qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

A twilight between knowning and not knowing

Book Review: Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth, by Gitta Sereny
It can be dangerous to recommend a book so highly, because it sets expectations. However in this case (recommended by altariel and others) I think it was justified. It makes sense to have read Speer's own memoirs first: these are often somewhat clinical and technical, and they are obviously written very much from a singular point of view. Sereny's writing is more rounded, both in style and content. She has taken care to interview many sources over the years, and has also researched Speer's archive, including original drafts from Spandau. The overall picture is not much changed, but it's interesting to discover where revisions took place in emphasis or viewpoint. There are, of course, some factual changes as well. Individually, each is probably insignificant, but they do accumulate uneasily, as Sereny's subtitle implies. I think it becomes apparent that whether or not Speer knew about the nature and extent of the Final Solution - and Sereny constructs a convincing argument that from late 1943 he did - is irrelevant, in that he would disregard anything not directly related to his work. One is left with the impression that Speer was sincere, but also that the truth was whatever someone wanted to hear at the time.
Tags: books, history
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