Nuremberg : Infamy on Trial

By in Foreign & International Law on March 22, 2013

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“A vivid reconstruction of the actions of the wartime allies and the Nazi elite at Nuremberg. Persico eaily carries us into a deeper understanding of the trials.”—New York Newsday.

2 thoughts on “Nuremberg : Infamy on Trial

  1. Barron Laycock "Labradorman"
    28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Quite Well Written Look At Nuremberg Trials!, July 28, 2000
    Barron Laycock “Labradorman” (Temple, New Hampshire United States) –

    This review is from: Nuremberg : Infamy on Trial (Paperback)

    Nothing so defines the differences separating the Third Reich from the Allies as the way in which the defendants of the trials at Nuremberg were handled. With painstaking precision and at extraordinary cost in terms of international arm-twisting and back-door deals, the proponents of a judicial proceeding designed to illustrate the manifest individual guilt of the various Nazi officials forged a result that still stands today as a model of a non-retributive effort in the face of extraordinary pressure. In this book author Joseph Persico offers a ground-level introduction to the motley cast of characters on trial as well as the collection of interested others who gathered to oversee the proceedings.

    Achieving the result of fair trials that would literally change the perspective of the world toward participants in war was anything but easy, and moving toward that deliberate goal is a theme providing an interesting theme punctuating the pace of the book. Churchill wanted revenge by way of summary trials and quick retribution, while the Russians just wanted to string up the whole group in a mass hanging. Yet American Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson was able to resolve the differences well enough to proceed, although at times the reader wonders if the trials will be anything like the fair-minded judicial event he has in mind. Indeed, the back-stabbing, personal ambitions, and petty jealousies of the various factions, trial officials, and individual defendants becomes a kind of political circus that sometimes resembles nothing so much as vaudevillian showboating.

    Still, the efforts at conducting a fair and open forum for the world to watch as the prosecution and defense teams clashed before the international tribunal prevailed, and the trials concluded with mixed results in terms of the results. Most of the defendants were found guilty, and many were hanged. Yet few observers doubted that the defendants had had their day in court along with and adequate opportunity to defend their actions to a watching world. Given how little justice and liberty they collectively allowed for their tens of millions of victims, it is remarkable just how civilized and dignified a proceeding the Nuremberg trials were, with all their theatrics and subterranean undercurrents. One marvels at the fact that after fifty years the world still stands in awe at the deliberate, careful, and methodical way in which the Allies achieved the result of a rational and fair trial of the defendants in history’s most horrific modern nightmare, the terror of the Third Reich.

    This is an interesting and absorbing book, and a fascinating and entertaining book to read. It was also particularly interesting to me since I had recently viewed the telecast by TNT based on this book which covered the trials, and the book served to fill out a lot of the remaining questions I had regarding the nature of the individual personalities from Truman to Churchill to Jackson to Biddle and the others. This is a worthwhile book, and I recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about these singular trials and their impact on history.

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  2. Justin Gerstein
    23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Perscico’s might be the best of the Nuremberg books, February 25, 1998
    By A Customer
    This review is from: Nuremberg : Infamy on Trial (Paperback)

    I’ve always been facinated by the Nuremberg trials, and last year I actually took a college course solely on Nuremberg, so I’ve read many Nremberg historicals in my life. I think that this one might be the best simply because it is written in the most interesting way. Persico takes you through the trial as if it were a novel with twists and climaxes in its plot. He also interjects a fair amount of subjective criticism into the book ( much of which I disagree with ). I would recommend this book even above those written by trial participants such as Taylor’s and Tusa’s books for readers interested in learning about the shape and scope of the trials. This is especially true for readers new to the Nuremberg trial since this book is more likely than most to keep your attention throughout the book. The only book about Nuremberg that I have read that is better than Persico’s is psychologist G.M. Gilbert’s “Nuremberg Diary.” Although this one is better for readers interested in learning about the trial itself.

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