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Schindler's List PDF, ePub eBook In the shadow of Auschwitz, a flamboyant German industrialist grew into a living legend to the Jews of Cracow. He was a womaniser, a heavy drinker and a bon viveur, but to them he became a saviour. This is the extraordinary story of Oskar Schindler, who risked his life to protect Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland and who was transformed by the war into a man with a mission, a c In the shadow of Auschwitz, a flamboyant German industrialist grew into a living legend to the Jews of Cracow. He was a womaniser, a heavy drinker and a bon viveur, but to them he became a saviour. This is the extraordinary story of Oskar Schindler, who risked his life to protect Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland and who was transformed by the war into a man with a mission, a compassionate angel of mercy.

30 review for Schindler's List

  1. 4 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    Much has been said about the 1993 Stephen Spielberg Oscar-winning movie. In 2007, it ranked 8th in the 100 Best American Movies For All Times list. I saw it twice in the movie house when it was released. I bought copies of it. Copies... because you know how technology progresses: VHS, then VCD, then DVD, then Blue Ray. (when will this ever stop?) Every time I bought me a copy, I watched it. Every time I watched it, I cried. But surprisingly, I did not cry reading the book, 1982 Thomas Keanally’s Much has been said about the 1993 Stephen Spielberg Oscar-winning movie. In 2007, it ranked 8th in the 100 Best American Movies For All Times list. I saw it twice in the movie house when it was released. I bought copies of it. Copies... because you know how technology progresses: VHS, then VCD, then DVD, then Blue Ray. (when will this ever stop?) Every time I bought me a copy, I watched it. Every time I watched it, I cried. But surprisingly, I did not cry reading the book, 1982 Thomas Keanally’s (born 1935) Booker Prize winning Schindler’s List. Rather, I was enthralled by it. Do you know the feeling when you're eyes are wide awake and your brain is busy trying to absorb what you are reading especially facts and figures? You do not have time to cry. It is normally “the book is better than the movie” for me. Not this time. The book made me understand the movie more. So, saying that the movie is better than the book is an injustice to the book. After all, the movie was based on that and Spielberg was so faithful to it, you will easily recall the scene in the movie while reading the book. Spielberg tried to tell us a story by showing glorious black-and-white moving pictures on the screen. Keneally tells us the background of each mostly harrowing scene and each of the many unforgettable characters: their stories, their background, and their fates. Spielberg was constrained by the length of his reel(s) of film, i.e., production cost. Keneally did not have any limit on how many pages his novel would take. He has a rich source of information: Poldek Pfefferberg (1913-2001), one of the 1,100 Holocaust survivors saved by Schindler, called Schindlerjuden and who has made his life’s mission to tell the story of his savior, Oscar Schindler (1908-1974). As in any of Holocaust novels, my heart bleeds most when it comes to the innocent children caught in the midst of it all. Who would forget the 8-y/o Olek Dresden who hides in the man’s toilet hole? Olek is the son of Henry Dresden who is the guy playing the piano in one of the scenes inside the house of Herr Kommander Amon Goethe, the heartless camp commander. In the book, it is not Olek who hides in this disgusting hole. It is an unnamed 11-y/o boy and the book’s description, the scent is revolting and flies swarming the boy’s eyes, ears and mouth. This is one of the many information that you don’t get from watching the movie. Who could forget the red little girl? Red dress. Red hat. Tiny red boots. This 3-y/o girl innocently roaming around inside the ghetto while executions are happening left and right while horse-riding Oscar and his girlfriend are watching from atop of the hill? She survived the Holocaust and when she saw the movie, she identified herself to the press. She is Genia Dresner cousin to another character, Danka Dresner the 14-y/o bespectacled girl who also survived the holocaust together with her mother, Chaja Dresner and father, Juda Dresner. It’s just that I cannot find a copy of Danka’s picture to remind you of her. I also failed to find Lisiek’s. Lisiek is that 8-y/o boy who Amon shoots while traversing the field inside the concentration camp because he fails to clean the stain in Amon’s bathtub. If I keep on giving you what I learned from this book, I will have a very long review. I also find enjoyed the last parts of the book giving the information on what happened to Oscar and Emily Schindler (his legal wife) after the war very interesting. Of course, you should know that Oscar Schindler is not a saintly person and so the moral is that even how bad some people seem to be, there is something good in them. Sometimes, God provides the opportunity for us to do good things to others. When He come knocking, harden not your hearts. You may not have a tree in the Avenue of Righteous people but it always pays to be a good person.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Fabian

