100 books like Becoming Evil

By James E. Waller,

Here are 100 books that Becoming Evil fans have personally recommended if you like Becoming Evil. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice

Michael S. Bryant Author Of Confronting the "Good Death": Nazi Euthanasia on Trial, 1945-1953

From my list on pondering the worst of the Nazis’ crimes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had a life-long interest in genocide dating back to my teenage years, when I read Simon Wiesenthal’s book The Murderers Among Us. Wiesenthal introduced me to the idea that governments sometimes murdered innocent people and could elude justice for their crimes. The question of human evil interacted with my theological interest in the problem of evil generally. Both genocide scholars and theologians were posing similar questions: how could people or God permit the occurrence of wanton evil when it was in their power to avoid it? And what should we do about genocide after it has happened? These questions launched my research into genocide and continue to fuel my study of this topic.

Michael's book list on pondering the worst of the Nazis’ crimes

Michael S. Bryant Why did Michael love this book?

In 2019 I published a review of Mary Fulbrook’s Reckonings in the journal HistoryThe review may have been the most laudatory I’ve written. Fulbrook’s study of the Holocaust and its noxious aftereffects lingers with me today. I’ve come to think of Reckonings as the War and Peace of Holocaust histories. Like Tolstoy’s epic, it paints on a sprawling canvas, exhausting the writer’s palette to portray the Holocaust as a searing multi-generational phenomenon. Reckonings does not approach the Shoah as most writers of the Holocaust do, namely, as a monumental but time-limited event. Fulbrook conceives of the Holocaust as a cancer that blights the victims and their families into the second and third generations. The radioactive fallout of the Shoah continues to the present day, poisoning people’s lives so deeply that no human response is adequate to deal with it. She upholds the tragedy of the Holocaust by refusing…

By Mary Fulbrook,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Reckonings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A single word - Auschwitz - is often used to encapsulate the totality of persecution and suffering involved in what we call the Holocaust. Yet a focus on a single concentration camp - however horrific what happened there, however massively catastrophic its scale - leaves an incomplete story, a truncated history. It cannot fully communicate the myriad ways in which individuals became tangled up on the side of the perpetrators, and obscures the diversity of experiences
among a wide range of victims as they struggled and died, or managed, against all odds, to survive. In the process, we also miss…


Book cover of Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg: A New History of the International Military Tribunal After World War II

Michael S. Bryant Author Of Confronting the "Good Death": Nazi Euthanasia on Trial, 1945-1953

From my list on pondering the worst of the Nazis’ crimes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had a life-long interest in genocide dating back to my teenage years, when I read Simon Wiesenthal’s book The Murderers Among Us. Wiesenthal introduced me to the idea that governments sometimes murdered innocent people and could elude justice for their crimes. The question of human evil interacted with my theological interest in the problem of evil generally. Both genocide scholars and theologians were posing similar questions: how could people or God permit the occurrence of wanton evil when it was in their power to avoid it? And what should we do about genocide after it has happened? These questions launched my research into genocide and continue to fuel my study of this topic.

Michael's book list on pondering the worst of the Nazis’ crimes

Michael S. Bryant Why did Michael love this book?

The trials of Nazi war criminals are an important but subsidiary theme in Mary Fulbrook’s book. In Francine Hirsch’s study, the most significant trial of top-ranking German officials takes center stage, the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Unlike most previous analyses of Nuremberg, which depict the Soviets as minor actors who, if anything, were impediments to the quest for justice, Hirsch insists that Soviet contributions were essential cornerstones of the trial’s success. This may seem an unlikely role for a totalitarian country already responsible for terror famines in Ukraine, the atrocious show trials of the 1930s, and the senseless murder of 20,000 Poles in the Katyn Forest in 1940. Nonetheless, as Hirsch cogently argues, without Soviet participation the trial may never have occurred. The glory of her book is its insistence on the counterintuitive and contradictory nature of reality, in which, against all expectations, an authoritarian regime led by a…

By Francine Hirsch,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Organized in the immediate aftermath of World War Two by the victorious Allies, the Nuremberg Trials were intended to hold the Nazis to account for their crimes - and to restore a sense of justice to a world devastated by violence. As Francine Hirsch reveals in this immersive, gripping, and ground-breaking book, a major piece of the Nuremberg story has routinely been omitted from standard accounts: the part the Soviet Union played in making the trials happen in
the first place.

Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg offers the first complete picture of the International Military Tribunal (IMT), including the many ironies…


Book cover of Into That Darkness: An Examination of Conscience

Herlinde Pauer-Studer Author Of Konrad Morgen: The Conscience of a Nazi Judge

From my list on Nazi perpetrators.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Vienna (Austria), interested in ethics, political philosophy, and the philosophy of law. I am fascinated by the work of classical philosophers—foremost, Immanuel Kant and David Hume. A particularly interesting question for me concerns how political and legal systems shape people's identity and self-understanding. One focus of my research is on the distorted legal framework of National Socialist Germany. I wrote, together with Professor J. David Velleman (New York University), Konrad Morgen: The Conscience of a Nazi Judge. In German: "Weil ich nun mal ein Gerechtigkeitsfanatiker bin." Der Fall des SS-Richters Konrad Morgen. 

Herlinde's book list on Nazi perpetrators

Herlinde Pauer-Studer Why did Herlinde love this book?

How can a human being organize an extermination camp and oversee the industrial murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent people?

This book is based on journalist Gitta Sereny's conversations with Franz Stangl, the commandant of the Treblinka extermination camp, during his trial in Germany in 1971. It sheds light on how a perpetrator tried to deny his complicity by retreating into a purely functional professional role—a denial that ultimately failed.

At his last meeting with Sereny, Stangl still maintained that he never intended to hurt anyone, though for the first time, he admitted that there was guilt on his part, an acknowledgment with which he could not live. Nineteen hours after his confession, Stangl died of heart failure.

By Gitta Sereny,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Into That Darkness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based on 70 hours of interviews with Franz Stangl, commandant of Treblinka (the largest of the five Nazi extermination camps), this book bares the soul of a man who continually found ways to rationalize his role in Hitler's final solution.


Book cover of The Good Old Days: The Holocaust as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders

Michael S. Bryant Author Of Confronting the "Good Death": Nazi Euthanasia on Trial, 1945-1953

From my list on pondering the worst of the Nazis’ crimes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had a life-long interest in genocide dating back to my teenage years, when I read Simon Wiesenthal’s book The Murderers Among Us. Wiesenthal introduced me to the idea that governments sometimes murdered innocent people and could elude justice for their crimes. The question of human evil interacted with my theological interest in the problem of evil generally. Both genocide scholars and theologians were posing similar questions: how could people or God permit the occurrence of wanton evil when it was in their power to avoid it? And what should we do about genocide after it has happened? These questions launched my research into genocide and continue to fuel my study of this topic.

Michael's book list on pondering the worst of the Nazis’ crimes

Michael S. Bryant Why did Michael love this book?

Where Gitta Sereny talks with people involved in Nazi atrocities, Ernst Klee presents documentary evidence of these crimes. No one has published better or more important compendia of documents on Nazi crimes than Klee. I discovered his books as an exchange student in Germany (1988-89) and quickly found them to be unique. Klee’s spare method is to portray the Nazis’ descent into evil through the medium of their own texts and photographs. Regrettably, few of his books have been translated into English. The one I’m recommending here is a fine introduction to his style of historical writing.  

Klee’s evidence shows the awful arc drawn by Nazi crimes, from German incitement of pogroms against Jews in the east and Einsatzgruppen shootings of Jewish men, women, and children to the development of stationary gassing installations in death camps. Klee has a point of view, but he doesn’t want to convince you with…

By Ernst Klee (editor), Willi Dressen (editor), Volker Riess (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Good Old Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The title "The Good Old Days" ("Schone Zeiten" in German) comes from the cover of a private photo album kept by concentration camp commandant Kurt Franz of Treblinka. This gruesomely sentimental and unmistakably authentic title introduces an disturbing collection of photographs, diaries, letters home, and confidential reports created by the executioners and sympathetic observers of the Holocaust. "The Good Old Days" reveals startling new evidence of the inhumanity of recent twentieth century history and is published now as yet another irrefutable response to the revisionist historians who claim to doubt the historic truth of the Holocaust.


Book cover of Genocide as Social Practice: Reorganizing Society under the Nazis and Argentina's Military Juntas

Greta Lynn Uehling Author Of Everyday War: The Conflict over Donbas, Ukraine

From my list on the connection between personal relationships.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a cultural anthropologist, I'm like a cultural detective, exploring the intricate and often heart-wrenching world of war, conflict, and population displacement. But before you envision me in a dusty library, let me share that I found my passion for unraveling the everyday, lived experiences of war while living in Ukraine, where I became close to incredible individuals whose lives had been profoundly altered by war. When people shared with me how Russian aggression was tearing apart their cherished friendships and family bonds, I knew I had to delve into the profound effects of war on personal relationships. So, here I am, on a mission to illuminate the hidden stories, and the untold struggles, that are so important. 

Greta's book list on the connection between personal relationships

Greta Lynn Uehling Why did Greta love this book?

If you have ever wondered what personal relationships have to do with war, read Genocide as a Social Practice by Daniel Feierstein.

