...it’s not the German material that makes Neiman’s book so powerful. She recounts it with a lucid, masterful brevity, but what really matters here is the juxtaposition contained in its first sentence: 'I began life as a white girl in the segregated South, and I’m likely to end it as a Jewish woman in Berlin.' Neiman wants us to use each place to think about the other, but she’s finally more interested in America, for we are the ones with something yet to learn about the business of facing the past ... She’s not, of course, the first to make that link. W.E.B. Du Bois saw a parallel between the color line and the Warsaw ghetto ... But none of the Americans who’ve seen the connection has had Neiman’s comprehensive knowledge of how the Germans have worked to overcome their past; none has pursued it so tenaciously, so originally ... Neiman poses questions, but rather than answering them she educates her readers by thinking through their implications ... Neiman isn’t the ironist that West was, but she too believes that history has lessons, and that if we think hard enough, carefully enough, we can learn them. We can fail better, at least, at the endless job of getting straight with our past. Race and the Memory of Evil—there’s not a corner of this country untouched by that evil, and it endures precisely because of the way we misremember it.
... fascinating ... The history wars shape far more than how we remember the past. They shape the societies we bequeath to future generations. Susan Neiman’s book is an important and welcome weapon in that battle.
... richly rewarding, consistently stimulating and beautifully written ... Neiman is a professional philosopher with the skills of an investigative journalist and historian ... This brief overview barely begins to convey the way this disturbing but hopeful and insightful book wrestles with the questions of who we are as human beings and what values we have as a nation. I strongly recommend it.