31 May 2009

A Report on the Banality of Evil


I am currently reading "Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil" by Hannah Arendt. I am reading the Penguin Classic version that was originally published in 1963 and the reprint that I have from 2006. I have been wanting to read it for some time, and I finally managed to get a copy from Barnes & Noble when I was in the US in late March.

What first intrigued me about Eichmann was the international law implications of his kidnapping from Argentina and subsequent trial in Israel. The idea that Eichmann was nothing more than a functionary in an evil system is also an interesting way to examine the holocaust; evil perpetrated by ordinary men and women (primarily men).

The reviews of the book are best described as mixed, with some all for the Arendt account and others highly critical of her approach and use of "facts". I guess I will make my own judgment on these issues once I have finished reading the book.

Anyway, I will add a postscript once I have finished. I should also take it of my list of books that I wished I owned seeing that I now own a copy.

4 comments:

Calupict said...

I'm (trying to) reading the book also now. Hopefully I can finish it soon.

Your review is highly anticipated, Rob :D

Rob Baiton said...

Calupict...

My review could be a little while into the future. For a couple of reasons, but primary among those is an active little boy named Will!

Creepy said...

This theory was covered in another good book, "Hitler's Willing Executioners".

Rob Baiton said...

Creepy...

Thanks.

I will see if I can find it and have a read. I am guessing one of the criticisms of Arendt is that Eichmann was not just a fella following orders and doing his job, but rather a lot more "willing" than that.