    I was sort of familiar with the Schindler legacy--probably seen the film 5 or 6 times. (Isn't it peculiar that although it is regarded as one of the best biographies/films of all time it hardly ever makes it on any person's personal favorites lists? Blame the subject matter entirely.) So this is basically a reading that concentrates most of its attention on all the details that Steven Spielberg failed to bring to the screen. Because that inevitably occurs with all adaptations. Well, this is almos I was sort of familiar with the Schindler legacy--probably seen the film 5 or 6 times. (Isn't it peculiar that although it is regarded as one of the best biographies/films of all time it hardly ever makes it on any person's personal favorites lists? Blame the subject matter entirely.) So this is basically a reading that concentrates most of its attention on all the details that Steven Spielberg failed to bring to the screen. Because that inevitably occurs with all adaptations. Well, this is almost an encyclopedia! The astonishing amount of research that went into this project boggles the mind: it is a full lifetime. I'm plagued with an image of a skeleton being dressed up with flesh and meat... like giving a body of fleshy substance to a ghost. What I didn't know about Oskar Schindler & the Schindler jews: 1)Schindler's adolescence was unique (son of rich Roman Catholics) & charming (he was a fan of motorbike racing) 2)the original proposal: all Jews were going to be relocated far far away--to Madagascar! 3)some Jews approved of the ghetto at first since they thought that they would be free to worship and carry out their affairs with the enemies outside of the walls. 4)if you were OD & failed to deliver a family to the SS, then yours would be forfeit (thus, the motivation for Jews to turn against each other) 5)there were other Schindler-like saviors, millionaires who gave up everything to save lives, though their stories are told ELSEWHERE. 6)the book gives more in-depth biographies of the survivors, like those of Poldek Pfefferberg and Amon's maid, Helen Hirsch. 7)RESISTANCE- hinted at in the film; here, it is noted that something very similar to what occurs in Tarantino's "Inglorious Basterds" occurred in real life-- rebels did destroy the only SS-only cinema! 8)the little girl in the red coat. For the film it is an emblem of hope, a very visual reminder. The book tells us that her name was Genia & it is because Schindler sees her from the hilltop, sees the determination in her and that invisible string that carries her to safety after the Aktion of the ghetto, that he gives up his life to the cause. Why does she survive? She's immune, like a Virgil that can accompany us down into the underworld unscathed. Because no one shields her from the horror of the massacre, because nobody cares for censorship or human dignity, because she is ALONE... it is that Schindler becomes Schindler. & lastly, I would add that the book is somewhat more digestible than the movie. It still allows for the throat to constrict and for shivers to cover the entire body. I cannot pick one over the other since they both masterfully voice and embody the testament this great man left behind.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Schindler's Ark = Schindler's List, Thomas Keneally Schindler's Ark (released in America as Schindler's List) is a Booker Prize-winning historical fiction novel published in 1982 by Australian novelist Thomas Keneally, which was later adapted into the highly successful movie Schindler's List directed by Steven Spielberg. The United States version of the book was called Schindler's List from the beginning; it was later re-issued in Commonwealth countries under that name as well. The novel was also Schindler's Ark = Schindler's List, Thomas Keneally Schindler's Ark (released in America as Schindler's List) is a Booker Prize-winning historical fiction novel published in 1982 by Australian novelist Thomas Keneally, which was later adapted into the highly successful movie Schindler's List directed by Steven Spielberg. The United States version of the book was called Schindler's List from the beginning; it was later re-issued in Commonwealth countries under that name as well. The novel was also awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction in 1983. تاریخ نخستین خومانش: روز نهم ماه ژوئن سال 2009 میلادی عنوان: فهرست شیندلر؛ اثر: تامس کنیلی؛ مترجم: الگا کیایی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، نشر سمن، 1379، در 312 ص، شابک: 9646298141؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان استرالیایی سده 20 م اسکار شیندلر، تاجری معمولی، و عضو حزب نازی ست، به خاطر طبع خوشگذران خود، و با توجه به دوستی، بین او و مقامات رده بالای ارتش، که بیشتر به خاطر سخاوت وی است، موفق می‌شود کارخانه‌ ای را، با پول یهودیانی که در خفا با آنان شریک شده، بخرد. سپس با توجه به همین روابط خود یهودیان را، به عنوان کارگر در کارخانه به کار می‌گیرد. رفته رفته همین راه فراری، برای بعضی از یهودیانی می‌شود، که در قرنطینه مانده‌ اند، و خطر مرگ هر لحظه آنان را تهدید می‌کند. ... ا. شربیانی

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shirley Revill

    I read this book some time ago and I also watched the movie. I am not ashamed to say that this book and the film made me cry. Such a terrible time in our history when so much suffering was caused to so many. Thank God for people such as this who risked there own lives to save others.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    Certain people (you know who you are) were suggesting the other day that no one actually reads Thomas Keneally. Well, I notice surprisingly few reviews here, so maybe the accusation has some substance. At any rate, I did read the book, and really liked it. Quite apart from anything else, it's an inspiring true story, which the author tells well. But the thing I've thought about most is what it says about the nature of good and evil. At the beginning of the story, Schindler is by no stretch of the Certain people (you know who you are) were suggesting the other day that no one actually reads Thomas Keneally. Well, I notice surprisingly few reviews here, so maybe the accusation has some substance. At any rate, I did read the book, and really liked it. Quite apart from anything else, it's an inspiring true story, which the author tells well. But the thing I've thought about most is what it says about the nature of good and evil. At the beginning of the story, Schindler is by no stretch of the imagination a good guy. He's an up-and-coming entrepreneur in the Third Reich, with a clutch of complicated business interests and an appetising collection of mistresses. He sees an opportunity. Jews in Poland have been expropriated and deprived of most of their rights. They will work for next to nothing to get enough food to keep from starving. Many of these people are highly skilled. The potential is obvious. He'd better get hold of this one before his rivals do! So he sets up a factory, and starts operating at a staggering profit margin. The fact that he's away from his wife is only good news for his romantic life - icing on the cake. Everything is going wonderfully, when the Nazis start deporting his workforce to the concentration camps. Nazi ideology holds that they're vermin, who are worth no more than the gold fillings, soap and hair that can be extracted from their dead bodies. But Schindler knows this isn't true. Alive, they can carry on making money for him. Dead, they're worthless. Like a good businessman, he starts bending rules to keep them in his factory, and out of the gas chambers. Somehow, by imperceptible degrees, this Nazi shark becomes a saint who ends up saving the lives of over a thousand people, at great risk to his own. Keneally traces what happens in an unsentimental, matter-of-fact way. Each individual step is completely logical: there is no blinding relevation on the road to Damascus. But how can you explain the overall transformation? Was Schindler pushed by Adam Smith's invisible hand? Is it an example of the principle George Orwell enunciates, that freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two is four, and that everything else just follows from that? Or was God, as He so often does, moving in mysterious ways? Perhaps all three explanations are just different ways of saying the same thing. I'm sure I don't know. But if you haven't read the book, and you're interested in these questions, you might want to check it out some time.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    I read this after the wonderful movie came out in 1993.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Maciek

