Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
A Nation on Trial

A Nation on Trial

The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth

Norman G. Finkelstein and Ruth Bettina Birn

Metropolitan Books



No recent work of history has generated as much interest as Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners. Purporting to solve the mystery of the Nazi holocaust, Goldhagen maintains that ordinary Germans were driven by fanatical anti-Semitism to murder the Jews. An immediate national best-seller, the book went on to create an international sensation.

Now, in A Nation on Trial, two leading critics challenge Goldhagen's findings and show that his work is not scholarship at all. With compelling cumulative effect, Norman G. Finkelstein meticulously documents Goldhagen's distortions of secondary literature and the internal contradictions of his argument. In a complementary essay, Ruth Bettina Birn juxtaposes Goldhagen's text against the German archives he consulted. The foremost international authority on these archives, Birn conclusively demonstrates that Goldhagen systematically misrepresented their contents.

The definitive statement on the Goldhagen phenomenon, this volume is also a cautionary tale on the corruption of scholarship by ideological zealotry.


Praise for A Nation on Trial

“All readers of Goldhagen's controversial book should take note of these much-needed studies which authoritatively dismantle its arguments.” —Eric Hobsbawm

“Finkelstein's contribution is more than a dessection: it tells us something about where we are.” —Raul Hilberg

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Norman G. Finkelstein and Ruth Bettina Birn

Norman G. Finkelstein, author of two acclaimed studies on the Israel-Palestine conflict, teaches political theory at Hunter College and New York University.

Ruth Bettina Birn is chief historian in the War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity Section of the Department of Justice, Canada. She lives in Toronto.

Norman G. Finkelstein

Ruth Bettina Birn

Ruth Bettina Birn

From the Publisher

Metropolitan Books

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