Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

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Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning
Black Earth - The Holocaust as History and Warning.jpg
AuthorTimothy D. Snyder
CountryUnited States
SubjectThe Holocaust
Publication date
Pagesxiii, 462 pages

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning is a 2015 book by historian Timothy D. Snyder.


Black Earth offers a "radically new explanation" of the Holocaust.[1] The title is drawn from the fertile black earth of Ukraine, the region where Adolf Hitler planned to replace the population with Germans, giving the German "race" new "living space" (German: Lebensraum).[2] Race, and the idea of the world as a space in which races compete and stronger races replace weaker ones, was, according to Snyder, central to Hitler's thinking. Hitler, according to Snyder, was not a nationalist.[2] Rather, he saw nationalism and sovereign states as tools, useful to achieving his goal of eliminating government and enabling a pure, natural order in which races struggle and only the strongest survive.[2] According to Snyder, Hitler saw Jews as obstacles because the ideas enabling individual humans to view one another as human beings originated with the Jews, and it is the humanitarian ideas perpetuated by Jews that prevents the world from reverting to its natural order.[2] According to Snyder, in Hitler's mind, the way to enable the natural world of brutal racial competition to exist, was to eliminate the Jews.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

The book began to excite controversy as soon as it was published.[1]


  • Gustav Ranis International Book Prize for best book[3]
  • New York Times Editors' Choice[4]
  • Publishers Weekly's 10 Best Books of 2015[4]
  • The Economist’s Best Books of 2015[4]
  • The Washington Post's Notable Nonfiction Books of 2015[4]


  1. ^ a b Schuessler, Jennifer (7 September 2015). "Timothy Snyder's 'Black Earth' Puts Holocaust, and Himself, in Spotlight". New York Times. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e Delman, Edward (9 September 2015). "Understanding Hitler's Anti-Semitism". The Atlantic. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  3. ^ "Tim Snyder Receives Award for "Black Earth" - Yale Jackson Institute for Global Affairs". Yale Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  4. ^ a b c d "Illinois State University". Illinois State University. Archived from the original on 2016-01-14. Retrieved 2017-04-28.