New York, N.Y. Simon & Schuster, March, 2008. First Hardcover Edition [Stated]. First printing [stated]. Hardcover. 566,  pages. Notes. References. Index. Inscribed by the author on the title page. Inscription reads: To Eric Alterman, with admiration - Nicholson Baker! Eric Alterman (born January 14, 1960) is an American historian, journalist, author, media critic, and educator. He has been CUNY Distinguished Professor of English and Journalism at Brooklyn College, the media columnist for The Nation, and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. He has also authored ten books. Nicholson Baker (born January 7, 1957) is an American novelist, historian and essayist. His work generally de-emphasizes narrative in favor of careful description and characterization. His early novels such as The Mezzanine and Room Temperature were distinguished by their minute inspection of his characters' and narrators' stream of consciousness. Out of a total of ten fiction books, he also wrote three erotic novels: Vox, The Fermata and House of Holes. Amongst others, Baker has published articles in Harper's Magazine, the London Review of Books and The New Yorker. Baker also writes non-fiction. A book about his relationship with John Updike, U and I: A True Story was published in 1991. He created the American Newspaper Repository in 1999. He then wrote about the American library system in his 2001 nonfiction book Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper for which he received a National Book Critics Circle Award and the Calw Hermann Hesse Prize for the German translation. A pacifist, he wrote Human Smoke about the buildup to World War II. Baker has also written about and edited Wikipedia. Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization questions the commonly held belief that the Allies wanted to avoid the war at all costs but were forced into action by Hitler's unforgiving actions. It consists largely of official government transcripts and other documents from the time. He suggests that the pacifists were correct in their views. This book delivers a closely textured, deeply moving indictment of the treasured myths that have romanticized much of the 1930s and 1940. Incorporating meticulous research and well documented sources--including newspaper and magazine articles, radio speeches, memoirs, and diaries--the book juxtaposes hundreds of interrelated moments of decision, brutality, suffering, and mercy. Vivid glimpses of political leaders and their dissenters illuminate and examine the gradual, horrifying advance toward overt global war and Holocaust. From Wikipedia: Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization is a 2008 book by Nicholson Baker about World War II. It questions the commonly held belief that the Allies wanted to avoid the war at all costs but were forced into action by Adolf Hitler's aggression. It consists largely of official government transcripts, newspaper articles, and other documents from the time, with Baker only occasionally interjecting commentary. Baker cites documents that suggest that the leaders of the United States and the United Kingdom were provoking Germany and Japan into war and had ulterior motives for participating. He dedicates the book to American and British pacifists of the time who, he states in the book's epilogue, were right all along: “They failed, but they were right.” Many reviewers praised the book's use of documentary research as well as its intricate construction. Irish novelist Colm Toibin wrote in his New York Times review that "the issues Baker wishes to raise, and the stark system he has used to dramatize his point, make his book a serious and conscientious contribution to the debate about pacifism." Tim Adams wrote a in The Guardian, stating, "What if we had all stood outside and waited for Hitler's raving to end and then gone on as before? It is a crucial question and one that has rarely been better articulated than in Human Smoke. Pacifist Mark Kurlansky wrote for the Los Angeles Times that the book demonstrated that "World War II was one of the biggest, most carefully plotted lies in modern history" and that "people are going to get really angry at Baker for criticizing their favorite war. But he hasn't fashioned his tale from gossip. It is documented, with copious notes and attributions. The grace of these well-ordered snapshots is that there is no diatribe; you are left to put things together yourself. Human Smoke may be one of the most important books you will ever read." Condition: Very good / Very good.
Keywords: WWII, Second World War, Eric Alterman, Jews, Anti-Semitism, Antiwar, Pacifism, Gandhi, Goebbels, Refugees, Dissent, Public Opinion