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Moral combat : good and evil in World War II
Michael Burleigh
Adult Nonfiction D743 .B78 2011

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From Publishers' Weekly:

A moral history of WWII would be brief, said one wit, but respected British historian Burleigh (Blood Rage: A Cultural History of Terrorism) delivers a long, riveting account of awful events and the perverted reasoning behind them. Communist, Nazi, Fascist, and Japanese systems claimed to be regimes of public virtue carrying out inexorable historical processes. Proclaiming that the only evil was obstructing this march to utopia, all discarded the rule of law and alternative moral authority (religion, ethics). The Holocaust and other familiar WWII atrocities top off an exhaustive litany of mass murder, brutality, and squalid cruelty perpetrated by governments, military leaders, local officials, and ordinary individuals who, acting without moral values, became monsters. Burleigh does not ignore Hiroshima and Allied mass bombing campaigns, but deplores the current fashion for balancing the moral books. All nations acted shamefully, he concludes, but denies that Eleanor Roosevelt's youthful anti-Semitism made America complicit with Hitler, as one recent revisionist implied. 16 pages of color photos. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Burleigh (The Third Reich: A New History) presents an examination of controversial and morally questionable choices made during the war. All nations had blood on their hands-the Allies reasoning that bad things must sometimes be undertaken to accomplish the greater good. Burleigh covers the Holocaust itself, the aerial bombings of Germany, and the atom bomb, as well as Marshal Petain's possible agenda in Vichy France, resistance activity, and Churchill's religious interpretation of the war. Burleigh also fills out the personal contexts in which particular leaders and soldiers operated, but additional specific discussion may have further aided readers. Nonetheless, this is a good starting point for debates on morality in wartime. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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