Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Mar 11, 2008 - History - 800 pages
25 Reviews
Bestselling author Nicholson Baker, recognized as one of the most dexterous and talented writers in America today, has created a compelling work of nonfiction bound to provoke discussion and controversy -- a wide-ranging, astonishingly fresh perspective on the political and social landscape that gave rise to World War II.

Human Smoke delivers a closely textured, deeply moving indictment of the treasured myths that have romanticized much of the 1930s and '40s. Incorporating meticulous research and well-documented sources -- including newspaper and magazine articles, radio speeches, memoirs, and diaries -- the book juxtaposes hundreds of interrelated moments of decision, brutality, suffering, and mercy. Vivid glimpses of political leaders and their dissenters illuminate and examine the gradual, horrifying advance toward overt global war and Holocaust.

Praised by critics and readers alike for his exquisitely observant eye and deft, inimitable prose, Baker has assembled a narrative within Human Smoke that unfolds gracefully, tragically, and persuasively. This is an unforgettable book that makes a profound impact on our perceptions of historical events and mourns the unthinkable loss humanity has borne at its own hand.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
11
4 stars
6
3 stars
3
2 stars
2
1 star
3

Review: Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization

User Review  - Joey - Goodreads

Some critics consider this book now as a classic. It is indeed. First, if you were not a History professor nor do you have enough knowledge of the information about the beginnings of World War II ... Read full review

Review: Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization

User Review  - tartaruga fechada - Goodreads

"I hate war for what it forces us to do to our enemies, rejoicing over our coffee cups at the breakfast table about every damnable and devilish evil we have been able to inflict upon them. I hate war ... Read full review

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 19 - It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well-known in the East, striding half-naked up the steps of the Vice-regal palace, while he is still organising and conducting a defiant campaign of civil disobedience, to parley on equal terms with the representative of the King-Emperor.
Page 24 - I feel in the innermost recesses of my heart, after a political experience extending over an unbroken period of close upon thirty-five years, that the world is sick unto death of blood-spilling. The world is seeking a way out, and I flatter myself with the belief that perhaps it will be the privilege of the ancient land of India to show the way out to the hungering world.
Page 5 - I am endeavouring to show to my countrymen that violent non-cooperation only multiplies evil, and that as evil can only be sustained by violence, withdrawal of support of evil requires complete abstention from violence. Non-violence implies voluntary submission to the penalty for non-cooperation with evil.

About the author (2008)

Nicholson Baker is the author of nine novels and four works of nonfiction, including Double Fold, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award, and House of Holes, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, and The New York Review of Books. He lives in Maine with his family.

Bibliographic information