Thursday, August 13, 2020

Iain Banks - Stonemouth

*** Spoiler Alert ***

Stewart Gilmour returns to Stonemouth, a small town in Aberdeenshire. Its almost seven years since he's been there. The last time he saw the place he was hiding in the back of a freight train fleeing the town's main gangsters. Now he has returned for the funeral of Joe Murston, an old man who he befriended there, the patriach of the Murston gangster dynasty. Gilmour isn't a gangster himself, his first mistake was to fall in love with Ellie Murston, the beautiful eldest daughter of the dynasty. His second mistake was getting caught having sex with someone who was not Ellie a few week's before Gilmour was to be wedded to Ellie and, by default, the rest of the Murston clan.

Gilmour's first act on arrival back in Stonemouth is to make a very deferential visit to the man who would have been his father in law, and one of the most violent people in the town. But visiting Stonemouth takes Gilmour back into his memories. The story flits between the present and his own recollections of growing up in a place where hard-drinking, unemployment, drugs and violence were common. Eventually Gilmour expects to meet Ellie, and perhaps give her and apology. But there are Murston's who will do everything to stop that and protect their honour, even if that's not what Ellie herself wants.

Taking place over a long weekend the book packs a lot into a short space. It's remarkably tense. Not knowing what it was that led to Gilmour heading south as fast as the railway could take it, meant that there is an air of doom over the whole first half of the book. It wasn't easy reading, not helped by the hint of violence that also hangs over the book. An enjoyable read, the problem was that Gilmour behaves utterly stupidly throughout the whole thing. To me it seems utterly ridiculous that he would go to the town, parade himself around (even with the Murston seal of approval on the whole event) and get out of his head of drugs and drink. He invites retaliation and seems surprised when it appears. 

The ending too seemed a little fantastical - a little bit too much wish fulfilment as Gilmour gets his true love back. Ellie is the most one-dimensional of the characters, though she is the one who I sympathised most with. She's the one most trapped by the gangsters that she was born among. As a entertaining story it was certainly readable. As an exploration of how we look back on our youthful mistakes and wish things different it felt too unreal, contrived and its main character particularly stupid.

This was, sadly, Iain Bank's last novel. It's stronger than many of his others, but not his best. But his talent shines through in his writing, if the plot is a little bit messy.

Related Reviews

Banks - Whit
Banks - Raw Spirit
Banks - Matter
Banks - Look to Windward
Banks - Dead Air
Banks - The Hydrogen Sonata
Banks - Surface Detail
Banks - Against A Dark Background
Banks - The Steep Approach to Garbadale
Banks - Look To Windward
Banks - The Algebraist

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Ashley Dawson - People's Power: Reclaiming the Energy Commons

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution Lenin said in a November 1920 speech that Communism would be "Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country". Lenin outlined how industrial development wasn't possible without electrification, but the primary emphasis on Soviet power arose from his view of Communism as being a society were Soviets, workers' councils based on mass participatory democracy, would control and run the means of production.

I was reminded of Lenin's quote on several occasions while reading Ashley Dawson's latest book People's Power. Dawson argues that, given the great environmental crises we face, in particular climate change, the "great task" of our time is to end the fossil fuel infrastructure at the heart of capitalist society. But, he shows, it is not enough to do this simply through a transition to renewable energy. This will be insufficient "to avert climate chaos":
Unless we dismantle and replace a capitalist system based on extreme extraction, inexorable growth, mounting inequalities, militarism and colonialism, our headlong rush toward extinction will continue. We need not just decarbonization, but global system change.
A little later he continues:
The struggle for energy transition is thus a fight for public and collective control of energy resources, and for democratic control of the state power that shapes the development of such resources. It is, in sum, a struggle for energy democracy.
No wonder I found myself reaching for that Lenin quote.

