“Indispensable” is an overused term in book reviews, but Timothy Snyder’s analysis of the political, social, intellectual, and historical circumstances that gave rise to and even nourished Hitler’s brilliant madness is truly that. The parallels he draws between conditions in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s and those found today in many parts of the world—most notably in Africa—cannot be observed without the recognition that the breeding grounds for rationalized mass murder are still present in our world today.
Snyder’s observations are based on the premise that statelessness is the prologue and necessary condition for genocide. Not only are stateless people the most vulnerable, but the territories they inhabit fall subject to structures in which established legal and political institutions no longer exist to protect its citizens—especially its minorities—and citizenship is no longer a stable reality.
Hitler, with his conception of a “natural” order based on racial might and tested by warfare, used his military and political power to undermine surrounding states before herding Jews into those shadowy places. . . .
To read the full review as it appears on the Jewish Book Council site and will appear in a forthcoming issue of Jewish Book World, click here: Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder | Jewish B