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Denying History


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About the Author

Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and Adjunct Professor of Economics at Claremont Graduate University. Alex Grobman is President of the Institute for Contemporary Jewish Life and the Brenn Institute.


Holocaust denialÄback in the news since the British courts shot down David Irving's libel suit against Deborah Lipstadt (for her groundbreaking book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory) in AprilÄgets an inventively thorough treatment in this important book. Keeping their focus on larger questions about historical rigor and public memory, Shermer (a professor of the history of science at Occidental College and publisher of Skeptic magazine) and Grobman (Rekindling the Flame) look closely at the methods employed by deniers and those used by legitimate historians. "Holocaust denial," they argue, "is not just a Jewish issue. It is an attack on all history and the way we transmit the past to the future." Drawing on a wide array of evidenceÄinterviews they conducted with famous deniers (including Irving himself) and text from their Web sites and literatureÄthe authors explore the difference between legitimate historical revisionism and pseudohistorical denial. They note that historians interested in revising accepted knowledge depend on a wide variety of sources to draw a picture of an event or periodÄif some of that evidence is contradictory, then respectful scholarly debate ensues; if new evidence surfaces, then the historical record gets revised. Deniers, on the contrary, use the barest of evidenceÄone contradiction, for exampleÄto discount entire arguments; meanwhile, they bolster their own arguments with out-of-context phrases and mistranslations. Using the deniers' own words to tear down their arguments, Shermer and Grobman provide a clear method for determining the reality of past events and supply a powerful weapon for anyone who cares about learning from the credible historical record. 42 b&w photos. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"Should be required reading for everyone!" Martyrdom & Resistance

Shermer, founder/publisher of Skeptic magazine, and Grobman, most recently editor of In Defense of the Survivors, team up for this in-depth case study of pseudohistory, using the Holocaust revisionist movement. The revisionists have tried to rewrite the past by finding small fallacies within the Holocaust structure, clinging to them, and concluding that because one small portion is incorrect, therefore the travesty that we call the Holocaust never happened. The authors immerse themselves in this subculture, reading the literature, meeting with the leaders, and visiting the concentration camps to examine and refute each revisionist claim. In so doing, their meticulous work not only disproves Holocaust denials while confirming the horrors of the Holocaust but also lays a framework for examining how we know that any historical event actually happened. Fascinating and thorough, this book is essential for academic and large public libraries and for all Holocaust collections.DJill Jaracz, MLIS, Chicago Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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