Ordinary Men

  • by Christopher R. Browning, Claire Bloom - director
  • Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki
  • 9 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Bogged down in details.

Get out your pencil and take notes. This book is full of details, obscure Polish town names, people's names that are not even their real names.

Basically a recap of court testimony. Yawn....
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- Mark

Waste of time

Takes cheap and intellectually dishonest shots at the U.S. whenever he can. Somehow manages to drag up My Lai and other American events as if they compare to the industrialized slaughter by Germany.
Criticizes American reluctance to take Japanese prisoners as racially driven murder. Since most Japanese did not wish to be taken prisoner and often attempted to trick there would be captors at the last second, shooting all Japanese attempting to "surrender" was justified. This is a basic rule of war and recently reconfirmed in Iraq.
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- rbergen

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-28-2017
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.