Through moving interviews with five ordinary people who rescued Jews during the Holocaust, political science and philosophy professor Kristen Monroe—also the author of The Heart of Altruism—casts new light on a question at the heart of ethics: Why do people risk their lives for strangers and what drives such moral choices? Monroe's analysis points not to traditional explanations—such as religion or reason—but to identity. The rescuers' perceptions of themselves in relation to others made their extraordinary acts spontaneous and left the rescuers no choice but to act. To turn away Jews was, for them, literally unimaginable. In the words of one German Czech rescuer, "The hand of compassion was faster than the calculus of reason."
"Approximately two-thirds of this volume is devoted to personal narratives of five rescuers, based on interviews conducted by Monroe. The autobiographies of the rescuers are substantial additions to the body of Holocaust testimony. To her credit, Monroe is an unobtrusive interviewer and a light-handed editor who allows the stories to unfold in illuminating detail."—Choice