"Phayer offers exactly what was needed.... A fair and even-tempered account of a volatile subject." --Kirkus Reviews
"An important addition to the literature of the Holocaust." --Publishers Weekly
"Very valuable... a fine and judicious book." --Istvan Deak, The New York Review of Books
"Phayer has written a singularly important book on the role of the Catholic Church in both the Holocaust and its aftermath, up to and including Vatican II. Diligently researched and documented, judicious in its conclusions, comprehensive in its scope, compassionate and humane in its outlook, this book is an indispensable resource." --Richard L. Rubenstein
"Phayer's study of the Catholic Church] as an actor in the tumultuous history of the 20th century] will serve as a model for other historians." --Donald J. Dietrich, Boston College
Phayer's book, particularly strong on German source material, is at pains to list Pius's strong points his piety, his loathing of Hitler, the instances of personal warmth, the occasions when he criticized Nazism. Phayer examines not only Pius's actions but those of other leading Catholics, and his study extends beyond the end of World War II to follow the evolution of official Catholic thinking during the rebuilding of Germany, the cold war, and the gradual theological reforms that led to Vatican II. This enables Phayer to show how the church completely reversed its position relative to the Jews, but it also gives him a more thorough reading of Pius XII's overall record. It is a damning and convincing verdict that emerges." --Commonweal
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.1" Width: 6.1" Height: 0.7"
Weight: 1.25 lbs.
Release Date May 22, 2001
Publisher Indiana University Press
Availability 0 units.
Reviews - What do our customers think?
|Get Your Facts Straight First May 14, 2007|
|Before I form an opinion or rush to judgement on any subject, I like to get my facts straight first. I will do research to get differing viewpoints. This book is a step in that direction. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.|
|Anachronisms and Prejudice Jul 5, 2006|
|I winced on almost every page of Phayer's book. Historians are paid, presumably, to help us understand well......history, the perceptions, motivations and issues at play in a prior era. Historical analysis, synthesis and judgments should say something to us about the actual conditions people lived and experienced -- in doing so an historian is even better positioned to pass the moral judgments Phayer is so addicted to. |
In Phayer's book we have no such thing but instead an overblown thesis that Pius XII can only be understood as obsessed with anti-communism and his role as peacemaker. Phayer arrives at his negative judgment on Pius XII largely by anachronism in his analysis, and selectivity and bias in his use (and lack of use) of key references. Considering all the ink that has been spilt over Pius XII, his detractors no longer deserve a pass when they fail to even mention now well documented and thoroughly vetted evidence that disproves parts of the Pius-the-bad-guy thesis. Almost every page is loaded with these errors.
One example will have to suffice. Phayer condemns Pius XII's 1942 Christmas message as weak and ineffectual, "...no one, certainly not the Germans, took it as a protest against their slaughter of the Jews."
Contrast Phayer's assessment to that of a German government report which described the pope's 1942 speech as, "...one long attack on everything we stand for, HERE HE IS CLEARLY SPEAKING ON BEHALF OF THE JEWS [emphasis added] and makes himself the mouthpiece of the Jewish war criminals."
There are plenty of other references to the contemporary impact of Pius' 1942 speech, to include the German ambassador, the New York Times and Mussolini's government.
None of that matters to writers like Phayer and his ilk, they are, it must finally be said lousy historians ---- using anachronistic reasoning and blithely ignoring or otherwise suborning evidence that does not meet their prejudiced preconceptions. They are hardly writing history at all, but are themselves mouthpieces for anti-catholicism.
The end result of their endeavors though is transferring blame for the holocaust away from its perpetrators and exploiting the deaths of millions for their personal prejudices.
|The definitive story May 16, 2002|
|This book removed itself from all of the hype, defensiveness and trash talking that seems to surround this topic. Michael Phayer approached the topic systematically and objectively and in so doing has produced a book that for me seems to be the definitive work on this subject. A must read for anyone interested in the history of Pius XII and the Holocaust.|
|Fair and thorough Mar 2, 2002|
|This book explains the response of the Catholic Church to the Nazi Government and the Holocaust. Coverage is given to time periods before, during, and after the Holocaust. Ample coverage is given to actions of the Church and individual Catholics that were praiseworthy and to actions or nonactions that were shameful. There was much of both.|
Unlike many other books and customer reviewers on this subject, the author appears not to have a particular bias that colors his analysis and assessment of every topic covered. The book is neither a blanket condemnation nor a blind hagiography. As such,
I recommend it highly.
|Poor scholarship Apr 30, 2001|
|Like so many hatchet jobs on poor Pius XII, the author systematically ignores the evidence of the pope's longstanding opposition to Nazism and anti-Semitism (no citations of his famous condemnation of anti-Semitism at Lourdes) and exaggerates the alleged anti-Semitism of obscure Catholic officials and publications. It is striking how little attention is paid to the Vatican newspaper and radio, which repeatedly detailed and denounced Nazi atrocities.|
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