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Reading the Holocaust by Inga (La Trobe University, Victoria) Clendinnen


Reading the Holocaust by Inga (La Trobe University, Victoria) Clendinnen

More than fifty years after their occurrence, the events of the Holocaust remain for some of their most dedicated students as morally and intellectually baffling, as 'unthinkable', as they were at their first rumouring. Reading the Holocaust, first published in 2002, challenges that bafflement, and the demoralization that attends it. Exploring the experience of the Holocaust from both the victims' and the perpetrators' points of view, as it appears in histories and memoirs, films and poems, Inga Clendinnen seeks to dispel what she calls the 'Gorgon effect': the sickening of imagination and curiosity and the draining of the will that afflict so many of us when we try to look squarely at the persons and processes implicated in the Holocaust. Searching, eloquent and elegantly written, her book is an uncompromising attempt to extract the comprehensible from the unthinkable.


'... a brave, towering book which deserves to become famous ...'
The Australian Book Review

'This is a deeply humane book; one need only listen to a current news report to understand why it is a necessary one.'
The Times Literary Supplement

'Beautifully written and exactly felt, Reading the Holocaust is a major contribution to collective remembering and to the register of what happens.'
Clifford Geertz

'... a deeply compassionate book of extraordinary importance.'
Canberra Times

'... impressively humane, open-ended and generous guide ... Clendinnen is 'an outsider writing for outsiders'...'
The Weekend Australian

'... this is an important, insightful, superbly written meditation on a sorrow beyond words, well worth the attention of outsiders and insiders alike.'
New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Inga Clendinnen is the author of Ambivalent Conquests: Maya and Spaniard in Yucatan, 1517-1570 (1989) and Aztecs: An Interpretation (1991). Reading the Holocaust has won the Premier's Award for General History in New South Wales.

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Book Info

Publication date

2nd May 2002


Inga (La Trobe University, Victoria) Clendinnen

More books by Inga (La Trobe University, Victoria) Clendinnen
Author 'Like for Like'


Cambridge University Press


238 pages


European history
Second World War



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