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Buried by the Times
The Holocaust and America's Most Important Newspaper


  • Date Published: August 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521607827

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About the Authors
  • An in-depth look at how The New York Times failed in its coverage of the fate of European Jews from 1939–45. It examines how the decisions that were made at The Times ultimately resulted in the minimizing and misunderstanding of modern history's worst genocide. Laurel Leff, a veteran journalist and professor of journalism, recounts how personal relationships at the newspaper, the assimilationist tendencies of The Times' Jewish owner, and the ethos of mid-century America, all led The Times to consistently downplay news of the Holocaust. It recalls how news of Hitler's 'final solution' was hidden from readers and - because of the newspaper's influence on other media - from America at large. Buried by The Times is required reading for anyone interested in America's response to the Holocaust and for anyone curious about how journalists determine what is newsworthy.

    • Describes how individual journalists in New York, London, Berlin, Moscow, Paris, Bucharest and Jerusalem reacted to news of the Holocaust as it reached their bureaus
    • Grapples with the theoretical question of how journalists understand and evaluate horrific unprecedented events within the context of a particular news organization at a particular time
    • Tells the personal story of Times publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger as he struggled with news of the Holocaust as a journalist, as an American, and as a Jew
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is the best book yet about American media coverage of the Holocaust, as well as an extremely important contribution to our understanding of America's response to the mass murder of the Jews.' David S. Wyman, author of The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust

    'A brilliant history, one whose insights offer editors much about today.' Columbia Journalism Review

    'A dispassionate and impeccably fair account … As a portrait of the journalistic culture of the Times in wartime, it is unlikely to be superseded.' Commentary

    '… a superbly researched work that seems to me one of the most devastating books ever written about a newspaper.' National Post (Canada)

    'The light which Laurel Leff sheds on US government policy adds to the value of her densely documented and judiciously written study. It is a model of research with serious implications for how the press covers atrocity and genocide in our own times.' Jewish Chronicle

    '… Laurel Leff's study of the reporting of the Holocaust in the pages of the New York Times does more than simply fill a gap by offering an in-dpeth study of America's most significant daily … her book stands as a model for future studies in this sub-field of Holocaust Studies … [and] makes the book of interest not only to those wanting to know what the New York Times reported on the Holocaust. Leff's study offers a broader insight into Americn Jews in the wartime years, and in particular the relationship between one American Jew and his Jewishness.' Journal of Jewish Studies

    'A highly readable and scrupulously researched book about an important journalistic failure.' AJS Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521607827
    • length: 444 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 155 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.58kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the last voice from the abyss
    Part I. 1933–41:
    1. 'Not a Jewish problem': the publisher's perspective on the Nazis' rise and the refugee crisis
    2. 'This here is Germany': reporting from the Berlin bureau
    3. 'Worthy of France': the Vichy government's anti-semitic laws and concentration camps
    4. 'A new life in Nazi-built ghettos': German domination of Poland, Rumania and the Baltic States
    Part II 1941–5:
    5. 'To awaken the conscience of Christendom': pressure to publicize the first news of the extermination campaign
    6. 'Amidst the advertisements on page 19': placement decisions and the role of the news editors
    7. 'All Jews are not brothers': the publisher's battle with Zionists
    8. 'The semitic question should be avoided': German atrocities and US Government propaganda
    9. 'Final phase of supreme tragedy has begun': the War Refugee Board and the destruction of Hungary's Jews
    10. 'Political prisoners, slave laborers and civilians of many nationalities': the liberation of the concentration camps
    11. 'Lessons from the Hitler tragedy': the publisher and the aftermath of war
    Conclusion: 'the horrible story was not told'.

  • Author

    Laurel Leff, Northeastern University, Boston
    Laurel Leff has been a faculty member at Northeastern University since 1996. Prior to her university appointment, she was a professional journalist, reporting for 18 years for such newspapers as The Wall Street Journal and The Miami Herald. She served also as an editor for American Lawyer Media and The Hartford Courant. This is her first book.

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