'Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution' by Laurence Rees: Book Review

As another of Laurence Rees' documentaries is currently being shown on the BBC, 'The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler' (which I will review after its final episode in a couple of weeks), I felt it would be appropriate to finally review one of his earlier works.

'Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution' is the book that accompanies the documentary series, about which I have previously written (you can find that post here). Reading this book is not exactly a walk in the park. Rees does look at some of the individuals involved and includes their personal testimonies, but the majority of the book requires digestion of many facts, statistics and dates. A comprehensive look at the establishment and running of the world's largest extermination camp, however, needs such detail, and it is clear how much painstaking research has gone into creating such a fantastic book.
As much as anything, Rees is a great writer. He writes without mincing his words or using too much terminology, so that any person may find his work easy to read. On the other hand, there is enough detail for any student or academic to use the book as part of research or just to learn more about Auschwitz itself. Indeed, 'Auschwitz...' has been so highly praised that it won Rees the History Book of the Year Award at the British Book Awards 2006.

If you liked the documentary series but just want a little more information or clarification, I would strongly recommend this book. It is not the kind of book you will finish in a day, and you may be somewhat overwhelmed by the figures thrown at you from time to time, but it is a hugely impressive and well-researched account of the horrors of Auschwitz.

Recommended for...
I would say this is a must for the bookshelf of any History, Holocaust Studies or Genocide Studies student, amongst others.