Based in the US, Dawson takes a highly critical look at the existing US energy system. It is a chaotic mix of power companies and suppliers, a highly unsuitable electrical grid and a system trapped by the logic of capitalist accumulation around fossil fuels. It is also a energy system that has been at the heart of both transformation vision and class struggle. Dawson shows how different visions of energy supply were present at the birth of the US electrical era. One were the system was organised for public good, the other for corporate greed. Dawson explains how in 1926 Gifford Pinchot argued for the transformation of the Pennsylvanian electrical grid. Pinchot said about the transition to electricity from stream power:
It behooves us not to let it break upon us unawares, not to permit generations of needless bitter conflict to follow it, but to think out the problems it will create, and to take measures in advance to avoid the long train of struggle and disturbance which followed the last great change in industrial power.
It would be easy to chastise someone like Pinchot for naivety in the face of capitalist industrial power, but his vision remains important to us, not least as around 1.1 billion people do not have access to electricity today. With the need to offer everyone in the world equitable access to energy, at the same time as making sure that we aren't tipped into runaway climate change, this remains the central question for Dawson. How can we supply energy safely, cheaply and sustainably for all? Dawson asks,

How might the coming energy transition contribute to new relations of production and exchange that are based on solidarity rather than exploitation? If past energy transition have tended to intensify the power of elites, can the current energy transition help spark a broader shift toward more egalitarian and democratic social relations?

Much of the book points out the barriers. The power and immense wealth of the energy corporations. The centrality of fossil fuel to capitalism. The way that politicians and capitalist states have used their close links to coal, oil and gas companies to prevent the introduction of renewables or energy reduction measures. Many of the these examples are from the United States, but their are parallels for all of us living in the Global North. Even "liberal" politicians like Obama have used their positions to encourage the development of new sources of fossil fuels like shale gas.

In contrast Dawson highlights the mass, collective struggles that have fought to provide energy to those that lacked it, and to move towards renewable energy over fossil fuels. I was, I'll admit, initially disappointed by Dawson's focus on German movements that have (successfully) collectively fought to setup local renewable cooperatives and the like, by-passing big national corporations. I was worried that Dawson was heading down a path of arguing that we could build sustainable spaces within the existing capitalist system. But actually Dawson's approach is more nuanced. He shows how these sort of community campaigns can make real change, transforming the national political agenda, and putting the corporations on the back foot, even though the capitalists do fight back and seek to regain their position by supply Green energy. At root, what is needed, Dawson explains is real democracy, control and management from below.
Do legal paradigms already exist to help community-based organisations... escape from the clutches of fossil capital and adopt solar power on a mass basis? What are the limits... and what juridical innovations might address these limits? These questions all relate to much broader struggles to establish new, revolutionary forms of popular sovereignty to defend and extend the commons, but they have a particular import for the fight for energy democracy. The struggle for a rapid and just energy transition is at the core of broader struggles... The question of the energy commons is therefore fundamental to the fight for a collective future.
Of course such arguments fly completely in the face of capitalist logic. Ultimately this means that winning such gains on the scale required means a challenge to the capitalist system, and in particular the state. Unfortunately I think that Dawson's argument around this is undermined by his reliance on the analysis of the state provided by the Greek-French Marxist Search Results Nicos Poulantzas. Poulantzas concluded that the analysis of the state developed by Lenin meant a "permanent scepticism about the state [which] precluded the possibility of mass intervention in existing politics". In contrast Dawson quotes James Angel arguing that the state "was not to be discounted as a 'mere instrument of capital'." Personally I think this is inadequate. After watching the crushing of the Paris Commune in 1871, Marx concluded that workers cannot simply take over the machinery of the state but find new ways of organising. Engels wrote that the state was "armed men but also of material adjuncts, prisons, and institutions of coercion of all kinds". I think this analysis fits more closely with how governments behave in supporting fossil fuel corporations. But more importantly I think this approach to the state helps answer that important question that Dawson raises. How will we make the urgent change we need? 

The answer lies in workers power - the new organs of working class democracy that revolutionary movements throw up. That's not to say we should shun any attempts to build alternatives to the fossil fuel corporations today- though as Dawson highlights we need to be honest about the limitations of these within capitalism. In fact Dawson's final chapter is a brilliant challenge to those who think we can build space within capitalism that can save the planet on its own. 
Unlike leaves... solar panels do not grow on trees: they must be manufactured, using chemicals that are often highly toxic and in conditions that do not escape the conditions of labour exploitation and degradation that characterise the era of fossil capitalism... Eventually, the question of controlling the means of production returns... and energy transition that maintains existing forms of capitalist production and infrastructure will be nothing short of devastating for the planet and vulnerable frontline communities.
Ashley Dawson's book is a devastating critique of fossil fuel capitalism. Its a call to arms for a transformative approach to energy that places collective ownership, democracy and the rights and needs of everyone at the heart of the struggle for a sustainable planet. My minor criticisms aside, this is a really excellent read.

