The Logic of Evil
The Social Origins of the Nazi Party, 1925-1933 New edition
By (author) William I. Brustein
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Logic of Evil by William I. Brustein
Book DescriptionWhy did millions of apparently sane, rational Germans join the Nazi Party between 1925 and 1933? In this provocative book, William Brustein argues that Nazi supporters were no different from citizens anywhere who select a political party or candidate they believe will promote their economic interests. The roots of evil, he suggests, may be ordinary indeed. "A fascinating story of how ordinary Germans joined an extraordinary party for ordinary reasons...Brustein has written an important book. The database is impressive, the theory is provocative, and the conclusions are scary."-Jeffrey Kopstein, American Political Science Review "An important book on the social origins of the Nazi Party from 1925 to 1933...Its conclusions are significant."-Richard J. Evans, Jewish Chronicle "The most useful part of this book is the group of chapters in which the author analyzes the material interests of different classes and the responses of the various Weimar parties."-Stanley Hoffmann, Foreign Affairs "The Logic of Evil ...is destined to become an important contribution to the sociology of Nazism and other extreme political movements." -American Journal of Sociology "Combining new historical data with acute attention to the problem of individual decisions, Brustein makes frighteningly clear how Nazism could be a reasonable choice for Germans in the 1930s. An important contribution to understanding how radical movements attract followers, and to understanding the rise of the Nazi Party."-Jack A. Goldstone, University of California, Davis William Brustein is professor and chair of the department of sociology at the University of Minnesota
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780300074321
(229mm x 152mm x 14mm)
Imprint: Yale University Press
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publish Date: 17-Apr-1998
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author William I. Brustein
Socialism of Fools?, Hardback (July 2015)
This study examines fully the role that the historic European left has played in developing and espousing anti-Semitic views.
Roots of Hate, Paperback (October 2003)» View all books by William I. Brustein
This 2003 book offers a truly systematic comparative and empirical examination of anti-Semitism within Europe before the Holocaust.
US Kirkus Review » A study of the rise of the Nazi Party that is sure to stir controversy. Traditional interpretations of National Socialism have stressed its irrational character: its mythial evocation of the Teutonic past; its pseudo-science of race and eugenics; and above all, its murderous anti-Semitism. Brustein (Sociology/Univ. of Minnesota) challenges us to reconsider who joined the Nazi Party before 1933 and why. Based on an examination of millions of documents and membership files from the Berlin Document Center, Brustein and his associates have compiled profiles of the millions of Germans who supported Hitler's rise to power. The theoretical framework for the study is the "rational-choice" model of social scientists: the idea that individuals and groups will act in accordance with their economic self-interest. As he states early and often: Before 1933, when the Germans still had free choice, millions supported the National Socialist party on the basis of rational factors rather than Hitler's charisma or the irrationalism of Nazi ideology. But the author makes a fundamental confusion between acting rationally and acting in one's best interest. Millions of Germans may have very calmly concluded that the irrational Nazi program was in their best interest, having been told for decades, if not centuries, that the Jew was the bane of their existence. Equally contentious is Brustein's assertion, as stated in the title, that evil can have logical or rational roots. Further, he argues that the Germans could not foresee the horrors of the war and the Holocaust between 1925 and 1933; yet anyone who has read Hitler's speeches or Mein Kampf cannot avoid the conclusion that the Germans knew exactly what the logical outcome of a Nazi society would be. Since anti-Semitism was deeply rooted in Germany, Brustein's contention that "Hitler was astute enough as a politician to realize that his rabid anti-Semitism lacked the drawing power among the German masses" seems bizarre. A fundamentally flawed work, yet one that demands consideration and response. (Kirkus Reviews)
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