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Hi Hitler!
How the Nazi Past Is Being Normalized in Contemporary Culture

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  • Date Published: December 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107073999


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About the Authors
  • The Third Reich's legacy is in flux. For much of the post-war period, the Nazi era has been viewed moralistically as an exceptional period of history intrinsically different from all others. Since the turn of the millennium, however, this view has been challenged by a powerful wave of normalization. Gavriel D. Rosenfeld charts this important international trend by examining the shifting representation of the Nazi past in contemporary western intellectual and cultural life. Focusing on works of historical scholarship, popular novels, counterfactual histories, feature films, and Internet websites, he identifies notable changes in the depiction of the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the figure of Adolf Hitler himself. By exploring the origins of these works and assessing the controversies they have sparked in the United States and Europe, Hi Hitler! offers a fascinating and timely analysis of the shifting status of the Nazi past in western memory.

    • Illustrates how the Nazi past has become increasingly normalized within western memory since the year 2000
    • Considers how the exceptionality of the Nazi legacy is being increasingly relativized, universalized, and aestheticized
    • Shows how the proliferation of Internet memes such as 'Advice Hitler' reflect not only the centrality of irony, parody, and satire in contemporary internet culture but also the shifting status of the Nazi past in western memory
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    • Co-Winner, 2017 Sybil Halpern Milton Memorial Book Prize, German Studies Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Endowed with erudition, deep scholarship, fluent style and a sense of humor, Hi Hitler is a major contribution to our understanding of current memories of the Third Reich and their consequences.' Alon Confino, author of A World Without Jews: The Nazi Imagination from Persecution to Genocide

    'Gavriel D. Rosenfeld's Hi Hitler! is a compelling analysis of the way a broad range of scholars, filmmakers, and writers have addressed and are currently addressing the legacy of Nazism, the Third Reich and the Holocaust. Anyone who wonders how a specifically situated historical event has come to have such broad resonance and meaning today across continents, cultures, religions and nationalities will find this book indispensable.' Deborah Lipstadt, author of History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier and Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory

    'Gavriel D. Rosenfeld has tracked the idea of Hitler - in all its revisionist guises - with keen insight, care and spectacular force.' Noah Isenberg, author of Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins

    'An interesting and important book, because it will give many readers - as it did this one - much food for thought. It takes us forward in understanding contemporary processes of confronting Nazism and points to future avenues we need to explore. Few books do that. It is fluidly written … engaging, well-illustrated and extraordinarily well-informed. It provides a much-needed comparison of memory trends across a number of countries and raises uncomfortable questions about possible processes of trivialization. It deserves a wide readership.' William Niven, German History

    'Referencing books, speeches, movies, and essays, Rosenfeld inexorably builds a thoroughly convincing case that something has shifted in both academia and in politics - that the Holocaust's heretofore unquestioned status as the great sin of the twentieth century (and by association, the Nazis' status as the century's greatest villains) is now far from a consensus.' William O'Connor, The Daily Beast

    'Rosenfeld's study is important and timely, as well as lucid, engaging and readable.' Anna Katharina Schaffner, Times Literary Supplement

    'The primary argument here is that an increasing number of historical representations - both academic and popular - normalize the Nazi past by relativizing, universalizing, or aestheticizing it. The more such depictions flatten the moral contours of the past, however, the more they draw attention to the uniqueness of their subject. Because the Nazi past has not been allowed to fade organically, Rosenfeld claims, it has entered into a 'dialectic of normalization' that serves only to reinforce this past's exceptionality. The author certainly presents much evidence to substantiate these arguments. Rosenfeld's prowess at synthesizing both historiography and media products is impressive. As a descriptive enterprise, the book makes a tremendous contribution and will be cited as a landmark study for years to come.' S. Anderson, Choice

    'Gavriel D. Rosenfeld's book on the legacy of the Holocaust and World War II strikes new ground through his inclusion of new media in an analysis of how popular memory has undergone a process of normalization. While he is interested in the normalization process in the United States, Great Britain, and Germany, he also covers recent trends in Eastern Europe, Israel, and a few other places, giving the work a global scope and revealing intellectual trends as transnational phenomena.' Jon Berndt Olsen, The Journal of American History

    '… [a] fascinating and perceptive book.' Sheldon Kirshner, Sheldon Kirshner Journal

    '… detailed, illuminating and very informative. … Rosenfeld's book is engrossing and thought-provoking.' Richard J. Evans, The Guardian

    'Gavriel D. Rosenfeld's monograph Hi Hitler! offers thought-provoking insights into contemporary historiography and popular-cultural representations of the Third Reich.' John Williams, The Journal of Modern History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107073999
    • length: 478 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 155 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.93kg
    • contains: 46 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. A 'good war' no more: the new World War II revisionism
    2. From history to memory and back again: debating the Holocaust's uniqueness
    3. Probing the limits of speculation: counterfactualism and the Holocaust
    4. Nazis that never were: new alternate histories of the Third Reich
    5. Humanizing Hitler: the Führer in contemporary film
    6. Between tragedy and farce: Nazism on the Internet

  • Author

    Gavriel D. Rosenfeld, Fairfield University, Connecticut
    Gavriel D. Rosenfeld is Professor of History at Fairfield University, Connecticut. His area of specialization is the history and memory of the Nazi era. He is the author of several books, including Building after Auschwitz: Jewish Architecture and the Memory of the Holocaust (2011), which was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in the category of visual arts; The World Hitler Never Made: Alternate History and the Memory of Nazism (Cambridge, 2005); Munich and Memory: Architecture, Monuments and the Legacy of the Third Reich (2000), and the co-edited work, Beyond Berlin: Twelve German Cities Confront the Nazi Past (2008). He is also the editor of the forthcoming volume of Jewish alternate histories, 'If Only We Had Died in Egypt!' What Ifs of Jewish History from Abraham to Zionism, also to be published by Cambridge University Press. Rosenfeld is a frequent contributor to the Forward newspaper and edits the blog, The Counterfactual History Review.


    • Co-Winner, 2017 Sybil Halpern Milton Memorial Book Prize, German Studies Association

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