Related Reviews

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Priyamvada Gopal - Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent

One of the consequences of the reemergence of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 was a renewed discussion about the nature and legacy of the British Empire. The toppling and then symbolic drowning of a statue of the slave trader Edward Coulson in Bristol became emblematic of this when anti-racist protesters quite literately pushed a critique of empire into public discourse.

Priyamvada Gopal's book is a wonderful contribution to this process and ought to be widely read among those seeking to understand the British Empire and what it meant for the modern world. Among right-wing commentators (and many of those who were upset by the destruction of Coulson's statue, there is a a belief that empire was essentially a benevolent institution that developed the infrastructure and institutions of the colonised countries, lifting them to up nearer to that of the "civilised", "democratic" European west.

Gopal's book shows how many people who saw empire through a similar lens to this latter position had their views transformed by the active resistance of people in colonised nations to the empire. So this is not a book that gives a people's history of empire. Rather its one that takes specific moments of revolt in Imperial history and shows how they transformed the political terrain in Britain. Often this led to far-reaching transformations in how people conceived of the world they lived in. The Morant Bay rebellion in Jamaica in October 1865 for instance, arose not simply out of colonial brutality, but the reality of colonial rule itself, where the plantation owners, believed "the main problem affecting Jamaica was the lack of steady black plantation labour". But this
refused to acknowledge the widespread desire among freed slaves and their descendants to control their own economic destiny through farming smallholdings rather than be shackled to low-wage labour on terms laid out by the planters. What emerged, therefore, was a stark ideological clash about what freedom meant. One view, touted by the planters and endorsed by the colonial government, insisted that freedom consisted of the 'option' of selling labour to a capitalist entity for prices determined by the latter. The other refused anything resembling the contractual and compulsory extraction of labour in favour of controlling the output of a smallholding. 
Resistance and rebellion raised wider issues than simply oppressive social and political relations. They opened up debates about the very nature of society and for some of those watching from Britain, they raised questions about the type of society they wanted too. Some of these figures are fascinating in themselves. The British diplomat, writer and poet Wilfrid Blunt was in Cairo in the run up to the British suppression of the Urabi Rebellion. Blunt was close to Urabi himself and became a go-between, albeit one whose sympathies lay increasingly with the Egyptian people. Blunt's engagement with Arabic people, their culture and religion opened him up to a very different world-view, which meant that when "the occupation of Egypt inaugurated the modern phase of British high imperialism - the infamous 'scramble for Africa'" he became a key figure in a "chorus of dissent from within Britain". Blunt, alongside other British liberals "found their assumptions and ideals challenged, complicated and reshaped by witnessing anti colonial rebellion and engaging with Egyptians involved in it".

All of these examples used by Gopal bear out this process. From Morant Bay and Egypt to the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and so on, we see how the voices and actions of rebellion led to the transformation of ideas for activists in Britain. In turn this helped fuel anti-colonial movements in the heart of the empire itself.

It would be wrong (and dangerous) however to interpret this as examples of white radicals becoming aware of social reality and then becoming the sole agents of change. Indeed Gopal shows that there was often a dialectical process between the social movements in the colonies and British thinkers and activists. But she also emphasises the role of black activists, thinkers and academics in being the agents of new ways of thinking about empire and colonial rule. For example, the London Manifesto that came out of the second Pan-African Congress in 1921, led by W.E.B du Bois, raised complex questions that still resonate today. Gopal explains:
The London Manifesto made visible a fault-line that would haunt metropolitan anti-colonialism and debates on the left over the next decades. In the execution of capitalist crime, where the project of empire was inextricable from the project of capital, could it be that white labour is 'particeps criminis with white capital'? The authors and endorsers of the manifesto were not claiming that white labour was not exploited... They also refuse to claim 'perfectness of our own', assigning black people responsibility for what the text calls 'failure to advance'. Instead, it places a more challenging question on the table: how could and show white labour assess its role in the project of imperialism given the extent to which, both consciously and unconsciously... it had been 'cajoled and flattered into imperialistic schemes.
The Manifesto, Gopal says, "put forward a difficult proposition. The problem of labour versus capital would not be solved in England... as long as a parallel dynamic 'marked the relations of the whiter and darker peoples'."

