The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization
By Nicholson Baker
566 pages. Simon & Schuster. $30.
In 1939 the editor of a Zionist newspaper in New York sent a letter to Mahatma Gandhi pointing out that in Nazi Germany “a Jewish Gandhi would last about five minutes before he was executed.” Gandhi stuck fast to his nonviolent principles. “I can conceive the necessity of the immolation of hundreds, if not thousands, to appease the hunger of dictators,” he replied.