Book Review: Why? Explaining the Holocaust by Peter Hayes


This book evoked lots of emotions and I don’t think I can articulate in my words anything about the book that is better than what the author has already said. I will still write a small note below but there will be another post which will have some of the paragraphs from the book that really affected me.

The book is a thorough presentation of facts with complete list of sources but without the sensationalism that has permeated into contemporary writing. Each chapter title is a question regarding the Holocaust and Peter tries to answer the question throughout the chapter by analyzing the facts on the ground, historical backstories and joining the dots to arrive at a conclusion.

As the book tends to move from the questions of Why the Jews?, Why the Germans? to What lessons?, the historical precedents and justifications given by the perpetrators converge with current world politics to show that reasons always exist for a group of powerful people to propagate and execute plans that put others in harm’s way and oppress them but for the collective voice of the majority that is ready to protest and oppose injustice without thinking of its self-interest.

The book provides us a lot of information but also provokes our mind to think about the consequences of justifying religious persecution and racial superiority. At the end, the lingering thought that remains and is so important for us to remember in the ever polarizing world is “Beware the Beginnings”.

Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

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