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Schindler's List Hardcover – September 1, 1994

229 customer reviews

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Hardcover, September 1, 1994
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A mesmerizing novel based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German industralist who saved and succored more than 1000 Jews from the Nazis at enormous financial and emotional expense.

Copyright 1992 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

How the German Oskar Schindler came to save more than one thousand Polish Jews during the Holocaust is one of the most fascinating stories of the century. Although millions are now learning about Schindler through Steven Spielberg's recent Academy AwardR-winning film, his achievement first gained prominence with Keneally's 1982 "facticious" novel (which is also the basis for the film). Keneally's account is less melodramatic than the motion picture, and although he does not fully explain how a hedonistic German could have been so altered by the plight of the Jewish workers in his factory, he does make Schindler less enigmatic than the big-screen version. Ben Kingsley, one of the film's stars, reads in a calculatedly matter-of-fact tone, letting the story's power alone convey its complicated emotions. Highly recommended.
Michael Adams, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. Lib., Madison, N.J.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (September 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671516884
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671516888
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (229 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #782,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on December 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
Thomas Keneally's Booker Prize-winning, fictionalized biography of Oskar Schindler memorializes a member of the Nazi party who endangered his own life for four years, working privately to save Jews from the death camps. A playboy who loved fine wines and foods, he was also a smooth-talking manipulator (and briber) of Nazi officials, as well as a clever entrepreneur, already on his way to stunning financial success by the early days of World War II. Nowhere in Schindler's background are there any hints that he would one day become the savior of eleven hundred Jewish men and women.

While the excellent film of this novel concentrates on the dangers Schindler and "his Jews" faced daily throughout the war, Keneally, well known for his depictions of characters acting under stress, concentrates on the character of Oskar Schindler himself, beginning with his childhood and teen years. As he explores Schindler's transformation from war profiteer and "passive" Nazi to a man willing to use his fortune to ensure the salvation of his factory workers, Keneally reveals a man of enormous courage and derring-do, a man who thrives by living on the edge.

Presenting episodes from the lives of some of the "Schindlerjuden," Keneally highlights their humanity, creating moments of high drama. Characters such as Leopold Pfefferberg and factory manager Itzhak Stern move in and out of the narrative, illustrating graphically the extent to which their lives depend upon Oskar Schindler, while the constant intrusion of sadistic SS commandant Amon Goeth in Schindler's life shows the fragility of their security. Other stories, of people who just missed being saved by Schindler, highlight the arbitrariness of fate--chance--in their (and our) lives.
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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Frederick M. Segrest on September 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
I saw the movie ten years ago so I thought I knew what to expect from this novel.
(By the way, this is a _fictionalized_ account of a story that is, for the most part, true, and is well-researched by the author)
This novel is very well written, and full of themes that apply today as much as they did during the holocaust. The thing I like about this story is it forces the reader to examine what makes a man good vs. what makes a man evil. Schindler starts the novel as a brilliant but self-serving war profiteer, exploiting his jewish workers in some of the same ways as the Nazi Party starts out doing. However, Schindler sees a few things that start him on the course to becoming a modern-day saviour, the most impressive image being the brutal killing of a little jewish girl whose beautiful red dress he had admired from across the ghetto.
The book is filled with shocking imagery such as this, which make it all the more moving, but not recommended for the faint-of-heart. There were many passages I read, after which I could feel my stomach turning.
Oskar Schindler saw all this first-hand, and you feel as if you do as well when reading this book. Schindler risked his life throughout the entire war to save thousands of jews who were completely dependent on him. The whole time he was also competing with an SS Captain who probably killed, on any whim, ten Jews for every one life that Schindler saved.
I would highly recommend this book, despite the fact that there are thousands of holocaust books on the market. This one transcends the setting.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Robbie Lewis on January 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is Thomas Keneally at his best. The chance meeting with a Schindler Jew in a Los Angeles shop made a book, then a movie, then a global project to catalogue the stories of Holocaust survivors. It took Spielberg and Hollywood to bring the story to the screen but it was Keneally and his evocative text on the life of Oskar Schindler that bought the story to the world. His choice to use the texture of a novel works well. As the author said himself, this seemed the best way to handle a character with the ambiguity and magnitude of that celebrated Sudeten charmer.
But a novelist's approach also makes it easier to convey meaning, to explore and probe every shadow, each emotion, any nuance. Keneally's gift is to do this well. The highlight of the book is his brilliant study of Oskar and Amon, good with bad, the German bon vivant versus the Dark Prince. Like two heads of the same coin, Keneally shows nobility and evil as uncomfortably close bedfellows. There go I but the grace of God...
Keneally has a well-deserved reputation as one of Australia's greatest writers, but the forces this book has set in train, perhaps, have not been fully acknowledged. Fortunately, for a select group of southern Polish Jews in World War II, a saviour was in their midst. Fortunately, for those that followed, there was a writer who saved the saviour's story for us all.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful By johniii on July 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
It appears as though everyone loves the book and therefore I may be writing an unpopular review. However, though I think it is a valuable use of your time to digest Keneally's effort, I was a little surprised at its style and content. Now, I don't normally read fiction, so I probably don't have an adequate basis for judging good fiction, but when I saw it was a novel I figured it would be a pretty easy read.
I was surprised to find Keaneally's novel read a lot more like a biography--filled with facts, but not much of a plot. Most of the book is written in the narrative and there is very little dialogue. Though the facts are interesting and have valuable historical content, they do not read, at least for me, like a novel.
Also, the first 1/3 to 1/2 of the book is laden with German terms and words, which are in themselves educational and undoubtfully helpful for anyone who wishes to deny their ethnocentricity. However, I found the terms to be obtrusive to the flow of my read and found myself straining a little as the book got underway.
If you had the choice of reading the book or watching the movie, I would definitely recommend the book....the effort is worth your time. However, don't expect a light read. The book will flesh out the atrocity with greater detail and paint a picture of Schindler which is not quite matched by the movie. Hollywood seems to lack the objective approach. However, if you're not too interested in details, you don't mind a romanticized Schindler, and you have a hundred other books on your reading list, then see the movie and you'll probably still understand, at least in part, the essence of the Holocaust and the man with the list.
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