    "The list is an absolute good. The list is life. All around its cramped margins lies the gulf." The story behind the book which brought the story of Oskar Schindler to the world is almost as interesting as the story of Schindler himself. In October 1980, Thomas Keneally - already an established and successful Australian author - found himself looking for a new briefcase at the end of his book tour in southern California, the last stop before returning home to Sydney. Fate led him to a luggage s "The list is an absolute good. The list is life. All around its cramped margins lies the gulf." The story behind the book which brought the story of Oskar Schindler to the world is almost as interesting as the story of Schindler himself. In October 1980, Thomas Keneally - already an established and successful Australian author - found himself looking for a new briefcase at the end of his book tour in southern California, the last stop before returning home to Sydney. Fate led him to a luggage store owned by Leopold Pfefferberg, who recognized Keneally; because Keneally's credit card took 20 minutes to process the payment, he began telling him the story of Oskar Schindler - a German industrialist who has saved him and hundreds of others Polish Jews from certain destruction during World War 2, at an enormous personal cost and with incredible ingenuity. Pfefferberg led Keneally to the back of his store, where he kept many documents he managed to save regarding Schindler and his life during the war - photographs, letters and office documents, including the famed list of workers at a Schindler factory in Brinnlitz, on which he pointed his own name. He would show these documents to anyone who would be interested, hoping to immortalize Schindler and his great deed for future generations; a movie was supposed to be made while he was still alive, but ultimately nothing came of it. Now, six years after Schindler's death, Pfefferberg convinced Keneally to write a book about him. Pfefferberg became Keneally's advisor, constantly offering him his help and traveling with him to Kraków and other places where Schindler lived and worked, and helped him find and interview over 50 people whom Schindler kept sheltered in his factory. Keneally dedicated the finished book, originally titled as "Schindler's Ark" to the memory of Oskar Schindler, and to Pfefferberg - "who by zeal and persistence caused this book to be written." If Keneally's briefcase had not broken, or if he would pick another store to search for a new one, this book would not exist - Oskar Schindler's story would very probably be written down or preserved in some other way, but not with so much success and interest that it has since generated, and would most likely not be adapted into a celebrated and beautiful movie by Steven Spielberg. Keneally took the Capote approach to writing, presenting the story as "faction", or a non-fiction novel; he presented the information he gathered from his copious research in a literary way, and offered a reasonable artistic impression to fill in the blanks that were not preserved, or could not be recalled or witnessed by survivors. The book deliberately takes a literary approach to character development, though at the same time it is very conscious that its subjects are real people, and does its best to stay true to what can be known about them. The "plot" of the novel is often interrupted by insights and facts found by Keneally, to give the situation presented a deeper and fuller meaning and paint a larger picture. Keneallly took pride in his vast research, and was dismayed when the book was awarded the Booker Prize for fiction in 1982: he stressed that the story was not fictional, and that he felt a responsibility to those who cherish the memory of Oskar Schindler to present is as accurately as possible, and that many of those whom he saved have read and corrected his manuscript. Although the book features a diverse cast of supporting characters, it ultimately focuses on two people - Oskar Schindler, the industrialist who would save over a thousand Jews, and Amon Goeth, the camp commandant who delighted in killing them. Goeth is a complex character: he lusts after his Jewish maid but is unable to see her as an actual person, and these conflicted feelings cause him to beat and abuse her without mercy. Although he is conflicted in regards to his feeling for the maid and even deludes himself that they will grow old together, Goeth does not intend her to die naturally - in his selfishness, he wants to be the one to kill her instead of letting her be murdered in an anonymous gas chamber. Oskar Schindler, on the other hand, is a man of much deeper and more interesting psyche. He is not the stereotypical "good German" - He is not only not opposed to the war, but works as an intelligence agent for the German secret service in his home country of Czechoslovakia, submitting the German government with information on railways and troop movements. Schindler hopes to profit on it; he joins the Nazi party because it is good for business, and he expected to conduct a business which would provide for his lavish lifestyle of a playboy and a womanizer. Although married, Oskar notoriously cheated on his wife and kept several mistresses; he schmoozes with the SS officials and has a seemingly endless amounts of expensive gifts to give always available at his disposal, which grant him a privileged position and a reputation of a man to whom it is worth providing a favor and whom it's not worth crossing. Enjoying wealth and privilege since his youth, Oskar expected to only multiply both during the war, always in the company of many beautiful women - by all accounts he should be a good hedonist, and not a good Samaritan. So, how could such a man turn into the savior of over a thousand condemned souls? His complex character does not leave us with an easy answer. Schindler spent many a evening dining and partying with Amon Goth at his villa, and with time it became apparent that he was willing and capable to make a deal with the devil himself in order to save his Jewish workers. However, I think that he could only do that because there was a little of the devil in him - as a serial adulterer, a black marketeer he understood well the situation that he found himself in, and learned how to best get by and make a profit, and it is precisely this what allowed him to move comfortably and freely about the circles of high ranking SS officials, allowing him to bribe them to his own gain. A more pious man would not be able to stand Goeth and his clique, and his entire enterprise of saving Jews would have collapsed before it was even able to begin; only because he was a crook himself was Oskar able to outwit and fool other crooks, and only because he himself was corrupted could he understand how to corrupt and seduce others for his own gain. According to his wife, Emilie, Schindler did not do anything remarkable before or after the war; his post-war life is a sad one, full of failed ideas and desolation. He tried starting again in Argentina, but failed and returned to live in Germany, leaving his wife behind to fend for herself. Although the many grateful Jews whom he saves regularly sent him donations and invited him to Israel to celebrate his birthday there every year, Schindler never established himself as a businessman ever again and usually squandered all of the money they gave him very quickly. He spent the remaining years of his life in a small one room apartment in Frankfurt, where he died alone in 1974. A friend who knew him then described him as a burned-out soul, who exhausted all of his energy on the rescue of Jews, and who did not have the strength to find his feet again. At the same time, at the crucial moment in his life Oskar Schindler rose to the occasion and became a true rescuer of more than a thousand Jews, showing them incredible kindness which was virtually unheard of at the time; he treated and cared for his workers better than he did for his own wife. And their gratitude and appreciation for him was unending: as Itzak Stern, the man who ran Schindler's factory and who typed up the list of his workers, later remarked: "In the Hebrew language there are three terms, three grades: person, man, human being. I believe that there is a fourth one - Schindler." The apocalypse of war was the ultimate test and a moment of truth for many people, and it brought out the truth of Schindler's and Goeth's respective characters: in Amon Goeth it brought out his fundamental monstrosity and innate evilness, in Oskar Schindler it brought out his innate goodness, decency and righteousness. There is no better way of describing the difference between the two men than the Tamudic verse from the Sanhedrin: Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    What a monumental piece of writing this turned out to be the research alone would have been prodigious. It does my head in just thinking of the time and money Thomas Keneally must have spent in gathering all the information needed to put this worthy story on paper. What a horrendous experience the Holocaust must have been, not only for the Jews who’s tenuous hold on life hung by a thread most days of the week and they had to injure this situation for years, but for people Like Oscar Schindler tha What a monumental piece of writing this turned out to be the research alone would have been prodigious. It does my head in just thinking of the time and money Thomas Keneally must have spent in gathering all the information needed to put this worthy story on paper. What a horrendous experience the Holocaust must have been, not only for the Jews who’s tenuous hold on life hung by a thread most days of the week and they had to injure this situation for years, but for people Like Oscar Schindler that had to witness the horrors on a daily bases. Most right thinking Germans were powerless to help the plight of the Jews but Oscar Schindler was not one of them. Schindler built a factory to make enamel ware, A. to make money for himself and B. to supply the German army with some of the essentials of war. Schindler did in fact make a fortune from the factory but in reality the factory was just a front for, in reality, a safe haven for as many Jews as Schindler could take from under the noses of the SS guards. Whilst Schindler did make a fortune most of that fortune was spent either bribing SS officers or, and providing his workers with the essentials of life. What stands out for me in this telling of the life and times of Oscar Schindler was the symbiotic relationship that existed between Schindler and his Jews, as they were called, Schindler’s Jews. It’s a given that many of Schindler’s Jews owe their survival to the efforts that Schindler made for them but it is also a given that Oscar Schindler could never have achieved what he did without the help and assistance of many of his workers. For all his success as a businessman and entrepreneur during the war he was never successful in any of his endeavours after the war. So it’s safe to say that a lot of his success came from the business acumen of his Jewish workers. This is a truly uplifting story but not an easy one to read. Not easy to be confronted with how quickly a society can be corrupted and go on to commit acts that defy understanding. For all of the horror that was the holocaust we, as a species, have learned very little for here we are 75 years later on and these same like horrors are happening still, even as I write this review on the 16/07/2019. If for no other reason this telling and others like it need to be front and centre to remind us just what we are capable of. Lest we forget. Essential reading 5 stars.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Walker

