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Schindler's List Paperback – December 1, 1993
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"The Swans of Fifth Avenue" by Melanie Benjamin
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1992 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
(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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wow, I read it pretty late but better than never...This book is something you should read.Published 17 days ago by shannon
I saw the movie years ago but wanted to read the book , to gain more insight into the man, he should be beatified- he was a true saint!Published 3 months ago by Judith Z.
Fast shipping and nice book. Could have been cleaned a little.Published 3 months ago by 22Ready2Read22
A little boring at first but got interesting. A lot of graphic things, but I expected that based on the subject matter.Published 3 months ago by Karen Holroyd