Cruel World

The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web

By Lynn H. Nicholas
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780679776635, 656pp.)

Publication Date: May 9, 2006

Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover

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In this riveting, powerful narrative, Lynn Nicholas shows how children under the Nazis became mere objects available for use in the service of the totalitarian state. Nicholas recounts the euthanasia and eugenic selection, racist indoctrination, kidnapping and “Germanization,” mass executions, and slave labor to which the Nazis subjected Europe’s children. She also captures the uprooted children’s search for their families in the aftermath of the war. A disturbing and absolutely necessary work, Cruel World opens a new chapter in World War II studies.

About the Author

Lynn H. Nicholas was born in New London, CT, and educated in the U.S., England, and Spain. The Rape of Europa, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, has been translated into eight languages. It inspired an international movement to locate and repatriate works of art and other property confiscated and stolen by individuals and governments before and during World War II. Ms. Nicholas was elected to the Légion d'Honneur by the government of France and was named an Amicus Poloniae by Poland. She has become widely known as a lecturer on the issues addressed in The Rape of Europa and Cruel World and has appeared as an expert witness in art-repatriation trials and before Congress.

Praise For Cruel World

“For anyone interested in an unglossed World War II history, Cruel World is a must read. . . . A historical gem.” —The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

“A thoroughly researched and incisively written account. . . . This is not merely another book about the Holocaust, although the Holocaust is the most glaring event in these pages. Cruel World is more shocking and upsetting than any book that deals with ‘only’ one persecution.”—The Washington Post Book World

“A well-written, compelling history that makes us look at the war era anew.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)

“Powerful, passionate. . . . The combination of the authoritative overview with the searing detail makes this an invaluable reference source as well as riveting history.”—Booklist

"Passionate, powerful, riveting,"
—Hazel Rochman, starred review for Booklist

"Compelling history that makes us look at the war anew,"
—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"This book is an extraordinary achievement, particularly because, although the author's theme is Europe’s children, she is in fact, with astonishing research, writing a new history of World War II. And remarkably, in writing about the children, she does - as one might expect - write not only about their suffering, but also about their joys."
—Gitta Sereny

“A work of impressive scholarship . . . Cruel World is a historical gem. For anyone interested in an unglossed WWII history, it is a must read. It revives memories that the world forgets at its peril.”
—Jackie Loohauis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

". . .a thoroughly researched and incisively written account of horrendous crime, suffering , folly, and indifference, as well as of heroism, sacrifice, and the will to survive . . . Cruel World's originality lies in its broad sweep--more shocking and upsetting than any book that deals with 'only' one persecution. By broadening her scope to include every affected nationality . . . Nicholas makes us aware how children across Europe were caught up in the Nazis' cruelty."
—Ruth Kluger, Washington Post Book World

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