The best books about the Final Solution

Many authors have picked their favorite books about the Final Solution and why they recommend each book.

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The Assignment

By Liza Wiemer,

Book cover of The Assignment

Weimer is the type of storyteller who makes you think at every turn of the page. The Assignment looks at the world of discrimination and antisemitism as it is handed out in a classroom assignment by a teacher we're left wondering about from the beginning. What makes you brave under the pressure of your peers and what makes you crumble? Weimer will give you insight into that through this stirring tome.

Who am I?

I spent 16 years teaching in NYC public schools, six of them on Rikers Island the world's biggest jail where I helped incarcerated teens improve their reading and writing skills. That experience helped to launch me on my own writing career. The job of the author? To hold up a mirror to society and reflect upon the page what the reader may not have experienced yet or missed seeing in the world outside the borders of a book.

I wrote...

The Great G.O.A.T. Debate: The Best of the Best in Everything from Sports to Science

By Paul Volponi,

Book cover of The Great G.O.A.T. Debate: The Best of the Best in Everything from Sports to Science

What is my book about?

I’m so incredibly proud of my 15th book for young adults. The idea behind it is very simple. In every school I visit, I hear students debating one another — Who’s the greatest basketball player of all time? Greatest rapper? Greatest video game? Greatest sci-fi franchise? Greatest rock band? So I wrote a book that lets students debate those topics. But, while those students are investigating their favorite categories, they’ll also be exposed to these unexpected debates —Who’s the greatest scientist of all time? Greatest architect? Greatest philosopher? Greatest mathematician? Greatest chess player? Greatest jazz soloist? Greatest composer? Greatest writer? Oh, yes, it also teaches students the basic strategies of debate and how to put forth a strong argument for their candidate as the G.O.A.T. of a particular category.

The Lost Wife

By Alyson Richman,

Book cover of The Lost Wife

Until I wrote my book I was exclusively a screenwriter. And throughout my career, I’ve been hired to adapt a variety of different novels, mostly love stories and romantic comedies. But nothing I’ve ever worked on has haunted me quite like Alyson Richman’s tale of first love – a love ripped apart by the brutality of the Nazis and their “Final Solution.” And yet, even as the horrors unfold, Richman always manages to find pinpoints of light in the darkness. Her prose is both elegant and poetic – and the tale she weaves will undoubtedly call forth the waterworks.

Who am I?

I’ve devoted my career to writing love stories. I’ve analyzed and dissected most of the great ones, always with the intention of writing something to join their ranks. Along the way, I noticed something interesting: the books that make people cry often stick with them, long after they’ve finished reading them. Perhaps this is because we all need to release feelings that are not socially acceptable? Whatever the reason, if you’re like me and love a good cry, then you’ll most certainly enjoy the books on my list.

I wrote...

The In Between

By Marc Klein,

Book cover of The In Between

What is my book about?

After bouncing around in foster homes for most of her childhood, seventeen-year-old Tessa Jacobs doesn't believe she deserves love – not from her adoptive parents, and certainly not from anyone at school. But everything changes when she has a chance encounter with Skylar, a senior from a neighboring town who's a true romantic.

When tragedy strikes, Tessa wakes up alone in the hospital with no memory of how she got there. And Skylar has passed away. As Tessa begins her relentless search for answers, Skylar's spirit reaches out to her from the other side. Desperate to see him one last time, Tessa must unravel the pieces of their relationship – and the truth might even lead her into the afterlife itself.

The Origins of Nazi Genocide

By Henry Friedlander,

Book cover of The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution

Many people are unaware that the Nazi genocide of Jews and Roma was built on their earlier mass extermination of disabled people, beginning with children. The killing methods used in places like Auschwitz and Treblinka were pioneered in the murder of many thousands of people with physically and mentally disabled people, whom members of the German medical profession referred to as “life unworthy of life” and “useless eaters.” This book by a distinguished Holocaust scholar meticulously documents the journey from the first child killed on Hitler’s orders to the inferno of the Polish extermination camps.

Who am I?

I have an international reputation as an expert on dehumanization. I have researched this subject for the past fifteen years, and have written three books and many articles, and given many talks on it, including a presentation at the 2012 G20 economic summit. I believe that dehumanization is an extremely important phenomenon to understand, because it fuels the worst atrocities that human beings inflict upon one another. If phrases like "never again" have any real meaning, we need to seriously investigate the processes, including dehumanization, that make such horrific actions possible.

I wrote...

Making Monsters: The Uncanny Power of Dehumanization

By David Livingstone Smith,

Book cover of Making Monsters: The Uncanny Power of Dehumanization

What is my book about?

Making Monsters offers a poignant meditation on the philosophical and psychological roots of dehumanization. Drawing on harrowing accounts of lynchings, the book establishes what dehumanization is and what it isn’t. When we dehumanize our enemy, we hold two incongruous beliefs at the same time: we believe our enemy is at once subhuman and fully human. To call someone a monster, then, is not merely a resort to metaphor—dehumanization really does happen in our minds.

Turning to an abundance of historical examples, Making Monsters explores the relationship between dehumanization and racism, the psychology of hierarchy, what it means to regard others as human beings, and why dehumanizing others transforms them into something so terrifying that they must be destroyed.

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