Ordinary Men

Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland

Ranked #5 in German History, Ranked #26 in European Historysee more rankings.

Christopher R. Browning’s shocking account of how a unit of average middle-aged Germans became the cold-blooded murderers of tens of thousands of Jews—now with a new afterword and additional photographs.

Ordinary Men is the true story of Reserve Police Battalion 101 of the German Order Police, which was responsible for mass shootings as well as round-ups of Jewish people for deportation to Nazi death camps in Poland in 1942. Browning argues that most of the men of  RPB 101 were not fanatical Nazis but, rather, ordinary middle-aged, working-class men who committed these...

Reviews and Recommendations

We've comprehensively compiled reviews of Ordinary Men from the world's leading experts.

Lawrence Kaplan The takeaway from reading this horror-filled book is that depredations on the scale of those that Browning describes can be perpetrated anywhere and by anyone. (Source)

Norman Naimark The essential lesson of Ordinary Men is that genocide is not the exclusive preserve of fanatics, racist thugs and homicidal maniacs. It is part of the human condition, especially of humans living in society. (Source)

Steven Katz The reason this is such an important book is that when you study the Holocaust you ask almost immediately: How could people do this? How could men who had their own children, go out and murder other children? Or husbands take women and rip open their wombs and kill their infants and shoot them behind the ear? This book raised that question in a very, very strong and powerful way, based on firsthand testimony. (Source)

Hester Vaizey One of my students cited this book as the reason that he carried on doing history. (Source)

Rankings by Category

Ordinary Men is ranked in the following categories:

Similar Books

If you like Ordinary Men, check out these similar top-rated books:

Learn: What makes Shortform summaries the best in the world?