This author explains the social mechanics of genocide by comparing various cases. He argues genocide doesn’t just destroy human bodies, it destroys relationships as a means to the ultimate goal of social reorganization. This is one of very few books I brought with me during my fieldwork in Ukraine, where it accompanied me on cross-country train travel.

As I argue in my book, and like genocide in other places, Ukrainian society is being reconfigured in part through loss and death, but also relationships.

By Daniel Feierstein, Douglas Andrew Town (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Genocide as Social Practice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Genocide not only annihilates people but also destroys and reorganizes social relations, using terror as a method. In Genocide as Social Practice, social scientist Daniel Feierstein looks at the policies of state-sponsored repression pursued by the Argentine military dictatorship against political opponents between 1976 and 1983 and those pursued by the Third Reich between 1933 and 1945. He finds similarities, not in the extent of the horror but in terms of the goals of the perpetrators.

The Nazis resorted to ruthless methods in part to stifle dissent but even more importantly to reorganize German society into a Volksgemeinschaft, or people's…


Book cover of Intimate Alien: The Hidden Story of the UFO

Marc Hartzman Author Of We Are Not Alone: The Extraordinary History of UFOs and Aliens Invading Our Hopes, Fears, and Fantasies

From my list on UFOs to read whether you believe or not.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by UFOs since I was a kid, but it wasn’t until I met a Martian in 2016 that I started writing about them. To be more specific, I stumbled across a bizarre 1926 article about a man in telepathic communication with a Martian named Oomaruru. I then delved deeper into the beliefs about intelligent Martians at that time. It led to my writing The Big Book of Mars, which touched on the UFO phenomena in the 1940s and ‘50s. But knowing there was so much more to explore, I began writing We Are Not Alone, which is now my 8th book. 

Marc's book list on UFOs to read whether you believe or not

Marc Hartzman Why did Marc love this book?

David Halperin is a Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. And an ex-teenage ufologist.

I spoke with him during my research for my book about possible Biblical references to UFOs and aliens. He offers a scholarly perspective on the subject, which you can read much more about in Intimate Alien. The book also follows his personal journey through the subject matter, which began in his youth, and offers fascinating thoughts and insights on this truly unusual phenomenon.

By David J. Halperin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Intimate Alien as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A voyage of exploration to the outer reaches of our inner lives.

UFOs are a myth, says David J. Halperin-but myths are real. The power and fascination of the UFO has nothing to do with space travel or life on other planets. It's about us, our longings and terrors, and especially the greatest terror of all: the end of our existence. This is a book about UFOs that goes beyond believing in them or debunking them and to a fresh understanding of what they tell us about ourselves as individuals, as a culture, and as a species.

In the 1960s,…


Book cover of The Person and the Situation: Perspectives of Social Psychology

Timothy D. Wilson Author Of Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious

From my list on self knowledge.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like most adolescents, I was deeply concerned with what others thought of me and how I fit in. Unlike most adolescents, I sometimes did little experiments to test others’ reactions--such as lying down on a busy sidewalk, fully awake, to see how passersby would react (mostly with annoyance). Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there is an entire discipline--social psychology--that does real experiments on self-knowledge and social behavior. I got a Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of Michigan and have spent my career as a professor at the University of Virginia, where I have had great fun conducting such experiments.

Timothy's book list on self knowledge

Timothy D. Wilson Why did Timothy love this book?

A classic treatise on how the mind works in a social context by two of the most famous social psychologists in the world. Why do people do what they do? It is not just a matter of their character or personality; we all respond to social norms, social pressures, and cultural contexts, more so than we think we do. And to understand someone else, we have to put ourselves inside their head and understand how they see the world, and how culture and the social context shapes that view. Many people who have read this book say it has fundamentally changed the way they view the world.

By Lee Ross, Richard E. Nisbett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Person and the Situation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How does the situation we're in influence the way we behave and think? Professors Ross and Nisbett eloquently argue that the context we find ourselves in substantially affects our behavior in this timely reissue of one of social psychology's classic textbooks. With a new foreword by Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point.


Book cover of A Short History of Decay

Amin Samman Author Of History in Financial Times

From my list on philosophy challenging how you think about history.

Why am I passionate about this?

There are so many different ways of thinking and writing about history. I first noticed this while studying at university, when I saw just how different economic history looked from other kinds of history. I later learned that all kinds of historical writing are forms of literature, only they are rarely recognized as such. I am now a university professor and this is my area of expertise: the overlap between the philosophy of history and economics. The books on this list are great examples of unusual or ‘weird’ works on history that challenge some of our deepest assumptions about what history is and how best to think or write about it.

Amin's book list on philosophy challenging how you think about history

Amin Samman Why did Amin love this book?

