Unique, brilliantly-executed and sure to spark controversy and debate about our past as well as our future, HUMAN SMOKE powerfully illustrates the world's gradual and horrifying advance towards World War II and the Holocaust. Were the voices of the time predicting its inevitability? Meticulously researched… More »
Unique, brilliantly-executed and sure to spark controversy and debate about our past as well as our future, HUMAN SMOKE powerfully illustrates the world's gradual and horrifying advance towards World War II and the Holocaust. Were the voices of the time predicting its inevitability? Meticulously researched and incredibly well-documented, Nicholson Baker uses sources including newspaper and magazine articles, radio broadcasts, memoirs and diaries to juxtapose hundreds of interrelated moments of decision, brutality, suffering and mercy - all cleverly structured in a series of powerful vignettes. Questioning the much-romanticised myths of the 1930s and '40s, Baker shows us that it was thanks in part to Churchill that Mussolini ascended to power so quickly, and that, before leading the United States against Nazi Germany, a young FDR spent much of his time lobbying for a restriction in the number of Jews admitted to Harvard. Conversely, HUMAN SMOKE also reminds us of those who had the foresight to anticipate the coming bloodshed and the courage to oppose the tide of history, as Gandhi demonstrated when he made his symbolic walk to the ocean - for which he was immediately imprisoned by the British. Praised by critics and readers alike for his exquisitely observant eye and deft, inimitable prose, Nicholson Baker has assembled a narrative within HUMAN SMOKE that unfolds gracefully, tragically and persuasively. An utterly compelling account of the sickening loss humanity has borne at its own hand which poses the question: Are we going down the same path again?« Less
the beginnings of World War II, the end of civilization
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