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Published in Central European History, Vol. 34, No. 3 --"The Peasantry in Early Modern Central Europe: The State of the Field" (2001), pp. 464-466 Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Conference Group for Central European History of the American Historical Association. Used by permission.


The Holocaust has undeniably become a fixture in American culture. What has come to be called the "Americanization of the Holocaust" is the subject of several recent books, a lively discussion within the American Jewish community, and even a course in American history at the University of Heidelberg. Among the many attempts to document and explain how the Holocaust has been Americanized, perhaps the most ambitious and provocative is Peter Novick's The Holocaust in American Life. The book is ambitious both on account of its chronological breadth, covering the entire period from the Second World War to the present day, as well as on account of the wide range of published and unpublished sources consulted by the author. It is provocative primarily because it argues that the preoccupation with the Holocaust has not been a healthy phenomenon for American society, its Jewish minority, and a balanced understanding of the Holocaust itself.

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