Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil

“Fascinating…the history wars shape far more than how we remember the past.  They shape the societies we bequeath to future generations.  Susan Neiman’s book is an important and welcome weapon in that battle.”  —Deborah Lipstadt, The New York Times

“None of the Americans who’ve seen the connection has had Neiman’s comprehensive knowledge of how the Germans have worked to overcome their past; none has pursued it so tenaciously, so originally.”  — Michael Gorra, The New York Review of Books

“Susan Neiman relates hard truths from which others shrink.  Her audacious work is a refreshing change from those, afraid to offend, who leave unsaid things that seem self-evident.”  —Michael Henry Adams, The Guardian

“Incisive, vivid and highly readable, forceful in its impact and unsettling in many of its revelations.”  —David Donoghue, Dublin Review of Books

“Richly rewarding, consistently stimulating and beautifully written…This disturbing but hopeful and insightful book wrestles with questions of who we are as human beings and what values we have as a nation.”  —Roger Bishop, Book Page

“Susan Neiman has devised a genre that’s encompassing enough to address the problem of evil:  investigative philosophy.  She tests moral concepts against lived realities, revealing actual human beings wrestling with – or away from – the unforgiving book.  This compelling, discerning book is as necessary and provocative as its title.”  —Todd Gitlin

“This is a moving, deep, important book.”  —Randall L. Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard University

“An enthralling moral meditation on mass social sin and its expiation as practiced in post-Third Reich Germany and the postapartheid American South. Susan Neiman, a citizen-philosopher who has never shied from difficult topics, has mustered her stylish pen, formidable intelligence, and unique experience as a southern Jewish expat in Germany to produce a nuanced work of conscience with urgent relevance.” —Diane McWhorter, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Carry Me Home

Learning from the Germans asks a deep question: As Americans struggle, once again, with the legacy of slavery, what can they learn from the German attempt to come to terms with the Holocaust? Susan Neiman’s eloquent, moving, and searching answer is clear. It is time for Americans to listen and to learn from the anguish and truth-seeking of the German confrontation with evil.” —Michael Ignatieff, Professor of History at Central European University


Selected Reviews