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The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust, 1941-1945 by David Wyman (182,000 words)

In this landmark study, a sequel to
Paper Walls: America and the Refugee Crisis, 1939-1941, his study of America’s restrictive pre-World War II immigration policies, David S. Wyman documents how FDR’s administration, especially the State Department, refused to undertake serious efforts to rescue European Jews from the Holocaust, and argues that a commitment to rescue by the United States could have saved several hundred thousand victims from the Nazis.

The definitive work on its subject, this book won the
National Jewish Book Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Award, the Present Tense Literary Award, the Stuart Bernath Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and the Theodore Saloutos Award of the Immigration History Society, and was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award.


“[Wyman’s] earlier work on prewar American attitudes to refugees from Hitler’s expanding Reich,
Paper Walls: America and the Refugee Crisis, 1938-1941, has admirably equipped him to pursue the shameful story into the war years, when the incredulity of those in a position to know, the deliberate obstructionism of xenophobic and anti-Semitic officials and extravagant bureaucratic infighting within the Jewish community no less than in Government meant not merely agonizing delay but death for thousands who could have been rescued. His research in widely scattered sources meticulously reconstructs a complex story from which very few individuals emerge with credit, and some, notably President Franklin D. Roosevelt, stand clearly indicted for a cold indifference in practice utterly at variance with lofty humanitarian sentiments publicly proclaimed for political advantage... Mr. Wyman’s analysis, exemplary in its clarity and thoroughness... [adopts a] judicious tone and preference for marshaling evidence rather than apportioning blame. That evidence is... cumulatively devastating, implicating both passive bystanders and perpetrators in the vast crime that Mr. Wyman, himself a non-Jew, reminds us was a tragedy not only for the Jewish people but for all human beings.” — A. J. Sherman, The New York Times

“[Wyman] subjects the American record during the Holocaust to the closest scrutiny it has yet received... It is the meticulously documented detail that makes the impact of his book shocking, disturbing and unforgettable... The documents that Mr. Wyman quotes in grim abundance — cold-blooded private memoranda, pettifogging evasions, flagrant lies — establish beyond any possible doubt that neither the relevant State Department officers nor their opposite numbers in the British Foreign Office had the slightest intention of allowing more than a token handful of Jews to be rescued.” — John Gross,
The New York Times

“A monumental volume: sweeping in its scope, stunning in its insight, and enduring in its importance... A damning indictment.” —
Wall Street Journal

“One of the most powerful books I have ever read.” —
Senator Paul Simon

“Impressively researched, balanced in its judgments, devastating in its discussion of untaken opportunities, and informed by an essentially moral purpose, The Abandonment of the Jews makes a clear, largely persuasive argument.” — Richard S. Levy,
Commentary Magazine

“Never before has the evidence been marshaled so painstakingly, with such meticulous scholarship and to such effect.” —
Washington Post Book World

“A telling account of one of the sorriest episodes in world history... we will not see a better book on this subject in our lifetime.” — Leonard Dinnerstein,
The Journal of American History

“[A] landmark study... Objective and dispassionate, the book is a model of historical writing.” — Irving Abella,
The American Historical Review

“Authoritative, scholarly, and fascinating.” —
Yehuda Bauer