    This is a wonderful book and a wonderful story, everyone should know what oskar schindler did for Jews in WW2. However, this book was very hard to read, like reading a research paper. Pfefferberg basically begged Keneally for an hour to write a book. because of that the first half of this book was very forced. i felt like he didnt want to write this, that his heart wasnt in this, Toward the middle of the book i flowed a little more but not until the last 8-10 chapters did it start to be easier t This is a wonderful book and a wonderful story, everyone should know what oskar schindler did for Jews in WW2. However, this book was very hard to read, like reading a research paper. Pfefferberg basically begged Keneally for an hour to write a book. because of that the first half of this book was very forced. i felt like he didnt want to write this, that his heart wasnt in this, Toward the middle of the book i flowed a little more but not until the last 8-10 chapters did it start to be easier to read. That is when i really got into this book. I felt too much like a teacher reading a very bland paper with no vivids and a lot of plain facts. All of that aside, this book should be something everyone knows about, there are things i didnt know happened in WW2 in this book and anyone who cares about knowing anything about ww2 should read it. Oskar Schindler is/was a hero. This book is so real and should not be taken as lightly as i took in in the first chapters, because once i finished i realized how much everyone should know about what schindler did. ( i gave it 3 stars for the difficulty in reading it and the research paper like quality of the literature)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Luís C.

