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All Rivers Run to the Sea: Memoirs Hardcover – November 14, 1995

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Editorial Reviews Review

The long-awaited memoirs of Wiesel, winner of the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize, tell the story of his happy childhood in the Carpathian Mountains, his subsequent years of hell in Auschwitz and Buchenwald, and his post-war life in France, where he discovered his voice as a writer. Highly recommended.

From Publishers Weekly

Wiesel's immensely moving, unforgettable memoir has the searing intensity of his novels and autobiographical tales. Before his family was arrested by Nazis in their Romanian village and transported by cattle car to Auschwitz in 1944, the devout, studious future Nobel Peace laureate had plunged into Jewish mysticism, hoping that his Kabbalistic prayers and formulas might ward off impending tragedy. In the concentration camps, he came to know his formerly aloof and deeply loved father, Shlomo, a rabbi, whose death in Buchenwald in 1945 left Wiesel, then 16, numb. Living in a French orphanage, he learned of the deaths of his mother and younger sister, and was reunited with the two sisters who survived. Wiesel, who gradually recovered his religious fervor, wrestles with the problem of having faith in the post-Holocaust era. As a Paris-based journalist aiding the Jewish resistance movement in Palestine, he discovered his calling?to testify to Nazi genocide, to justify his own survival. Moving to New York in the mid-1950s as correspondent for an Israeli paper, he covered civil rights struggles, the Eichmann trial in Israel and the 1967 Six Day War, befriended Golda Meir and David Ben-Gurion and supported persecuted Soviet Jews. His ascetic bachelor existence ended when he fell in love with and married Marion in 1969. He writes also of his formative friendships with Yiddish poet/thinker Abraham Yeoshua Heschel, Talmudic scholars Gershom Scholem and Saul Leiberman and itinerant mystic rabbi Mordechai Rosenbaum ("Shushani"). This haunting, impassioned book will make you cry yet, somehow, leave you renewed, with a cautious hope for humanity's future. Photos. First serial to Parade.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (November 14, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679439161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679439165
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 89 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In Elie Wiesel's beautiful book, Memoirs: All Rivers Run to the Sea, he again accomplishes what he has accomplished most perfectly in all of his previous works--translating the personal into the universal. Wiesel is also a master storyteller and he does his job flawlessly in this poignant and unforgettable book, relating his memoirs in a frame, both beginning and ending All Rivers Run to the Sea with a dream.
He beings with a dream about his father, and the haunting words, "Last night I saw my father in a dream." Of course, this is no ordinary dream, but a dream that reveals volumes about Wiesel's life and its ever-present themes. Imprisoned at both Buchenwald and Auschwitz, Wiesel, who shared the darkest moments of his life with his father, saw the man he never really knew die of starvation and dysentery, while his mother and youngest sister, the beautiful little Tzipora, were murdered in the ovens of Auschwitz.
In the second dream, Wiesel brings his memoirs to a close as he describes his joyous wedding day in the Old City of Jerusalem. Although a happy groom, Wiesel is by no means a traditional one. Retreating into a silent reverie, he tries somehow to include his parents and baby sister in the wedding festivities, thus rounding out the family circle he loved so much.
Between these two sad and haunting dreams, Wiesel, who often employs frames in relating a tale, tells us the story of the early years of his life.
Born in Sighet, Romania on 30 September 1928 to Shlomo and Sarah Feig Wiesel, Elie Wiesel lived the early years of his life happily, in the center of Jewish culture. Although his family was quite traditional, it was in Sighet that Wiesel began experimenting with more mystical lines of thought.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By David J. Loftus on May 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I liked this book, but not for most of the reasons I read in other people's reviews. I believe they have overvalued it because of what the author has undergone, because he's written other, more stunning books, and because Wiesel is almost a monument in himself.
Having heard of his Holocaust speeches and read his famous early concentration camp account, _Night_, I was unprepared for the naivete and gentle self-mockery that pervade this book. Yes, it talks about his roots, his tussles with religion, his adventures and misadventures as a journalist and friend/antagonist of the great.
But what a surprise to see his repeated references to all the pretty faces that caught his eye and how badly he usually fared in approaching them: "I indulged in some serious flirting, by which I mean that I talked to them of things too serious to achieve the desired result." "I thought about all the girls in Versailles and all the unknown women in trains who didn't know how much I loved them, and about all the sins I lacked the courage to commit." "I knew if I lowered my guard I would be hit by one of those thunderbolts I never knew how to handle. So of course I lowered my guard." "I spoke to her of destiny, and of Dante for good measure. She told me not to be a fool."
It may strike some readers almost as monotonous, but I found Wiesel's willingness to speak of things all men experience, yet never include in their autobiographies, refreshing. The other reviews stress the IMPORTANCE, almost PONDEROUSNESS, of this book, yet that's not what I'm left with at all. Wiesel is also amazingly open and childlike.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 6, 1998
Format: Hardcover
How many people in this world, as they go about living out their lives, will ever come to an understanding of the human cost that was exacted in the Holocaust? Sure, there will always be the auto-pilot responses in which people quote the six-million figure while shaking their heads, but often their knowledge does not go beyond this point. In the pages of "All Rivers Run to the Sea," Elie Wiesel is willing to lay bare his soul in order to create understanding as a living, yet still wounded, witness of the Holocaust. Without this premise, perhaps this would be just another autobiography of a globe-trotting journalist, and the intrigue of international diplomacy. But it is much, much more than that. Indirectly, Wiesel shows himself as a man who is never able to be completely happy, completely alive...completely whole. When the Jewish people in his village were rounded up, shipped off, imprisoned, starved, and killed, a part of himself dies as well. Thus, there are constant flashbacks in the book to his parents who did not survive. As Elie experiences the events of life, and the decades pass on, the reality of what occurred to his family and so many others haunts his dreams and his writings. By and by, the reader is able to see that the human cost of the Holocaust is as close as their own mother and father. This is the subtle power of these memoirs.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I received this book as a gift from my father a few years ago. I've just recently graduated from high school and found the time to read this book. I have always been interested in the atrocities of the holocaust, myself being Jewish; and after reading Wiesel's "Night" I've wanted to know more. I am reading Wiesel's memoirs right now and I can't say how much he is inspiring me to follow whims and dreams that I might have. I have a friend who is attending Boston University, and will have Prof. Wiesel for a Humanities professor. I have been so touched by Wiesel's words that I am forcing my friend to allow me to sit in on one of his classes. I will do anything just to meet, or even see the man who has suffered and survived so much.
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