There are history books that just give long narratives that make you yearn for a picture or map to break the monotony from the information overload. Then there are the books that have just as much information or more but in a manner that is invitingly educational. I found such a book in From Prejudice to Genocide: Learning about the Holocaust by Carrie Supple.
This is a Holocaust book unlike any other you have seen. The only way to fully describe it is to just get right down to the pros and cons of it.
- Writing Style - This book is written in a manner that a twelve year old could read it and understand the message Supple is giving. It is also in a style that an adult will not find childish but informative and easy to read.
- Flexibility - You will find that this book can be used to further educate yourself on the Holocaust, or it can be used in the classroom to bring the Holocaust to life and not just have it as a distant event in history.
- Primary Sources – Many of the sources an author uses is just referred to and then noted in a footnote or bibliography. Finding a quote is usually the extent that primary sources are found. This book is full of primary sources. Pictures of posters, memorandums, diary entries, and the like are found throughout the book. Instead of paraphrasing what the eyewitnesses saw, Supple lets them speak loudly for themselves.
- Questions – Throughout the chapters, the author poses questions for the reader to think about. They prompt the reader to bring to life the events on the pages instead of just reading them. For a classroom setting, they make good discussion questions.
- Pictures – You will not be able to complain about the lack of pictures found in the book. Photos abound of major players, innocent victims, and locations of various events. Supple inserts a picture of a one victim’s mother to show how they had families and were like many of those that murdered them.
- Charts and Maps – She also includes various charts and maps to explain the emigration processes, the number of dead, and to compare the concentration camps. They are great summaries of the narrative which is quite useful for any visual learners.
- Expanse of Holocaust - To many, the Jews were the only victims of the Holocaust. Supple explains how the Jews were the vast majority who were persecuted and perished but in no way were they the only victims. Anyone who was considered different or a roadblock for the Reich was eliminated. That included homosexuals, typical criminals, gypsies, blacks, mentally ill, and the handicapped. No one was exempt from possible death and torture.
- Poor Editing/Proofreading – I was disappointed to find that a few of the pages were replaced by pages from earlier in the book as the missing pages contained information on figures that helped many Jews escape. There were also many spelling and formatting issues that periodically detracted from the text.
This was outstanding piece of Holocaust literature that really helped me get a better understanding of the event and made the extent of it and the horror it more real to me. It brought characters to life that told their own stories and showed me the hell that they lived in day to day. If you want a book that gives simple and complete Holocaust information, this is a book you have to have. From Prejudice to Genocide might have some editing issues, but that should in no way prevent you from checking this book out.
Disclaimer: This book was purchased by the author for a history class.