Thursday, February 16, 2012
I completely agree with Maimon below about the "fascinating, chilling" quality of learning about the Nazis. I do think somehow they reveal essential things about the nature of evil, and I agree with Maimon that the Hannah Arendt notion of the "banality of evil" has worn badly and indeed strikes me as deeply uninsightful. Evil does occur in the most banal of settings, but to my mind it is more like the little black holes that physicists suggest can pop up anywhere. They may occur in banal settings but they lead down into an unimaginable abyss.
I wanted to suggest this older book I am finding a fascinating but chilling look into one of Hitler's most vile creatures. Reinhard Heydrich, the "Butcher of Prague", is portrayed efficiently in this book about his assassination by the Czech intelligence service in exile. It also provides fascinating background about the byzantine politics of central Europe leading up to the war. There is also a new biography of Heydrich out, said to be excellent, but it may exceed my Nazi monster quota for the time being.