Book 7 – Ordinary Men

Just as with book #6, The Obstacle is the Way, this book has been laying on night stand for a considerable amount of time. I heard about it from an interview by Jordan Peterson and that it dives into the psychology on why ordinary men could become mass murderers during WW2. Either my interpretation or the scope of the book didn’t par up my expectations, but here is my “report” nonetheless. Enjoy the seventh one.

Ordinary Men

Like I mentioned, I bought this book because I thought it’d be written from a psychological perspective on how ordinary men could become mass murderers. God knows why I bought this book, considering the dark presupposition, but I did regardless. I thought it might be interesting since I’m fascinated by psychology and a better understanding of not only the positive, but also the negative sides of the human psyche could potentially serve as informative.

This book actually went into the account of mass murders during WW2 by a Police Battalion from Germany. It details the events around 1941 to 1943-or-so. Besides documenting the horrifying events during this period it also somewhat briefly goes into the responses of the police men that were part of those events. How could these ordinary people, from all walks of life, transform in those mass murderers during that period.

The book explains that there are multiple factors in play that caused the people to do whatever they did during that time. To simply say that Germans hated Jews and they thereby felt justified for their actions, merely scratches one of those factors. Not only racism, but the political climate, war itself and peer pressure were some of the other factors in play.

Take Aways

Finding take away’s or lessons from a book such as this is very difficult, in my opinion. One thing I did take away, and together with reading A Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl, is that my knowledge of the horrible things that happened during the 2nd World War is small. I don’t think it really sunk in how horrible the war, or any war for that matter, was/is and I’m incredibly blessed that it hasn’t happened in my lifetime.

Although this book proposes that virtually anyone in the same situation can turn from an ordinary men to a mass murderer I like to believe that I’m not one of those. More so than anything I hold my values dearly and I hold firmly a believe that my forgiveness and dislike to hurt will help me stay on a good path. All I can say is I hope such atrocities will never happen again.

Last Points

This book is incredibly dark and I honestly disliked reading this book. Although I’m wondering why someone would voluntarily throw him/herself in such a topic and make a study out of it, I also know that by learning from the past we can help to prevent those things from happening in the future.

A certain degree of military jargon and understanding of difficult political words is necessary for understanding this book I think. Therefor I had a great difficult in getting through to this book because often subjects got lost for me because of the use of concepts and words I don’t understand.

I don’t recommend reading this book as I don’t think it really helps with personal development and understanding yourself or others better. Aside from historians, scientists and others alike, I don’t think this book contributes a lot to normal people. I much rather focus and spend time on books that are actually helpful and get me to where I want to go.


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About the Author: Glenn