Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
“A remarkable - and singularly chilling - glimpse of human behavior...This meticulously researched book...represents a major contribution to the literature of the Holocaust." (Newsweek)
Now available in audio for the first time, Christopher R. Browning’s shocking account of how a unit of average middle-aged Germans became the cold-blooded murderers of tens of thousands of Jews - now with a new afterword and additional photographs.
Ordinary Men is the true story of Reserve Police Battalion 101 of the German Order Police, which was responsible for mass shootings as well as round-ups of Jewish people for deportation to Nazi death camps in Poland in 1942. Browning argues that most of the men of RPB 101 were not fanatical Nazis but, rather, ordinary middle-aged, working-class men who committed these atrocities out of a mixture of motives, including the group dynamics of conformity, deference to authority, role adaptation, and the altering of moral norms to justify their actions.
Very quickly three groups emerged within the battalion: a core of eager killers, a plurality who carried out their duties reliably but without initiative, and a small minority who evaded participation in the acts of killing without diminishing the murderous efficiency of the battalion whatsoever. While this book discusses a specific Reserve Unit during WWII, the general argument Browning makes is that most people succumb to the pressures of a group setting and commit actions they would never do of their own volition.
Ordinary Men is a powerful, chilling, and important work with themes and arguments that continue to resonate today.
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|Listening Length||10 hours|
|Author||Christopher R. Browning|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||07 April 2020|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 2,101 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
1 in History of Poland
2 in History of Eastern Europe (Books)
2 in Eastern European History
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A warning as to how groups of conscripted ‘ordinary men’ can be manipulated, coerced and encouraged to carry out acts of dehumanising evil. ending in slaughter and cold hearted murder on an industrial scale. While some soldiers refused to carry out their orders, others relished the murder, The frightening point of this book is that the majority of conscripts simply shrugged their shoulders and got on with the ‘job’ at hand.
Mass murder and genocide have happened more than once throughout human history, they will very probably happen again. None are so blind as those blinded by ideology and labouring under the illusion of ‘a grand destiny’. Then there are those who harden their hearts and either ‘just follow orders’ or simply ‘look the other way.’. Truly terrifying food for thought.
The sad thing is the book also shows how little justice has been served for the most cruel murders of thousands of men, women and children. When the legal system did act, the punishment was laughably inadequate and almost certainly didn't affect the most serious offenders. Policeman murdering Jews during the war serving also as a policeman after the war is telling us possibly more than the author intended... It shows that Nuremberg trials have only given us "feel good illusion of justice" while most of the "ordinary murderers" were not only not punished but lived their lives even in positions demanding respect.
A truly brilliant account of the horrors of the Nazi regime and how easily they could happen again.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 May 2021