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The Book Thief Paperback – October 15, 2013
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“Brilliant and hugely ambitious…Some will argue that a book so difficult and sad may not be appropriate for teenage readers…Adults will probably like it (this one did), but it’s a great young-adult novel…It’s the kind of book that can be life-changing, because without ever denying the essential amorality and randomness of the natural order, The Book Thief offers us a believable hard-won hope…The hope we see in Liesel is unassailable, the kind you can hang on to in the midst of poverty and war and violence. Young readers need such alternatives to ideological rigidity, and such explorations of how stories matter. And so, come to think of it, do adults.” -New York Times, May 14, 2006
"The Book Thief is unsettling and unsentimental, yet ultimately poetic. Its grimness and tragedy run through the reader's mind like a black-and-white movie, bereft of the colors of life. Zusak may not have lived under Nazi domination, but The Book Thief deserves a place on the same shelf with The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel's Night. It seems poised to become a classic."
- USA Today
"Zusak doesn’t sugarcoat anything, but he makes his ostensibly gloomy subject bearable the same way Kurt Vonnegut did in Slaughterhouse-Five: with grim, darkly consoling humor.”
- Time Magazine
"Elegant, philosophical and moving...Beautiful and important."
- Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"This hefty volume is an achievement...a challenging book in both length
- Publisher's Weekly, Starred
"One of the most highly anticipated young-adult books in years."
- The Wall Street Journal
"Exquisitely written and memorably populated, Zusak's poignant tribute to words, survival, and their curiously inevitable entwinement is a tour
de force to be not just read but inhabited."
- The Horn Book Magazine, Starred
"An extraordinary narrative."
- School Library Journal, Starred
"The Book Thief will be appreciated for Mr. Zusak's audacity, also on display in his earlier I Am the Messenger. It will be widely read and admired because it tells a story in which books become treasures. And because there's no arguing with a sentiment like that."
- New York Times
About the Author
Markus Zusak is the author of I Am the Messenger, a Printz Honor Book and Los Angeles Times Book Award Finalist, and the international bestseller, The Book Thief, which has been translated into over thirty languages and has sold nine million copies around the world. He is the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens and lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and children.
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No words can express the surge of emotions that came with this book. I lived with these characters, survived the stories (and the war) and have found an honest love of words, and stories, again!
The way the story was relayed was brilliant and well done. I laughed, I held my breath and I cried when it was over. This is definitely a book I want to reread for the first time!
I had followed that , somewhat , reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer , the theologian who attempted , with others , to kill Hitler. This was the best novel I have read that looks at a different Germany. It also presented a look at the rise of Hitler and why he rose so quickly with the power he had.
The story of the young girl and her adopted family and friends was a powerful one.
I look forward to reading more books by Zusak.
Overall, a great book. You will not regret purchasing and reading it yourself.
The interwoven lives of the characters are complex, amazing, and disturbing. Of course, how could a story set in World War II era Germany fail to be complex and disturbing.
The narrater is death. Yes, death. Not an unwise choice to narrate a war story. Death, as you may imagine, is rather busy in a time of war.
The main protagonist is a young girl, Liesel, the daughter of communists (hint: not a good thing to be in Nazi Germany). Her world is chock full of strange, interesting, and odd characters, from her foul mouthed foster mother and contrastingly gentle foster father, to various acquaintances on Himmel Street outside Munich. Although death tells the story, it is mostly presented as the story of Liesel and the people that were or are a part of her young life. Liesel, not surprisingly, experiences much death and loss, in general. However, the better side of humanity is illustrated in both large and small ways all around her.
1."Deutschland Uber Alles", the german national anthem, sung in the story in a Nazi context, has never meant Germany over all other nations(a common misconception) but rather allegiance to the German national state rather than the particular region, duchy, principality, or free city which comprised Germany throughout most of her history prior to unification in the 19th century. This is a phenomenon known as eidgennosenschaft(sic) in German history.
2.Hitler and the Nazis never garnered near the 90% support alleged in the novel. The highest percentage of the popular vote the Nazis ever received, in the 1932 elections, was a little over 33%, the following year it fell back to around 32%, which was when they made their move, used the conservatives and aristocrats to secure the Chancellorship after which Hitler consolidated his power and abolished opposition. The point being that Naziism, extremism, anti-semitism is not particular to Germany or the Germans or, to paraphrase the American Thomas Sowell, the Third Reich should serve as a warning to anyone enamored of charismatic leaders and the power of rhetoric.
All of which is the point of the book, i.e. the power of words, both to seduce us to evil ends and to arm us in opposition. In Christian mythology, after all, Satan is the Master of Lies, the Deceiver who seduces us with his silver tongue to do evil. Which, in fact, in my opinion is as good an explanation as any, novels or history, as to how Hitler came to power and the horrors that followed.
Altogether, a very good read.