    Oskar Schindler is a legend for all men, women and children who have crossed his path in the Krakow ghetto, or later in the labor and extermination camps. "Oskar had taken on the appearance of the god of deliverance, a double sided god according to Greek mythology, a god crippled vices, resourceful, subtly powerful, and can save lives in such a way as effective free . "

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chrissie

    Steven Spielberg’s movie of this book is so well known, I scarcely need to introduce the book or its central protagonist, the Sudeten German Oskar Schindler (1908 – 1974). That he saved the lives of 1,200 holocaust victims is today common knowledge. That he was a womanizer, a bon viveur and a wheeler and dealer is well known too. He is “the flawed hero”. He was a Catholic who saved the lives of Jews during the Second World War. “He who saves a single life, saves the whole world.” The book draws O Steven Spielberg’s movie of this book is so well known, I scarcely need to introduce the book or its central protagonist, the Sudeten German Oskar Schindler (1908 – 1974). That he saved the lives of 1,200 holocaust victims is today common knowledge. That he was a womanizer, a bon viveur and a wheeler and dealer is well known too. He is “the flawed hero”. He was a Catholic who saved the lives of Jews during the Second World War. “He who saves a single life, saves the whole world.” The book draws Oskar as he really was, flaws and all. The author himself classifies this as a book of historical fiction, but never does it deviate from fact. What the author adds is dialogue. The book is based on numerous eyewitness accounts of which Poldek Pfefferberg is one. It was he that urged Keneally to write the book. In a book of historical fiction, I am looking for two things—absolutely no distortion of known facts and I want to get inside the heads of characters. I want the book to reveal how people / characters feel and think. It is through an attachment to individuals that I come to empathize and care. While the book succeeds extremely well with the former, it only partially succeeds with the latter. Reading about the holocaust is always gripping, but I should have felt more attachment to the separate individuals. I never came to feel emotionally attached to any of them. Why? What is the cause? I see two reasons. The author’s prose all too often left me hanging in mid-air. I kept asking myself what was actually meant! Much is implied rather than stated clearly or outright. Innuendos are numerous. Often I was left wondering what was really intended. Statements are made that can be interpreted in different ways. Although Americans, Brits and Australians all speak English we express ourselves differently. We use different idioms. “The only way (out) is on your shield!” “You can alienate as much pine board as that?” “In the butt end of 1941…” Sometimes, but not always, I could guess at what was meant, but the author’s choice of words felt strange. When listening to an audiobook the more you comprehend quickly, the more time you have to ponder important issues. The audiobook narration also gave me trouble. Humphrey Bower narrates. He is Australian, just as the author is. I want to hear every word distinctly when I listen to a book. His Australian accent made this difficult. Not just once in a while, but often. He reads names extremely quickly. I could not even guess at how one might spell them. There are many Polish names; they went by in a total blur. With repetition one begins to recognize who is who, but by that time you have already missed a lot! I do not recommend the audiobook. On the other hand, I know that many enjoy Bower’s numerous narrations. I may be an exception. I want to learn all the nitty-gritty facts and this requires hearing every word and name said. I have given the narration performance a rating of two stars. If one disregards the names of places and people, the reading is for the most part intelligible. I like most the section describing events after Hitler had fallen. Russians were approaching from the east. Now it was Schindler who was in great danger. The table had turned. The audiobook includes both an epilog and an afterword. The epilog concerns what happens to Schindler, his wife, mistress and long-time secretary after the war, as well as many of those he saved and those he sought to overcome. The afterword focuses upon the significance of Schindler’s actions—the importance and value of his actions, their moral implications and what his behavior can teach people of today. These two sections made me want to give the book five stars. I so totally agree with what is said. They are clearly expressed and moved me deeply. Yet I cannot rate a book by its epilog and afterword!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    Schindler's Ark is hands-down one of the most inspirational stories I've ever read. The author does a remarkable job at capturing such a powerful time in history, and at capturing Schindler as well. As the book points out, Schindler wasn't perfect, he had his flaws, but the atrocities of war opened his eyes and he did something so brave that most people would never be able to imagine. Despite being a member of the Nazi Party, he used this position as a guise to secretly save the lives of over a Schindler's Ark is hands-down one of the most inspirational stories I've ever read. The author does a remarkable job at capturing such a powerful time in history, and at capturing Schindler as well. As the book points out, Schindler wasn't perfect, he had his flaws, but the atrocities of war opened his eyes and he did something so brave that most people would never be able to imagine. Despite being a member of the Nazi Party, he used this position as a guise to secretly save the lives of over a thousand Jewish prisoners during the Holocaust from certain death.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Terrington

