The International Campaign for Real History

Quick navigation


Documents on the Peter Novick controversy

Novick bookIN 1999 Prof. Peter Novick (Professor at the University of Chicago, Novickand like Finkelstein a Jew) published a book, The Holocaust in American Life, behind the then current exaggerated publicity campaign promoting Holocaust history and the use to which it was being put to extort money from a variety of wealthy victims including Swiss banks, European governments, factories, and other groups.

The world's Jewish organisations at first attacked the Novick book; when Finkelstein's abook then appeared, they swung round, and stated that Novick's book was far better, academically researched, etc. , and used it to batter Finkelstein.




Extracts from the book: Peter Novick's views on

More on Peter Novick. He was adviser to David Abraham, who wrote a dissertation and then a book on Weimar Germany and the rise of Nazism. Abraham's thesis was largely "structural" or "systemic", i.e., he argued that there was a certain inevitability to Nazism due to the conditions Germany faced. This did not sit well with the academic establishment, notably Henry Turner of Yale and Gerald Feldman of Berkeley. They much preferred debating Weimar in terms of whether Big Business could have, or did, contribute to the rise of Hitler.

In the event, Abraham made some mistakes in his book, these seem to have occurred because of sloppy note-taking in German archives. Most historians were understanding of this but Turner and Feldman launched a veritable jihad to destroy Abraham, accusing him of fraud and much else besides; see Novick's book, That Noble Dream: The 'Objectivity Question' and the American Historical Profession, 1988, Cambridge UP, pp. 612-622

As a result of this campaign, Abraham was denied tenure at Princeton, his book was never republished, he was never able to get another job in academia, and he left to go to law school.

The above background is instructive I think in two ways. First, it shows how much even "non-deniers" in academia can be destroyed if, in the pursuit of their thinking, they contradict established orthodoxies, and second, it gives a good reason as to why Novick might have desired to distance himself from revisionism as much as possible, calling revisionists "cooks, crackpots, misfits", "screwballs" and "fruitcakes." -- Alan B Kennady.

Related links:

Norman Finkelstein index

Focal Point 2000  e-mail:  write to David Irving