Black radical thinkers and wider events such as the Russian Revolution would shape new ideas in anti-colonial thought and practice. The London based International African Service Bureau, founded by figures including George Padmore, CLR James in 1937 would take existing anti-imperialist ideas and radically develop them. Gopal explains:
Rather than just 'translating' communist categories into 'the idiom of Pan-Africanism', the task at hand was one of creating a new language that did not repudiate other vocabularies of critique, but sought to bring them in more strenuous engagement with each other. Out of this would emerge a revitalised collaborative anticolonialism. The collective work of the IASB pointed towards Africa as n the West Indies as 'co-producers' of modernity, black intellectuals not just being influenced by European thought, but producing knowledge of the world.
Reading this in 2020 as Black Lives Matter has exploded onto the streets and forced politicians and institutions globally to address questions of historical legacy, racism and Imperialism today, I was struck by how relevant these debates felt. Gopal's book is much more than a catalogue of imperial crimes, it is an insight into the way that anti-colonial rebellion has thrown up individuals and ideas that challenge existing worldviews and forces new ways of looking at society on even distant observers. Today that process continues with debates around the politics, language and practice of the anti-racist movement. But, as Gopal concludes, studying this history, "enables Britons to lay claim to a different, more challenging history, and yet one that is more suited to a heterogeneous society which can draw on multiple historical and cultural resources."

Priyamvada Gopal's Insurgent Empire is a key text for those activists trying to understand the nature of the racist capitalist society we live in, and develop strategies and ideas to transform it. I highly recommend it.

Related Reviews

Anderson - Marx at the Margins: On Nationalism, Ethnicity & Non-Western Societies
Høgsbjerg - Chris Braithwaite: Mariner, Renegade & Castaway
Gott - Britain's Empire: Resistance, Repression and Revolt
Newsinger - The Blood Never Dried: A People's History of the British Empire
Wagner - Amritsar 1919: An Empire of Fear & the Making of a Massacre
Ward - Our Bones Are Scattered: The Cawnpore Massacres & the Indian Mutiny of 1857

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Charlie Jane Anders - All the Birds in the Sky

One of my best reads over the Covid period was Charlie Jane Anders' The City in the Middle of the Night so I was really pleased that the first book I was able to buy in an actual bookshop was her earlier book All the Birds in the Sky. I am pleased to say that this was as good a read as City and matched it for innovative thinking, entertainment and radical politics.

The novel begins with a girl and boy in a typical American school. Both are outsiders and, as a result are ostracised and bullied. Patricia is a witch, she discovers that she can speak to birds and Laurence, who becomes her friend is a technology geek, scientist and inventor of the two second time machine. The two second time machine is useless, unless you want to escape bullies, but it is enough to show the outside world that he's got extremely important skills.

As you'll already tell, this means that the book is set in a world that is not quite ours. Magic is real, though controlled by a secret network of witches. Science technology is different to our universe, but only slightly. But, similar to our own time, Patricia and Laurence's world is on the brink of disaster. As adults both Patricia and Laurence take different approaches. Patricia's magical network tries to heal unhappiness. Laurence ends up with a network innovators, headed by the billionaire Milton (modelled on Elon Musk?) who are looking for a technical way to escape Earth.

Telling you more about the story would ruin things. What's important to note though is how Anders handles the relationship between Patricia and Laurence. From their estrangement at school, based on misunderstandings and outside interference to their reunion years later, Anders explores what its is like to be an outsider, to be confused about friends and lovers and trying to understand who you are. Unfortunately Patricia and Laurence are doing all this in the context of the Unravelling of system.

In essence this is a story about friendship, but its also a warning about the dangers of trying to solve the world's crises with simple solutions - both technological and natural. But the world building is wonderful, the characters are brilliantly drawn and the growing environmental and capitalist crisis feels frighteningly real. There's a lot here: engaging entertaining reading, plenty of in-jokes and a clever plot. Great fun.

Related Reviews

Anders - The City in the Middle of the Night

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Nick Martell - The Kingdom of Liars

I was looking forward to reading Nick Martell's debut novel because it seemed to offer an intriguing basis for the magic of this fantasy land - those who specialise in various magical powers - lose memories as they use them. Its in interesting idea, implying that the magic requires something from those who seek to master it. Unfortunately this is about the only innovative idea behind the novel and I found the rest of the story overlong, meandering and, in places, confusing.