    ""The critique of culture is confronted with the last stage in the dialectic of culture and barbarism: to write a poem after Auschwitz is barbaric, and that corrodes also the knowledge which expresses why it has become impossible to write poetry today. Theodore W. Adorno Encapsulated in quotes such as the above is the pure devastating influence across history of the Jewish Holocaust during World War 2. As an event of magnitude it becomes hard for one to detach themselves from the large picture of ""The critique of culture is confronted with the last stage in the dialectic of culture and barbarism: to write a poem after Auschwitz is barbaric, and that corrodes also the knowledge which expresses why it has become impossible to write poetry today. Theodore W. Adorno Encapsulated in quotes such as the above is the pure devastating influence across history of the Jewish Holocaust during World War 2. As an event of magnitude it becomes hard for one to detach themselves from the large picture of upwards of 6 million slaughtered Jews and look at the individuals who survived. It is, as such, a failing of many historians, and history as it is taught, that the Jewish Holocaust is utilised as an easily accessible lesson in morality. In other words it becomes easy for one to use the Nazi Germans as the great modern symbol for overwhelming evil and ignore the many other forms 'evil' has taken in Communist Russia or China. Yet, what Thomas Keneally does in his work, with sympathy and with respect, is to chronicle the tale of one individual, lost within the dark seas of The Jewish Holocaust. Rather than observe the overall event and decry it as humanity at its basest he chooses to go beyond the surface and look at the individuals shaped and changed by the circumstances within which they found themselves. In essence this novel is a curious amalgamation of history text and fictional story. Though the underlying elements are factually based, Keneally must adopt some licence in order to tell the story of Oskar Schindler as a narrative without the basis of solid quotes to lean upon. As such, the narrative technique adopted is a form of omnipotent narration whereby Keneally sets out upon a linear progression, routinely leaving this linear chronology to impose his own historical viewpoints or to insert further facts into the narrative. Many will have seen the famed movie by Steven Spielberg which was based upon this novel. Though the movie is a stronger visual and emotional work it lacks some of the finer details of the novel, helping to create another strong novel and movie combination. For instance one watching the movie may not necessarily note that Schindler had three key women who he related to, and that on top of that he was liberal with several other women. One would not be able to understand that there were some individual Jews who despised Schindler for not including them on his list (though he could only save approximately 1200). One would not also be able to note little facts that add a touch of definition to the character of Schindler such as that he hated Amon Goethe while appearing friendly towards him and that he never suffered hangovers from intoxication. A further mention on the characters within this novel is fascinating as what Keneally deals with is fact rather than fiction, though it may be fact tempered with fiction. Yet one can still observe that Schindler was no typical hero. He was a man who drunk heavily (and did not suffer ill effects), a man who loved women and as such had a wife, girlfriend and mistress. In other words Oskar Schindler was a rogue with a good and honest heart, a man who recognised that the Jews were still people regardless of any propaganda the German Nazis spread. Though he may have initially set out to use the Jewish workers as cheap labour, in the end Schindler ended up saving thousands through his factory and it is this that truly matters. Amon Goethe, as the other main character in the novel is revealed as a truly debased individual. He was a man who clearly lacked his full sanity, a man who expected respect from his peers and equals and who believed that all who served him and worked with him were friends and allies. He was, like Schindler, a heavy drinker and Keneally suggests that he was also a womaniser, yet, where Schindler was a saviour of Jews, Goethe was a destroyer. There are many accounts within this text of Goethe routinely lining up Jewish workers and individuals and shooting them for sport or simply because he disliked the manner of their appearance. In many ways Keneally through his representations lines up Schindler and Goethe as counterparts, two sides of the one coin. One man a saviour and one man a villainous murderer. In many ways history is full of such counterparts and it is fascinating to reflect upon this idea. This is a novel to be read now and well into the future. It is a novel to remind us as readers that even in the blackest pits of history there is always some form of hope, that there is always some individual who recognises what is true and honourable. It is a novel of history and a novel of the human condition and as such deserves to be read and recognised by all readers.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Marnie Krüger

    This year I'm doing a Reading Challenge; so I have 26 books with specific subjects that I need to read. Book 5: A non- Fiction book I'm really conflicted about this book. I don't like the Holocaust, I don't like these stories about it and most of all I don't like what was done to those poor people. But still I read these book - why do I do it to myself? This book was really depressing for me, I don't even know what I would have done in a situation like that. The thing is this book was well written, an This year I'm doing a Reading Challenge; so I have 26 books with specific subjects that I need to read. Book 5: A non- Fiction book I'm really conflicted about this book. I don't like the Holocaust, I don't like these stories about it and most of all I don't like what was done to those poor people. But still I read these book - why do I do it to myself? This book was really depressing for me, I don't even know what I would have done in a situation like that. The thing is this book was well written, and I love the perspective form which the story was told. I'm in awe of Oskar Schindler and what he did. So, that's me confused in my own feelings and thoughts.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    This was not a light read. It was, in fact, a very thought provoking book. The author has done very good research and he makes it very clear what is fact and what is supposition. I really like that in a historical work. The first half of the book was harder to read because it involved the slow, steady slide into the evils of the holocaust. It was amazing to watch the Jews being transformed from citizens to substandard citizens and eventually to being seen as less than beasts. It all happened gra This was not a light read. It was, in fact, a very thought provoking book. The author has done very good research and he makes it very clear what is fact and what is supposition. I really like that in a historical work. The first half of the book was harder to read because it involved the slow, steady slide into the evils of the holocaust. It was amazing to watch the Jews being transformed from citizens to substandard citizens and eventually to being seen as less than beasts. It all happened gradually, though, and so the transformation in status was grudgingly accepted (both by Jews and Germans who were upset about what was going on). There were several scenes of violence that were disturbing to read about. That said, the author did a great job of not being overly graphic and detailed, and all of the accounts given were told because they really happened and were testified to by witnesses in his research. So, this wasn't gratuitous, pointless violence. Still, in some ways it was more disturbing because I knew this really happened. It was a good eye opener. The second half of the book was easier to read as the end of the war approached and Schindler became like a madman on a mission to save as many Jews as possible. It was great to read about the ways that the system was outsmarted and Schindler's outrageous and audacious maneuvers to save lives. At first I wasn't sure that I should read this book. Would it be too disturbing? Would it be inappropriate to be peeking in on the very private suffering of the people? In the end I am very glad that I did read it. I feel that I now have a much better understanding of the holocaust. This book made the holocaust personal. It talked about lots of individuals (one town's worth) and their experiences. I also feel that I now have a better understanding of the human capacity both for horrendous evil and for equally astounding good. I think the best part of this book is that during the holocaust it must have seemed like the world had ended, and yet the holocaust itself ended instead, and people were held accountable for the things they did when it felt like no one who cared was watching. Most of all I was truly amazed by the horrendous things people endured, and yet they still kept fighting to live on for another day.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Travis Lambert

