Compelling . . . [Helm] has painstakingly sought out many survivors and talked to them herself. The results are devastating . . .What one is left with at the end of this momentous book is a sense of the power of human nature, both for good and evil ( Independent on Sunday)
A profoundly moving chronicle ( Observer)
An epic feat of scholarly investigation ( Spectator)
Where Helm's history excels is in her refusal to reduce any of the people in her history to stereotypes. Complexity is respected. She pays attention to the specificities of people's lives, including their religious beliefs, political aspirations and dreams. Even when discussing brutal female guards, Helm avoids demonisation (Joanna Bourke Telegraph)
Helm has done us all a great service in this compelling, magisterial volume . . . Read this book. Be appalled. Be moved. And be angry that so little action was taken to help, or to remember, until it was nearly too late. Read it, and weep ( Jewish Chronicle)
A sense of urgency infuses this history, which comes just in time to gather the testimony of the camp's survivors . . . meticulous, unblinking . . . [Helm's] book comes not a moment too soon ( The Economist)
Splendidly researched and tremendously moving . . . Helm's book, based in part on interviews with survivors, is a model of sensitivity and seriousness ( Sunday Times)
'Helm is a tireless researcher: she has recovered the testimony of scores of women... She makes unimaginable suffering seem almost graspable through hundreds of intimate stories. She rightly says that her book is the first exhaustive 'biography of Ravensbrück beginning at the beginning and ending at the end'.' (Thomas Laqueur Guardian)
Ravensbruck Concentration Camp is the worst atrocity ever committed solely against women, but today the name of the camp is barely known. From Ravensbruck's earliest days, when Himmler offered his own land for the camp, this book follows every stage of the story through to the camp's liberation by the Red Army. Based on meticulous research, If This Is A Woman lays bare the systematic brutalisation of mothers, pregnant women, children and babies. It details the extremes of cruelty enacted by SS guards and of suffering experienced by the prisoners, who were themselves reduced to inhuman acts. But at the heart of If This Is A Woman are stories of heroism and survival. The narrative centres on the experiences of women - from the farmer's wife to the aristocratic intellectual - who had the resilience, the mental and physcial strength to withstand their ordeal and to emerge from the camp alive.
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