Shermer - Denying History Cover

Denying History

Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It?

Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman

University of California Press, 2000, 259 pp, Notes, Bibliography, Index, ISBN 0-520-21612-1. Counter page views.

You won't be able to stop reading this great gripping story.

Jared Diamond, Author of Guns, Germs, and Steel

Shermer and Grobman destroy the Big Lie that the Holocaust never occurred, relentlessly confronting outrageous claims with ghastly, irrefutable facts, Denying History is all the more remarkable for its evenhandedness in the face of the Big Lie's perversity. Adding to its value is the authors' lucid exploration of the difference between revising history in light of genuine evidence and insisting, against all evidence, that history didn't happen. By any mneasure, an engrossing and important book.

D. J. Kevles, California Institute of Technology

An excellent and timely book that not only maps the unseemingly quagmire inhabited by the Holocaust deniers and other pseudohistorians, but also equips the user with critical tools and historical information that, in distinguishing acknowledged fact from insidious fabrication, recovers the road to a civic dominion of common sense and common decency.

Robert Jan Van Pelt, University of of Waterloo

Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman provide the necessary ammunition to confront one of the basest phenomena in today's academic world: the attempt to deny obvious historical facts surrounding one of the greatest tragedies of our time - the Holocaust. They show how any historical facts are verified and proven, and they deal with the specifics of the deniers' falsifications. In so doing they are filling a vacuum - the need of people who are not experts on the Holocaust, and who have no easy access to the wealth of documentation about it, to answer those who, usually motivated by pro-Nazi sympathies and antisemitism, deny or corrupt facts.

Yehuda Bauer, Director, Research Institute of Yad Vashem, and author of The Holocaust in Historical Perspective

Like cancer, HIV, and influenza, Holocaust denial is a drain on human resources, energy, and creativity. Yet for the health of the society and the well-being of the individual citizen the maladies must be confronted, their spread halted, and their sources identified and neutralised. Shermer and Grobman have given us a splendid study of the voices and sponsors oh Holocaust denial. The study, replete with authoratitive citations, moves fluently from the eyewitness reports in World War II through to the contemporary advocates for Adolf Hitler and his way of death.

Franklin H. Littell, President, The Philadelphia Center on the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights

About the Book

Denying History takes a bold and in-depth look at those who say the Holocaust never happened and explores the motivations behind such claims. While most commentators habe dismissed the Holocaust deniers as anitsemitic neo-Nazis who do not deserve a response, social scientist Michael Shermer and historian Alex Grobman have immersed themselves in the minds and culture of these individuals. They have conducted personal inteviews with the deniers, visiting their California and Toronto hedquarteres, reading their literature, monitoring their Web sites, engaging them in debate, and even traveling around Europe to conduct research at the Nazi extermination camps. Uncovering a complex social movement, the authors go much deeper than ever before not only in understanding the motives of the Holocaust deniers, but also in refuting their points one by one. In the process, they show how we can be certain that the Holocaust happened as it did and, for that matter, how we can confirm any historical event.

Shermer and Grobman investigate the free speech issues surrounding Holocaust denial and place them in the larger context of pseudohistory. They provide a fascinating summary of the major personalities and arganisations involved in Holocaust denial, revealing their personalities and motives. In their discussion of extermists, neo-Nazis, skinheads, and other fringe groups, the authors explore why people join such groups in the first place, examiningthe context in which Holocaust denial arises. Thoughtful, erudite, and original, Denying History broadens our ways of thinking about the claims of those who deny the history of the Holocaust and other historical events.

About the Authors

Michael Shermer is founder and publisher of Skeptic magazine, director of the Skeptics Society, adjunct professor of the History of Science at Occidental College, and host of the Skeptics Society Lecture Series at Caltech. He is author of Why People Belive Weird Things (1997) and How We Believe: The Search for God in an Age of Science (1999).

Alex Grobman is a historian and president of the Brenn Institute. He is author of Rekindling the Flame: American Jewish Chaplains and the Survivors of European Jewry, 1944-1948 (1993); editor of In Defense of the Survivors: The Letters and Oscar A. Mintzer, AJDC Legal Advisor (1999); coeditor, with Rabbi Daniel Landes aand Sybil Milton, of Genocide: Critical Issues of the Holocaust (1983); and founding editor-in-chief of the Simon Wiesenthal Annual.


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