Kristallnacht by Martin Gilbert
Prelude to Destruction (Making History)

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On November 7, 1938, a young Jew, enraged by his family's expulsion from Germany, walked into the German embassy in Paris and fired five shots at a junior diplomat. Three days later the diplomat was dead, and Germany was in the grips of skillfully orchestrated anti-Jewish violence.

In the early hours of November 10, Nazi storm troopers and Hitler Youth rampaged through Jewish neighborhoods across Germany, leaving behind them a horrifying trail of terror and destruction. More than a thousand synagogues and many thousands of Jewish shops were destroyed, while thirty thousand Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. This was the moment when deliberately inflamed hatreds ignited nationwide destruction.

With rare insight and acumen, Martin Gilbert, one of the leading historians of our time, examines Kristallnacht -- the Night of Broken Glass -- and describes how the rest of the world reacted in its wake. His narration of that night and day of terror is chilling, vividly conveying its scale and intensity through more than fifty previously unpublished eyewitness testimonies and graphic newspaper accounts of the events as they unfolded. No other attack on Jews during the course of the Second World War was as widely reported by contemporary observers.

Kristallnacht marked the beginning of the systematic eradication of a people who traced their origins in Germany to Roman times and was a sinister fore-warning of the Holocaust. By setting the tone for the terrible war to follow, it shaped the second half of the twentieth century and continues to haunt us, almost seventy years later. Meticulously researched and masterfully written, this is an eye-opening study of one of the darkest chapters in human history.


About Martin Gilbert

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Martin Gilbert is Winston Churchill's biographer and the author of eight acclaimed books on the Holocaust. He lives in London.
Published June 13, 2006 by Harper. 320 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

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“Kristallnacht,” Gilbert concludes, “taught the Nazi administrators and planners that they must in future act with silence and secrecy, hiding what they were doing to the Jews from the eyes of world indignation.” A well-written survey of a turning point in modern history.

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The Guardian

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Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction by Martin Gilbert (HarperPress £14.99, pp320) Among the Dead Cities by AC Grayling (Bloomsbury £20, pp384) Looking at the ruins of Dresden's 18th-century synagogue in late 1938, as official dynamite completed the demolition begun by the anti-semitic mob, one ...

Mar 19 2006 | Read Full Review of Kristallnacht: Prelude to Des...

The Guardian

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Kristallnacht : Prelude to Destruction by Martin Gilbert Buy it from the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop After a night and day that saw ...

Nov 23 2008 | Read Full Review of Kristallnacht: Prelude to Des...

Publishers Weekly

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The book begins with a harrowing account of that night's events, using accounts from news sources of the day: " 'Terrified children were turned sobbing out of their beds, which were then smashed to pieces.'" Gilbert devotes a chapter each to eyewitness accounts from Berlin and Vienna, where some ...

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