KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps

  • by Nikolaus Wachsmann
  • Narrated by Paul Hodgson
  • 31 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In KL, Wachsmann fills this glaring gap in our understanding. He not only synthesizes a new generation of scholarly work, much of it untranslated and unknown outside of Germany, but also presents startling revelations, based on many years of archival research, about the functioning and scope of the camp system. Examining, close up, life and death inside the camps, and adopting a wider lens to show how the camp system was shaped by changing political, legal, social, economic, and military forces, Wachsmann produces a unified picture of the Nazi regime and its camps that we have never seen before.
A boldly ambitious work of deep importance, KL is destined to be a classic in the history of the 20th century. Many books have explored the general history of the Holocaust and the Nazis, or anatomized individual concentration camps. But there has, surprisingly, never been a comprehensive history of the camps that integrates the stories of both the broad development of the system and daily life in the camps. In KL (the widely used acronym for konzentrationslager, German for concentration camps), Wachsmann offers an unprecedented account of the development of the camps, similar in scope and approach to Anne Applebaum's best-selling and award-winning Gulag: A History (2003). We will publish on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of most of the camps in April 1945.
Wachsmann is the first to synthesize a new generation of original scholarship on the camps, much of it only available in German and little-known in the English-speaking world. And he has unearthed a wide range of new documents, offering startling new revelations about the history of the camps.

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What the Critics Say

"Nikolaus Wachsmann has written an admirable historical overview of the Nazi concentration camps, effectively combining decades of recent scholarship with his own original research. He captures both the trajectory of dynamic change through which the camp system evolved as well as the experiences and agency - however limited - of the prisoner community. This is an impressive and valuable book." (Christopher R. Browning, Frank Porter Graham Professor of History Emeritus, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
"It is hard to imagine that Nik Wachsmann's superb book, surely to become the standard work on Nazi concentration camps, will ever be surpassed. Based on a huge array of widely scattered sources, it is a gripping as well as comprehensive and authoritative study of this grim but highly important topic." (Ian Kershaw, author of The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1944 – 1945)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Narrator warning!

I've not finished listening to this yet, but wanted to warn people thinking about buying it in advance, in case the sample doesn't make it clear. The book's amazing, probably unbeatable scholarship, and the narrator's generally good for a non-fiction reader (some of them are very bad), but he makes a really baffling decision to read all quotations - and there are many - in the accents "appropriate" to the person writing/speaking. So chilling stories are somewhat undermined by comedy German...
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- S R L COTTERILL

An Oustanding History and A Must Read

This book is a remarkable achievement and if you are interested in the subject at all you will learn a great deal from it, regardless of whatever you already know, You will likely also listen to it more than once. This comprehensive history brings together the many aspects of the KL and draws from extensive German historical research that is unknown to English only readers. The narrator's attempt at voices is odd, but is hardly a reason to not purchase this book. Other narrators say "Quote" and "Unquote" at the end of a quote and some people find that distracting. I suspect the KL narrator's use of a "voice" is a way around that issue. Quotes are rare in KL anyway so it's hardly a distraction although it may catch a listener unaware the first time.
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- Anonymocaris

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-14-2015
  • Publisher: HighBridge, a Division of Recorded Books