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Some Damn Foolish Thing

Thomas Laqueur: Wrong Turn in Sarajevo, 5 December 2013

The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 
by Christopher Clark.
Allen Lane, 697 pp., £30, September 2013, 978 0 7139 9942 6
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... The 19th-century way of putting it was to say that the ‘owl of Minerva flies at dusk’. Walter Benjamin puts it in a more 20th-century sort of way: A Klee painting named Angelus Novus shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are ...

While Statues Sleep

Thomas Laqueur, 18 June 2020

Learning from the Germans: Confronting Race and the Memory of Evil 
by Susan Neiman.
Allen Lane, 415 pp., £20, August 2019, 978 0 241 26286 3
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... long and convoluted. The notion of the Lost Cause had its origin in the antebellum South, where Walter Scott’s novels were in every literate household. Jefferson Davis, the wartime president of the Confederate states, made a pilgrimage to Culloden four years after their defeat. Such thinking blossomed in the next decades, when in the imagination of its ...

Four pfennige per track km

Thomas Laqueur: Adolf Eichmann and Holocaust photography, 4 November 2004

Eichmann: His Life and Crimes 
by David Cesarani.
Heinemann, 458 pp., £20, August 2004, 0 434 01056 1
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Photographing the Holocaust: Interpretations of the Evidence 
by Janina Struk.
Tauris, 251 pp., £15.95, December 2003, 1 86064 546 1
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... depict the ghetto as he knew it. (The colour photographs – there are several hundred – are by Walter Genewein, the chief Nazi accountant in the Lódz´ Ghetto.) One can see Mostowicz’s point. There is no smell; photographs may give off whiffs of paper and chemicals but they don’t make visible the odours that fill their air. Mostowicz speaks, on ...

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