This excellent book could have only been written by an historian with ties to Judaism and much of it was destined to fall on deaf ears on both sides of the political/cultural divide. Being a non-Jew but interested in politics, this book seems to mesh well with other books that are nominally on the subject and my own experience. My favorite, aside from this one, is Culture of Critique by Kevin MacDonald which appears to have been received as a mixed blessing, like this one, by the "Jewish community" judging from some of the reviews and the author's comments in an update. It would be good to hear from Prof. Novick in this regard as both books appear to be well done academic works and the subsequent "debate" could add to the understanding of the controversial topic.
Several books could help a serious reader, and Paul Johnson's History of the Jews, especially the last part on Zion, is among others in that category. The Holocaust Industry by Norman G. Finkelstein, Salvation is from the Jews by Roy H. Schoeman and The Politics of Anti-Semitism by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair are not academic works but provided this writer with some good background of the diversity of Jewish opinions on the subject.
Prize-winning historian Peter Novick illuminates the reasons Americans ignored the Holocaust for so long -- how dwelling on German crimes interfered with Cold War mobilization; how American Jews, not wanting to be thought of as victims, avoided the subject. He explores in absorbing detail the decisions that later moved the Holocaust to the center of American life: Jewish leaders invoking its memory to muster support for Israel and to come out on top in a sordid competition over what group had suffered most; politicians using it to score points with Jewish voters. With insight and sensitivity, Novick raises searching questions about these developments. Have American Jews, by making the Holocaust the emblematic Jewish experience, given Hitler a posthumous victory, tacitly endorsing his definition of Jews as despised pariahs? Does the Holocaust really teach useful lessons and sensitize us to atrocities, or, by making the Holocaust the measure, does it make lesser crimes seem "not so bad"? What are we to make of the fact that while Americans spend hundreds of millions of dollars for museums recording a European crime, there is no museum of American slavery?