This book is the most relentlessly pessimistic book I have ever read. It will help you overcome optimism. The volume is comprised mostly of short aphorisms, each with their own title, and I’d say the titles alone are worth the price of entry. But more to the point, there is a fantastic essay in the middle called "Faces of Decadence," which tells the story of history as a story of decay and decline. It’s a familiar refrain, but I think the version that appears here is among the best. Certainly the most stylish.

By E. M. Cioran, Richard Howard (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Short History of Decay as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

E. M. Cioran confronts the place of today's world in the context of human history-focusing on such major issues of the twentieth century as human progress, fanaticism, and science-in this nihilistic and witty collection of aphoristic essays concerning the nature of civilization in mid-twentieth-century Europe. Touching upon Man's need to worship, the feebleness of God, the downfall of the Ancient Greeks and the melancholy baseness of all existence, Cioran's pieces are pessimistic in the extreme, but also display a beautiful certainty that renders them delicate, vivid, and memorable. Illuminating and brutally honest, A Short History of Decay dissects Man's decadence…


Book cover of Social Chemistry: Decoding the Patterns of Human Connection

James Tamm and Ronald Luyet Author Of Radical Collaboration: Five Essential Skills to Overcome Defensiveness and Build Successful Relationships

From my list on creating collaborative relationships and organizations.

Why are we passionate about this?

Jim Tamm was a Senior Administrative Law Judge for the State of California with jurisdiction over workplace disputes. In that role, he mediated more school district labor strikes than any other person in the United States. Ron Luyet is a licensed psychotherapist who has worked with group dynamics pioneers such as Carl Rogers and Will Schutz.  He has advised Fortune 500 companies for over forty years specializing in building high-performance teams. Together they wrote Radical Collaboration and are excited to share this list with you today.

James' book list on creating collaborative relationships and organizations

James Tamm and Ronald Luyet Why did James love this book?

Yale professor Marissa King shows how anyone can build more meaningful and productive relationships based on insights from neuroscience, psychology, and network analytics. She explains that the quality and structure of our relationships has a great impact on our personal and professional lives. Our social connections profoundly affect our experience of the world, our emotions, and our personal and professional success.

By Marissa King,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Social Chemistry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'full of wisdom and entertaining anecdotes' The Economist

'fascinating' Financial Times

Social Chemistry will utterly transform the way you think about 'networking.' Understanding the contours of your social network can dramatically enhance personal relationships, work life, and even your global impact. Are you an Expansionist, a Broker, or a Convener? The answer matters more than you think. . . .

One of 2021's Most Highly Anticipated New Books--Newsweek
One of The 20 New Leadership Books--Adam Grant
One The Best New Wellness Books Hitting Shelves In January--Shape.com
A Next Big Idea Club Nominee
__________

Conventional wisdom would have us believe that…


Book cover of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Fergus Craik Author Of Memory

From my list on how your memory works – and why it often doesn't.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a cognitive psychologist, originally from Scotland, but I have lived and worked in Canada for the last 50 years, first at the University of Toronto, and then at a research institute in Toronto. My passion has always been to understand the human mind – especially memory – through experimental research. Memory is fundamental to our mental life as humans; to a large extent it defines who we are. It is a complex and fascinating topic, and my career has been devoted to devising experiments and theories to understand it better. In our recent book, Larry Jacoby and I attempt to pass on the excitement of unravelling these fascinating mysteries of memory.

Fergus' book list on how your memory works – and why it often doesn't

Fergus Craik Why did Fergus love this book?

This bestselling book is not so much about your memory as how to implant lasting memories in others.

How is it that some events and pieces of information are amazingly memorable, whereas others are lost as soon as our mental backs are turned? In a series of entertaining real-life examples, the authors propose and illustrate ways in which information can be “made to stick.” These include some obvious ones like getting people’s attention and building on their existing knowledge – stuff they are interested in.

Other factors are less obvious; set up an intriguing puzzle, provide some really unexpected information, especially of an emotional kind, embed the new information in an attention-grabbing story. Of course knowing how to teach effectively also reveals much about how memory works!

By Chip Heath, Dan Heath,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Made to Stick as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why does fake news stick while the truth goes missing?

Why do disproved urban legends persist? How do you keep letting newspapers and clickbait sites lure you in with their headlines? And why do you remember complicated stories but not complicated facts?

Over ten years of study, Chip and Dan Heath have discovered how we latch on to information hooks. Packed full of case histories and incredible anecdotes, it shows:

- how an Australian scientist convinced the world he'd discovered the cause of stomach ulcers by drinking a glass filled with bacteria

- how a gifted sports reporter got people…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in social psychology, genocide, and Nazism?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about social psychology, genocide, and Nazism.

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