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Publisher's Summary

Ordinary Men is the true story of Reserve Police Batallion 101 of the German Order Police, which was responsible for mass shootings as well as roundups 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.
©2013 Christopher R. Browning (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Scott on 08-09-17

Very detailed, would recommend.

Great book, very descriptive when descibing events/battles/photographs. Maybe could have used a better reader, but overall well worth the buy. Would recommend

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Lawrence Blumenthal on 12-29-17

Cold, but poignant

Insightful and jarring. A testament to the potential for evil within us all, as well as a warning of the price of Silence and passivity in everyday life.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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