    Michelle and I gave up on Schindler’s List half-way through. Yes, I know, we’re philistines. While its historical and ethical value cannot be denied, I would rather read a history book. It’s just not much in the way of an actual narrative. There is very little personality in the characters and way too many disconnected characters and events. It reads more like a series of anecdotes about different people in the same location, and, worst of all, every page is a bewildering avalanche of names whic Michelle and I gave up on Schindler’s List half-way through. Yes, I know, we’re philistines. While its historical and ethical value cannot be denied, I would rather read a history book. It’s just not much in the way of an actual narrative. There is very little personality in the characters and way too many disconnected characters and events. It reads more like a series of anecdotes about different people in the same location, and, worst of all, every page is a bewildering avalanche of names which is so perplexing that it is nearly impossible to tell the characters apart, and to tell the important characters apart from the unimportant. In fact, if it weren’t for the disconnected narrative episodes which provide the matter for these avalanches, I would say that the book reads like a veritable List of names. I think the problem is that Thomas Keneally couldn’t decide if he wanted to write a novel or a history book, and so what we have is the worst kind of historical fiction. I fully sympathize with the fact that Keneally wanted to be true to the real history and people on which his book is based, but if that conviction was so constricting that it was impossible to make a coherent and viable narrative, he shouldn’t have attempted the form of a novel. I realize that others may have more patience for this, but Michelle and I want to read a story when we read a story. We’re going to put the Steven Spielberg film at the top of our queue as penitence.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    Only 3-stars for this respected 'novel' which won the Booker? I'm so tempted to mark it up because the story deserves to be read by everyone, and the massive amount of research that clearly went into it is tremendous... but as a book? I have to say that I struggled. Firstly, this isn't, of course, fiction - the story of how Keneally learned about Schindler through a chance meeting with Poldek Pfefferberg has been told in Searching for Schindler, a memoir which is brilliant on Poldek and the resea Only 3-stars for this respected 'novel' which won the Booker? I'm so tempted to mark it up because the story deserves to be read by everyone, and the massive amount of research that clearly went into it is tremendous... but as a book? I have to say that I struggled. Firstly, this isn't, of course, fiction - the story of how Keneally learned about Schindler through a chance meeting with Poldek Pfefferberg has been told in Searching for Schindler, a memoir which is brilliant on Poldek and the research (while very dull on Keneally's endless domestic life). Keneally, to his credit, spent years travelling around the world to meet with Schindlerjuden, the Jews and their families who survived through Schindler's actions. But perhaps because I read Searching first, Schindler's Ark didn't do quite what I expected. For one thing, Schindler came across as a far more complex and ambivalent character in Searching: he was a member of the Nazi party from quite early on, he was recruited as a Nazi intelligence agent and one of his many girlfriends described him as 'a good Nazi'. In Ark, however, he's shown as being against the Nazis from pretty much the start of the book, determined to undermine their racial policies and save 'his' Jews as far as he can. It's the paradox in Searching that makes him so fascinating, and that seems to be flattened in Ark. Schindler is a courageous, righteous, inspiring man, no doubt, but at no point in Ark could he be described as 'a good Nazi'. I was also surprised to see what a small role Poldek had in Ark and how personality-free he is given that he's such a wonderfully larger-than-life character in Searching. Perhaps Keneally didn't want to prioritise a single survivor in relation to all the others? What does help to organise the 'novel' (or novelised treatment) is the angel/devil symbolism of Schindler versus Amon Goeth, the SS commandant with his unstable, pathological violence. Keneally goes out of his way to tell us more than once that though Schindler might have dinner and drinks with Goeth, he always loathed him. It's a crude stand-off between good and evil. It's not that I'm questioning the testamentary evidence from camp inmates of Goeth's volatile temper and frightening brutality - but how do we know what Schindler (who died before Keneally started researching the story) felt? I don't know - the whole good versus evil personified by these two men just felt very schematic to me. There is a massive amount of information contained in this book and it's not always marshalled in the most effective way. Many many names are mentioned, a lot just once. It's important, of course, to document those names, individuals who, in many cases, didn't survive and deserve the memorialisation - but it can make for unwieldy reading. And I think that's ultimately the impression I came away with: unwieldyness. There is a marvellous story here, one which is uplifting and awe-inspiring in its depiction of humanity in the face of systematic genocide. I still think we all need to read this book: I just found it more of a literary struggle than I expected.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jill Hutchinson

    Made into an award winning film, Schindler's List (original title Schindler's Ark) is an intense biographical novel about Oskar Schindler and the Jews that worked for him during WWII. Schindler was an industrialist who was obviously interested in making as much profit as possible from his contracts with the Nazi government. He had the Jews of the Cracow ghetto at his disposal for his labor force and used them in several of his factories. Most manufacturers worked their people to near death and t Made into an award winning film, Schindler's List (original title Schindler's Ark) is an intense biographical novel about Oskar Schindler and the Jews that worked for him during WWII. Schindler was an industrialist who was obviously interested in making as much profit as possible from his contracts with the Nazi government. He had the Jews of the Cracow ghetto at his disposal for his labor force and used them in several of his factories. Most manufacturers worked their people to near death and then had them shipped off to the death camps, But Oskar Schindler was different although the book never really tells us why he took his pro-Jewish attitude. Pro-Jewish may be the wrong term for Schindler's activities on behalf of his workers but he daily faced serious trouble with the authorities for his protection of his employees. He wined and dined, bribed, charmed, and greased the skids of the higher-ups in order to keep his Schindlerjuden (Schindler's Jews) safe, although many of them had no particular skills.. He covered for them and was twice arrested for a very short period of time when his activities were questioned. He had friends in high places and called on them when the Cracow ghetto was being liquidated as the Russian Army was drawing near. He enticed them into allowing him to open another factory, the reason for its existence rather vague, and moving his work force further west and hopefully out of harm's way. And this is where The List came into being.......a list that meant life or certain death for the remaining residents of the ghetto.......a list of people who would accompany Schindler to his new factory. He and his Jewish accountant connived to add names of people who did not currently work for him to the list which far exceeded the number approved by the authorities. And he succeeded. It is said that he saved more Jews from the gas chambers than any single individual during WWII. The book is based on testimony from many of the Schindlerjuden and others that worked with Schindler during those last years of the war. He has been enshrined as a Righteous Person in the state of Israel and has a tree planted in his name on the Avenue of the Righteous which leads to the Yad Vashem memorial. And remember, from the film, the little child in the red coat?.......it actually happened as witnessed by one of the Schindlerjuden and is one of the most poignant moments in the book and the film. A highly recommended book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    John

