Ordinary People and Extraordinary Evil: A Report on the Beguilings of Evil


Product Details

State University of New York Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 0.51 X 9.2 inches | 0.59 pounds
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About the Author

Fred Emil Katz is Professor of Sociology, and has taught at various universities in the United States and Israel, including the State University of New York at Buffalo and Tel Aviv University.


"A worthy contribution to Holocaust literature: superb, dispassionate analysis of the roots of evil, perpetrated most often in lockstep with the culture that encourages and reinforces it." -- Kirkus Discoveries

"The most interesting part of this book for me as a student of the Holocaust is the use of sociological categories to interpret the actions of the perpetrators and to a lesser extent the bystanders and the victims. In essence, Katz probes Hannah Arendt's theory of the banality of evil with precision and from a sociological perspective. The behavior of the perpetrators during the Holocaust is of enduring interest. The time is ripe for a re-evaluation of Arendt's controversial thesis and Katz's work provides such an opportunity. He also forces the reader to examine parallels to the Holocaust at least in terms of human experience." -- Michael Berenbaum, Project Director, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

"I felt privileged to read this book. It is provocative. I questioned some places, but the questioning pushes me to think about new kinds of evidence worth examining, and that is a real plus in this book. It offers stimulating insights, and it stimulates thoughts about the next research steps. The topic is very significant, important in itself, important (I think) to Holocaust studies, the sociology of everyday life, and perhaps to many areas that the book touches on (the sociology of organizations, applied ethics, family sociology, and others)." -- Paul C. Rosenblatt, University of Minnesota, St. Paul