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Night (Night) Paperback – January 16, 2006
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“A slim volume of terrifying power.” ―The New York Times
“Required reading for all of humanity.” ―Oprah
“Wiesel has taken his own anguish and imaginatively metamorphosed it into art.” ―Curt Leviant, Saturday Review
“To the best of my knowledge no one has left behind him so moving a record.” ―Alfred Kazin
“What makes this book so chilling is not the pretense of what happened but a very real description of every thought, fear and the apathetic attitude demonstrated as a response . . . Night, Wiesel's autobiographical masterpiece, is a heartbreaking memoir. Wiesel has taken his painful memories and channeled them into an amazing document which chronicles his most intense emotions every step along the way.” ―Jose Del Real, Anchorage Daily News
“As a human document, Night is almost unbearably painful, and certainly beyond criticism.” ―A. Alvarez, Commentary
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It's not very long but it didn't need to be. It is heart wrenching and infuriating and inspiring and about a million other adjectives I could think of... but that's the kind of feeling we need to experience when we're reading about this type of horror. The real life, actual horror people inflict on one another, sick, twisted, wretched, heartbreaking and utterly disgustingness of what Nazi Germany really did.
Elie survived, that in itself is a miracle, that he chose to share that terrible chapter of his life with all of us so that we may learn, that's his gift to us. Don't waste that.
It only takes good men to do nothing for evil to prevail. Keep your eyes open, people.
There are so many memorable scenes in this short book: the journey in the cramped cattle cars; the arrival at the camp; the sight, sound, and ash of the crematorium; the hanging of a child; the crusts of bread; the forced march when the camp was abandoned at war’s end; the gratuitous murders even in a place where gratuitous murder was the organizing principle. And there are so many painful moments, most having to do with loss: the loss of God, the loss of identity, the loss of friends and family, in the end the loss of his father, too, who was his mainstay through most of the ordeal. But there are also moments of remembering that humanity must be preserved. As the camp was being evacuated, the prisoners stopped long enough to clean their prison camp. Why? To let the liberating army know “that here lived men and not pigs.” I was reminded of Italian chemist Primo Levi’s account of his imprisonment in Auschwitz, If This Is a Man, in which he describes the ex-army sergeant who washed daily, even though the water was dirty and he had only his soiled clothes to dry himself with. But he did it, and encouraged others to do the same, for the sake of dignity more than cleanliness, to remain human and to prevent the machine of war, imprisonment, and dehumanization from turning prisoners into beasts, as its masters wished it to do.
This book is a ringing call to remember, and to resist injustice, ignorance, and apathy. As Wiesel said in his speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 (reprinted at the end of this book): “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.”
This a mature book, but it is definitely a must read for teenagers and adults. The ideas may be a too strong for children or pre-teens. It is poignant and graphic, but gets a clear message across. If you’re looking for short read and have interest in the holocaust and the victims who suffered through it, this is the book for you. I suggest you read through the preface and the forward in the beginning of the book, as well as the author’s note at the end. All in all, this is a great book that will provide you with both information and a saddening perspective of World War II.
I feel for the survivors, their families. I worry for my children who will learn that great men like this author are less than current winners of this prestigious award. It is up to us, the third generation, the generation that makes or erases history, "to look into that young Jews eyes and say ... That we are not forgetting [them]. When their voices are stifled, we will lend them ours"
Here is my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Top international reviews
I would urge everybody to take the time to read this book because the people and ideas who brought about this horror are once more in the ascendant and it falls to us send them back to the shadows where they belong.
I know growing up we all learnt about WWII and the millions of Jews who sadly perished, but reading it from a first hand perspective opened up another avenue, reading the story I became emotionally attached, I felt as though I was along Elie throughout.
Emotional, amazing if you love history / World War books please read Night.
The book left me with an additional, powerfully emotive thought. As an evangelical Christian who believes that Jesus is the only way to God, the implications of the narrative that I've been taught would consign the vast mass of Jews who perished in the Holocaust to an everlasting hell. In other words, first Hitler's torture chambers; then God's torture chambers - the narrative being that those who don't come to faith in Jesus as Messiah in this life are eternally lost.
There's something fundamentally wrong with this narrative. I don't have all the answers, but prefer to think in terms of restitution and reconciliation between the oppressor and the victim, the tormentor and the tormented. If not in this life, certainly in the next. I hope with all my heart that Elie Wiesel sees his family again. The parts where he writes of his little sister, and his relationship with his father, are the most deeply moving in the book.
It's mainly about his thoughts and reactions to events and its impact on his behaviour and beliefs.
This is not death camp porn but powerful and thought provoking autobiography.
Many of the experiences described are horrific. We read about extreme inhumanity combined with grotesqueries. For example, when the prisoners are forced to watch hangings at Auschwitz the order rings out, `Caps off!' and then, `Cover your heads!' It is a ritualistic gesture to a more civilized world.
The forced evacuation from Auschwitz to Buchenwald (in January 1945) is even more horrific than Auschwitz itself.
The inability or refusal of the Sighet Jews to believe the stories they heard is intriguing, but one should bear in mind that for a long time the British and American governments were reluctant to trust the reports reaching them from Poland about the Holocaust.
The book describes the author's loss of faith. Where was God at Auschwitz? This question arises again and again in different forms.
I'd recommend the book highly to anyone interested in the Holocaust. It would also be very useful reading when teaching the Holocaust in schools - at least to pupils aged 15+.