Friday, September 27, 2013

Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields, by Wendy Lower

Over the years, countless books have discussed various aspects of the Holocaust and World War II.  Yet a large portion of the story is continuously overlooked: the women involved.  Some women were involved at a low level, such as teachers and secretaries.  Others were more complicit, such as the nurses ordered to kill patients, or the wives of high ranking Nazi officers.  This book dissects the various ways women were involved with the Nazi killing machine, and why it was so rare that female transgressors were brought to justice.

This book was everything I hoped it would be.  It thoroughly covered an area of World War II history that has, for years, been ignored.  The glaring deficiency of historical analysis regarding the role of women in the Holocaust is, in my opinion, deliberate.  Seen as maternal figures, humanity does not want to explore the darker, baser motivations of women.  If we focus on men as criminal perpetrators of war crimes, we can dismiss them as brutish animals.  With women, however, we are forced to focus on the humanity of these criminals, and realize how close any of us can be to becoming perpetrators.

I found the book to be incredibly insightful.  It is clear that this book was well researched, a feat that must have been difficult when covering such a groundbreaking angle.  But the book is also written in a way that is engaging, providing real, personal stories as opposed to just dry historical fact.  I was fascinated by the book, and learned a great deal.  The book will appeal to fans of historical non-fiction, particularly those with an interest in the Holocaust.

I received  review copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine program in exchange for my honest review.

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