) on your screen when you weren't actually reading.
And now the
price has fallen to $79.99. Even more astonishing is the new
a basic but full-fledged, 7-inch tablet computer for $49.99.
Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford
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Posted February 2017. Websites © 1997-2017 Daniel Ford. All rights reserved.