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Showing 1-6 of 6 reviews(2 star). Show all reviews
on March 25, 2015
The book was supposed to be in good condition but there are a lot of loose pages in the book
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on February 9, 2003
Before I begin, let's get one thing straight. "Maus" is, first and foremost, a biography; the story of it's author's father, holocaust survivor Vladek Spiegelman. If those who've chastised it's subject's prejudice towards Poles and it's "not telling the whole story" ever had sight of this in the first place, they lost it somewhere between the beginning and the end of their read. Perhaps the fact that the true faces of Mr. Spiegelman and the men and women he crossed paths with were replaced by those of cartoon mice, cats, pigs, dogs and frogs caused these amateur critics to forget that the graphic novel they held in their hands told a true story, nonetheless. Whatever the case, their comments hold no relevance, and do not belong, in the critiquing of a biography. "Maus" never claims to be "the whole story", only Vladek's, and while one can criticize a writer for creating fictional characters that are too much or too little of, or just are, almost anything, the only criterion that writer need meet in a work of nonfiction is truthfulness. By portraying his father as prejudiced, Art Spiegelman is not only portraying him truthfully, but also revealing one of the many indelible marks left on him by the holocaust. Art has also taken a lot of heat for the specific species of animals he chose to represent different ethnicities in the book, as some have called them racist and demeaning, but there are good reasons behind his choices; reasons that should be obvious to anyone with the slightest knowledge of the specific ethnicities in question and the nature of their relationships with one another historically, and it would've been to the detriment of "Maus" had he compromised his art for the sake of political correctness. As much as I've just defended him, however, Spiegelman may have bitten off a little more than he could chew with this undertaking. I'm a huge fan of graphic novels, and recognize the flexibility they lend to the telling of a story, but there's a reason why most graphic novelists delegate the illustration of their books to more able hands. Art decided instead to expose an otherwise sound and intimate tale to his artistic inadequacies by shouldering the whole load himself. His cartoon animal faces, aside from being difficult to tell apart, lack expression and emotion, the latter, of course, vital to any attempt at depicting Nazi Germany's subjugation of the Jews from his chosen side of the fence. What hurts "Maus" the most, though, is it's absence of a proper conclusion. While I have no problem with sequels, any installment in a series of novels, graphic or not, should be able to stand alone as a complete work, especially if, as is the case here, it's all that's being reviewed. A sequel was released a number of years later, and the resulting two-volume "Maus" boxed set was subsequently awarded the Pulitzer Prize, but, just like the comments of those afforementioned critics, talk of that sequel and that set holds no relevance in this critique, which is one of a work that will ultimately leave it's audience unsatisfied if purchased outside of the box.
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on November 30, 2014
I gave 2 stars because of the story.
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on January 18, 2002
While I don't consider myslef an "expert" on literature from the Holocaust or about the Holocaust, I have read far more than my fair share. My very favorite is "The Hiding Place" by Corrie ten Boom. I have also personally visited places such as Ravensbrück, Anne Franks's house, and Corrie ten Boom's house, not to mention numerous different Holocaust museums around the world.
Spiegelman's work just doesn't compare. Perhaps it's a good piece for those who can't handle the "heavier" stuff and the real horrors of that time. But I think that everyone should be forced to face this. Maybe Maus can be a beginning.
Otherwise, the work seems to water down the situation. Spiegelman portrays things as they really were, but then he jumps so fast to something else that the reader forgets. The work is uninspiring. I also do not find the form of a graphic novel to be as brillant as others. Again, maybe this is a good beginning for some.
If anything, this is a good look at how survivors of the Holocaust endured a personal hell long after the war was over.
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on November 21, 2001
Perhaps Spiegelman's choice of pigs to represent Poles is innocent. However, there is not doubt what the Germans meant when they used the epithet "Schweine" (swine) for the subjugated Poles. To the extent that Spiegelman is copying the Germans' vocabulary, he is taking part in their mentality. If, however, the choice of pigs is meant to imply that the Poles were well-fed, then this is an utter travesty of history. Fact is that, while Poles were better off than the Jews, it was not by much. The Poles under German occupation had very little to eat compared with the French, Belgians, etc., under German occupation. And, by showing Poles killing Jews who returned for their property, he is distorting events by depicting something as normal that happened to perhaps several hundred Jews out of some 200,000 who likewise came to reclaim their property without incident. In any case, the anti-Polish slant is rather obvious.
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on November 21, 2001
Perhaps Spiegelman's choice of pigs to represent Poles is innocent. However, there is not doubt what the Germans meant when they used the epithet "Schweine" (swine) for the subjugated Poles. To the extent that Spiegelman is copying the Germans' vocabulary, he is taking part in their mentality. If, however, the choice of pigs is meant to imply that the Poles were well-fed, then this is an utter travesty of history. Fact is that, while Poles were better off than the Jews, it was not by much. The Poles under German occupation had very little to eat compared with the French, Belgians, etc., under German occupation. And, by showing Poles killing Jews who returned for their property, he is distorting events by depicting something as normal that happened to perhaps several hundred Jews out of some 200,000 who likewise came to reclaim their property without incident. In addition, Spiegelman fails to mention that large numbers of Jews were collaborating with the much-hated newly-installed Soviet Communist puppet government, and that is the reason why some Poles resorted to killing Jews. In any case, the anti-Polish slant of this comic, no less so than that of much educational Holocaust material, is rather obvious.
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