Auschwitz by Laurence Rees
A New History: 2

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Auschwitz-Birkenau is the site of the largest mass murder in human history. Yet its story is not fully known. In Auschwitz, Laurence Rees reveals new insights from more than 100 original interviews with Auschwitz survivors and Nazi perpetrators who speak on the record for the first time. Their testimonies provide a portrait of the inner workings of the camp in unrivalled detail—from the techniques of mass murder, to the politics and gossip mill that turned between guards and prisoners, to the on-camp brothel in which the lines between those guards and prisoners became surprisingly blurred.
Rees examines the strategic decisions that led the Nazi leadership to prescribe Auschwitz as its primary site for the extinction of Europe's Jews—their "Final Solution." He concludes that many of the horrors that were perpetrated in Auschwitz were driven not just by ideological inevitability but as a "practical" response to a war in the East that had begun to go wrong for Germany. A terrible immoral pragmatism characterizes many of the decisions that determined what happened at Auschwitz. Thus the story of the camp becomes a morality tale, too, in which evil is shown to proceed in a series of deft, almost noiseless incremental steps until it produces the overwhelming horror of the industrial scale slaughter that was inflicted in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.

About Laurence Rees

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Laurence Rees is the writer, director and producer of the BBC TV series The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler. The former head of BBC Television History programs, he has specialized for the last twenty years in writing books and making television documentaries about the Nazis and World War II. Previous projects that were both series and books include Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution and World War II Behind Closed Doors. In 2006 Rees won the British Book Award for History Book of the Year for Auschwitz. Educated at Oxford University, he was appointed in 2009 a senior visiting fellow in the International History Department of the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 2010 he launched the multimedia website, which won best in class awards in the education and reference categories at the 2011 Interactive Media Awards. He lives in London.

Author Residence: London, England

Author Hometown: London, England
Published January 2, 2005 by PublicAffairs. 368 pages
Genres: History, War, Travel, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Auschwitz

The Guardian

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In his self-justifying memoir, Kommandant in Auschwitz , Höss recounts with disturbing indifference the immense pride he took in the smooth running of the Auschwitz gas chambers.

Jan 28 2005 | Read Full Review of Auschwitz: A New History: 2

The Guardian

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Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution by Laurence Rees (BBC Books, £20, pp320)Auschwitz by Sybille Steinbacher (Penguin £6.99, pp168).

Jan 15 2005 | Read Full Review of Auschwitz: A New History: 2

Publishers Weekly

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This pathbreaking work reveals the "destructive dynamism" of the Nazis' most notorious death camp. Rees, creative director of history programs for the BBC, consistently offers new insig

Jan 10 2005 | Read Full Review of Auschwitz: A New History: 2

Review (Barnes & Noble)

Auschwitz received its first victims, a transport of 728 Poles, on this day in 1940.

Jun 14 2012 | Read Full Review of Auschwitz: A New History: 2


I started reading this book as bedtime reading but, after a few evenings, I could no longer continue reading it just before falling off to sleep.

Feb 27 2012 | Read Full Review of Auschwitz: A New History: 2

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