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If This Is a Man and The Truce Paperback – January 1, 1991
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A life-changing book.―Daily Express
The death of Primo Levi robs Italy of one of its finest writers...One of the few survivors of the Holocaust to speak of his experiences with a gentle voice―GUARDIAN
THE TRUCE:―'One of the century's truly necessary books.â??
Philip Roth―'One of the greatest human testaments of the era.â??
About the Author
Primo Levi was born in Turin in 1919 and trained as chemist. Arrested a member of the anti-fascist resistance during the war, he was deported to Auschwitz. His experiences there are described in his two classic autobiographical works, IF THIS IS A MAN and THE TRUCE.
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There are few books in life the legitimately change the way you look at the world or yourself but this is one of them. I have a background in WWII history so a great deal of the details were already known to me. What impacted me more was how the author wrote with true humanity and an absolute lack of apology. He presented what happened to him and others without trying to dramatize it and without holding back which is a difficult balance to achieve and maintain. An aspect that he addresses a lot is how the basics of what it is that makes us human continue to manifest even under the most inhumane circumstances.
If I were to recommend only one book to people, it would be this one. Even if you are not interested in in WWII history or are uncomfortable with the subject matter I suggest giving it a try anyway. The lessons this book has to offer stretch far beyond knowledge of one of the most atrocious acts in human history. As important as it is to learn about the devastation and cruelty of what happened during the Holocaust, and it is truly important in this day and age not to forget the depth humans can sink, this book also offers lessons into what unites us all and makes us human.
In The Truce Levi describes the few months after the Soviets freed the remaining prisoners. You get a sense for the confusion and human destruction in Eastern Europe--his travels took him to Romania and up to Belarus and then back the same way and through Austria back to his native Italy. We meet all sorts of strange characters who survived the war. In the end he reunites with his family.