A Historian’s Perspective

Reviewed by Peter Fritzsche (Department of History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), February, 2009, at H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online:

“Aue (main character) is an obvious composite, a technique that enables Littell to introduce readers to the stages by which the precise machinery of murder was discussed and implemented, technical and moral barriers were overcome, and the ‘Final Solution’ was scaled to all of Europe. Moreover, Littell does so with an extraordinary ability to provide historical citation that is both scrupulously accurate and gripping…Littell pushes Aue from site to site in order to unsettle readers’ consciences and to disrupt the distance they have gained by historicizing the Holocaust. In the end, then, The Kindly Ones cannot be simply rejected as scandal against representation or as the kitsch of voyeurism. Its perpetrators do speak.” Read more.

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2 Responses to “A Historian’s Perspective”

  1. Roxanne Says:

    I really like these kind of posts… thank you Kyle 🙂

  2. Otto Kernberg MD Says:

    `I agree that this book is a historically accurate description of the holocaust from the viewpoint of the psychology of the perpetrators. The objective madness and horror of the Nazi system is described in a dialectic with the personal psychopathology of the murderous Dr Aue. His psychopathic behaviour, in turn, is depicted with extraordinary understanding in depth of the dynamics involved. The result is a unique description of evil. It is no surprise that many cannot tolerate this book. I believe it is one of the best books I’ve read in the last 20 years.

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