Christopher R. Browning addresses some of the most heated controversies that have arisen from the use of postwar testimony: Hannah Arendt’s uncritical acceptance of Adolf Eichmann’s self-portrayal in Jerusalem; the conviction of Ivan Demjanuk (accused of being Treblinka death camp guard "Ivan the Terrible") on the basis of survivor testimony and its subsequent reversal by the Israeli Supreme Court; the debate in Poland sparked by Jan Gross’s use of both survivor and communist courtroom testimony in his book Neighbors; and the conflict between Browning himself and Daniel Goldhagen, author of Hitler’s Willing Executioners, regarding methodology and interpretation in the use of pre-trial testimony.
Despite these controversies and challenges, Browning delineates the ways in which the critical use of such problematic sources can provide telling evidence for writing Holocaust history. He examines and discusses two starkly different sets of "collected memories"—the voluminous testimonies of notorious Holocaust perpetrator Adolf Eichmann and the testimonies of 175 survivors of an obscure complex of factory slave labor camps in the Polish town of Starachowice.
What is the relationship between anger and justice, especially when so much of our moral education has taught us to value the impartial spectator, the cold distance of reason? In Sing the Rage, Sonali Chakravarti wrestles with this question through a careful look at the emotionally charged South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which from 1996 to 1998 saw, day after day, individuals taking the stand to speak—to cry, scream, and wail—about the atrocities of apartheid. Uncomfortable and surprising, these public emotional displays, she argues, proved to be of immense value, vital to the success of transitional justice and future political possibilities.
Chakravarti takes up the issue from Adam Smith and Hannah Arendt, who famously understood both the dangers of anger in politics and the costs of its exclusion. Building on their perspectives, she argues that the expression and reception of anger reveal truths otherwise unavailable to us about the emerging political order, the obstacles to full civic participation, and indeed the limits—the frontiers—of political life altogether. Most important, anger and the development of skills needed to truly listen to it foster trust among citizens and recognition of shared dignity and worth. An urgent work of political philosophy in an era of continued revolution, Sing the Rage offers a clear understanding of one of our most volatile—and important—political responses.