In this radical new perspective on the Holocaust, Davidson challenges popular understanding and existing histories of the Holocaust.
He does this in three main ways.
Firstly, he describes the way in which German policy developed and was enacted in new and compelling detail, providing a road map to the ´long and twisting road to Auschwitz´, skilfully dramatising those twists and turns, many of which are not generally included in conventional narratives.
Secondly, he allows us to hear from new voices, notably female perpetrators, resisters and victims. These provide individual human perspectives on the unfolding events, without which true understanding is impossible; from planning and implementation, to knowledge - and its opposite, denial - all the way to its final reckoning, then and now.
And finally, he provides a reappraisal of the moral perspective that drove the Holocaust, getting beyond the conventional notion of ´evil´ as a catch-all rationale, to examine why anti-Jewish vitriol was such a powerful motivator for so many Germans, who used arguments and self-justifications that are more resonant today than they have been for decades. Never more so than in the use of the idea of suffering - how ´our´ supposed suffering justifies ´theirs´.
His focus is very much on the mindset that brought about the Holocaust, the desire to ´make Germany great again´ and to make Germany´s perceived enemies suffer. Again, this story of dreams of national greatness, and racially-targeted redemptive malevolence could not be more resonant today.
Davidson foregrounds the stories of women, in part to illustrate the mindset of Nazi true believers - the German wife stationed in Poland, for example, who found a group of Jewish children who had escaped a mass execution, and shot them herself. He also describes the particular horror experienced by female inmates of the camps, who, as mothers, were the first to be killed alongside their children, and who were among the bravest of German resisters to the crimes being committed in their name - like twenty-one-year-old Sophie Scholl, whose leaflets listing and denouncing Nazi crimes resulted in her execution, in October 1943.