It is set in the city state of Hollow, where former noble Micheal Kingman, struggles to find his place in society. As a boy his father, a devoted follower of the king whose hereditary social position was intended to act as a balance to the ruler, is found guilty of killing the king. Branded a traitor, and exiled from the Court, Micheal remains convinced of his father's innocence.

Hollow is beset by outside threats and its rulers respond with repression and violence. But the state teeters on the brink of collapse. Michael finds himself in the midst of confusion and shifting intrigues by various court figures and mercenaries as he tries to work out what really happened on the day is father allegedly became a traitor and find a safe niche for him and his family.

It all sounds very interesting. But the story is cumbersome and overly complicated. In older fantasy there was usually an attempt to build the world early in the book so the reader can understand the actions of the characters in their context. Nick Martell has chosen however to reveal important aspects of the world and its magic through the book, so there are lots of confusing references that only make sense when something is explained later, often much later. These include key information that explains how Hollow is ruled. At other times I was left bemused - Martell emphasises the strangeness and magical nature of Hollow, but ensures that our characters breakfast heartily on bacon and tea. The combination of fantasy and normal made little sense to me.

While Martell manages to create a real atmosphere of disintegrating social chaos around the rulers of Hollow, he fails to follow this up with fleshed out characters. Michael Kingman's behaviour seemed unreal to me. He constantly makes decisions that seem utterly, well, stupid. I ended up finding him really annoying rather than identifying with his flawed heroism as the author clearly wanted me to. This, combined with confusing world-building, left me unsatisfied and unlikely to read the sequels.

Monday, July 27, 2020

The Vinland Sagas - The Norse Discovery of America

Conventional wisdom has it that in 1492 Christopher Columbus "discovered" America. Of course he didn't discover it - that was the privilege of those people who crossed the Bering Straits some tens of thousands of years before and created complex societies from North to South of the Americas. But Columbus' discovery however is a useful narrative that seeks to place Europeans as the most important people in the Americas. It also conveniently wipes from history the experience of other explorers, raiders and colonisers who got there 500 years before 1492 from Greenland. The Vikings.

The two Viking sagas that make up this book, with a supporting introduction from Magnus Magnusson and Hermann Pálsson, tell the story of these expeditions. The Grælendinga and Eirik's sagas detail the way that Vikings from Greenland discovered, by chance, the lands and tried to initially colonise them.

The actual sagas are short - in fact the introduction is longer than either tale, the authors of which caution against reading the sagas as either historical accounts or stories. They are, in fact, cultural artefacts which combine history with important genealogical information as well as exciting tales. Much ink has been spilt trying to match up landscape details with real life geology in the Americas, and this has been only partially successful. Its worth noting that the introduction here is written only shortly after the Norse site at L'Anse aux Meadow was discovered, so archaeological evidence is limited.

Readers attempting to see these sagas as simply historic accounts and those transposing information directly will quickly come unstuck. What to make of the Viking account of a Uniped that kills one of the colonisers? Perhaps that bit was invented during one of the retelling of the sagas, or a story that returned with the first visitors to North America. Either way, like other accounts of the ancient past, there is a tendency to seamlessly blend fantasy into the narrative.

But there is some interesting, if very limited, information here about the region the Vikings arrived in. Similar accounts in both the sagas show the Vikings traded red cloth for local goods, especially food. The region had both vines (hence the name) and grains, as well as much wildlife. In an interesting account the Vikings send two slaves off to explore who return with reports of excellent land suitable for cultivation.

Backing up the main narrative is information on Viking voyages from European mainland to Iceland and on to Greenland. The Greenland Viking colony (given that name to make it more attractive to settlers as both sagas attest) is often imagined to have been unsuccessful and shortlived - conditions were even harder than Iceland. But it is clear that multiple voyages to North America provided resources, particularly wood, for the colony. Nonetheless the Viking community survived in Greenland for 500 years, making it more successful than some more modern states.

Both sagas, and the introduction, are readable and entertaining, as well as provoking many other questions for the reader. They give a sense of a much more dynamic society 1000 years ago than we usually believe. And, they also remind us, that had Native Americans driven Columbus back into the sea in 1492, as their ancestors eventually drove the Vikings off, then history might have been a little different.

