Ordinary men : Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the final solution in Poland
This detailed and harrowing study of a single group of mostly middle-aged policemen from provincial Germany has achieved classic status among histories of the Holocaust.
Far from being demonic and hate-filled sadists, most of the group had no history of anti-semitism or of far right politics.
Browning explores the motivation of these men and the horribly familiar mechanisms of man-management and group solidarity that reduced a team of "ordinary men" into a bestial instrument of madness.
It is a book that offers no comfort to those who seek to explain the Holocaust in terms of German exceptionalism, but it is a significant contribution to the history of World War II.