Related Reviews

Parker - The Northmen's Fury
Gaiman - Norse Mythology
Lindsay - The Normans and their World

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Mark Roseman - The Villa, The Lake, The Meeting: Wannsee and the Final Solution

When I was young we had several trips to Berlin to visit family. There we would always look forward to visiting the Wannsee resort, playing on the artificial beach and exploring the woods. Many years later I was horrified to learn that Wannsee was synonymous with the Holocaust.

On the 20 of January 1942 senior figures in the Nazi bureaucracy assembled at a villa in Wannsee. The subject of the conference was the "Final Solution" of the "Jewish Question". The conference itself was relatively small, with 15 delegates representing different sections of the government. Convened by Reinhard Heydrich who reported to Himmler, the conference had the stamp of authority from the highest levels in the Nazi government though, ironically, author Mark Roseman argues we don't clearly know why it was called.

Wannsee would have remained forgotten had it not been that a single copy of the thirty minutes printed after the event would turn up in the post-war investigations into Nazi crimes. These minutes (known as Protocols in German) summarised the event and its conclusions. Some investigators hoped this would be the smoking gun that showed the Nazi machine deciding to embark up on programme of mass murder. But as Roseman explains, that programme had already begun. Instead, the event appears to have been an occasion to discuss the problems that arose from the planned destruction of the Jews in terms of resources, but also - chillingly - to thrash out who in the bureaucracy had ultimate responsibility. It also, as Roseman concludes, was a place where the high-command was informing lower levels of existing decisions:
The Wannsee conference is thus a king of keyhole, through which we can glimpse the emerging Final Solution. It took place at a time when the idea of a reservation had been abandoned, labour scarcities were pressing and when the Nazis may or may not have decided exactly how to eliminate all the Jews. But it is evident that Wannsee is not the place at which the murder decisions themselves es were taken. For the most part, Heydrich was disseminating conclusions drawn elsewhere. On some issues the participants had something to say; for the most part their role was to listen and to nod.
The Wannsee Protocols are published in the book's appendix, though they are easy to find online. It is a awful document to read - their structure is similar to the minutes produced from normal conferences and meetings, but their subject is mass murder. Roseman points out that the language is made up of euphemisms that disguise the real subjects - talk of Jewish "reservations" and "emigration" when the Nazis had already ruled out these strategies. Roseman writes:
The euphemisms were its normal mode of communicating about murder, and will have served here to remind recipients of the language codes they should use. At the same time it was so vital to establish the participants' shared knowledge in the killing programme that this overrode the need for caution. This is why Lammers, Stuckart and others were at such pains after the war to deny having seen the Protocol, to escape from the trap that Heydrich had set them.
But reading the Wannsee Protocol myself I was stunned by how open the language is. It is impossible to read these sentences without seeing a group of men around a conference table discussing mass murder.
Jews fit to work will work their way eastwards constructing roads. Doubtless the large majority will be eliminated by natural causes. Any final remnant that survives will doubtless consist of the most resistant elements. They will have to be dealt with appropriately.
The men having these discussions, and enjoying a brandy afterwards, were just bureaucrats. These were "educated" men, most of whom had doctorates. But almost all of whom had long years in Nazi organisations. These were dedicated fascists, who had spent years advocating the destruction of Jewish people and other undesirables. In addition, Roseman points out that "what is striking is how many people round the table had given direct killing orders or themselves had experience of killing". As a result, "no one arrived at Wannsee with even the faintest intention of speaking up for the Jews".

As mentioned Wannsee was not the moment the Holocaust was agreed. The Holocaust was a process that evolved over time, having its origins in the Nazi genocidal ideology, with its specifics arising from the realities of total war on the Eastern Front, the horrors of Nazi treatment of Jews and the violence of the fascist state. But the Wannsee conference, in Roseman's words, "cleared the way for genocide" by pulling in the fascist bureaucracy behind the plans. Mark Roseman's short book is an important insight into how, once Nazis take power, the machinery exists to turn genocidal fantasy into reality.

Related Reviews

Browning - The Origins of the Final Solution
Kershaw - Hitler, 1936-1945: Hubris
Kershaw - Hitler, 1936-1945: Nemesis
Lipstadt - Denying the Holocaust
Lipstadt - The Eichmann Trail
Evans - Telling Lies About Hitler
Black - IBM and the Holocaust