    A great book. Definitely in my top 5 Man Booker winners that I have read so far. Amazingly the book was only written when Keneally went into a store in LA and got talking to Poldek Pfefferberg one of the survivors. He had been trying for years to get a book or movie made. Thanks to his and the authors efforts he succeeded with both. Schindler was no saint but he had what was lacking in a lot of Germans in WW2, a conscience. He enjoyed mistresses, partying and was a wizard on the black market. He A great book. Definitely in my top 5 Man Booker winners that I have read so far. Amazingly the book was only written when Keneally went into a store in LA and got talking to Poldek Pfefferberg one of the survivors. He had been trying for years to get a book or movie made. Thanks to his and the authors efforts he succeeded with both. Schindler was no saint but he had what was lacking in a lot of Germans in WW2, a conscience. He enjoyed mistresses, partying and was a wizard on the black market. He also surrounded himself with intelligent assistants such as Stern. The story is amazing and incredible. Schindler managed to save around 1200 people due to his amazing negotiating and drinking abilities. Moving his factory from Cracow to Brinnlitz in Moravia with his staff and using his own money to facilitate it was amazing. Keneally has woven fiction and non fiction into a moving and inspiration story. He captures well the horror of the camps with summary executions, the madness of Amon and his cruelty. The liquidations in the Cracow ghetto and how fate could be so arbitrary. Before Schindler escaped to the American lines he was presented with a gift from the Schindlerjuden in the form of a gold ring with the inscription of ‘He who saves a single life, saves the world entire.’ This was an apt and poignant memorial.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Courtney H.

    Schindler's Ark is a brilliant book. It really shouldn't count as fiction, I suppose; one of the things that I admired about the book is that Keneally was scrupulous in his research. Even the dialogue, though obviously fiction, are constructed from conversations that actually took place. Keneally does not embellish, he does not fictionalize, he does not fudge details to be cleaner, sadder or happier, more romantic or more grim (which, though good, the movie definitely does). It is what it is -- Schindler's Ark is a brilliant book. It really shouldn't count as fiction, I suppose; one of the things that I admired about the book is that Keneally was scrupulous in his research. Even the dialogue, though obviously fiction, are constructed from conversations that actually took place. Keneally does not embellish, he does not fictionalize, he does not fudge details to be cleaner, sadder or happier, more romantic or more grim (which, though good, the movie definitely does). It is what it is -- the ghettos, the massacres, Oscar Schindler's own life and approach to his Jewish workers. Indeed, what is most intriguing is that Schindler was not, and was not written to be, a man torn, who reached some stunning conclusion that he must become a hero despite the risks. He just did it. He just acted: deftly, with wit and the enormous assets and influence that he wielded. He was interrogated and was released, as he figured he would be. He saved people and got away with it, as he assumed he would. And in saying this, I don't mean to downplay his heroism, and Keneally certainly doesn't downplay his heroism. In some ways, it is even more impressive. He just did what was right to do, using what resources he had, and he didn't question whether he could pull it off. His self-assuredness, even as the potential for catastrophic failure stalked him, was remarkable, and definitely saved his life and the lives of his workers. Keneally does not white-wash anything: not Schindler (brazen, a womanizer, best under pressure), not the violence, not the petty corruption that affected the List itself, not the machinery of war or the people who were within it. I also appreciated that Keneally researched and spent time crafting the other characters in the book, the Jewish workers and those in the ghettos. They lived as people with history and personality and while this seems like a small feat, it is one often overlooked in books that feature the "hero" saving the "victim." You see it too often in fiction about Africa (hello, Constant Gardner!) in which the white man is the hero and African characters are just tools that the author wields, to be saved by, to affect, to be interpreted by, the interloping hero. Keneally set out to write about Schindler and so would have, I think, more leeway had he fallen into this trap. But instead he sometimes moved outside of Schindler, not merely to describe the horrific violence, but to also give life to the people in that violence, the people who Schindler saved, but who also saved themselves -- and then, of course, who saved Schindler (in more ways than one; saving even his memory, in the end). It is hard to put my fingers on what was so spell-binding about this book. Keneally -- clearly a novelist who approaches the book like a novel -- has a matter-of-fact style; because I haven't read his other work (though now want to), it is hard to say if it is because of the subject matter or because that is how he always writes. But this style is what made the book poignant, I think. Keneally sugar-coated nothing, and he did not rely on flowery prose to beat into us the senseless violence, brutalities, and horror in which his characters were immersed. His meticulous research, pushed into novel form without losing its truthfulness, does more to convey Schindler as a man, and does more to preserve his legacy, than something romanticised would have been able to do. And the tenseness of each page, knowing that each person, each moment is balanced precariously on a precipice above the Holocaust itself, is conveyed best through Keneally's writing. I got the sense that Keneally took seriously the legacy with which he was trusted -- the legacy of Schindler, of course, but also of the people on his List and the people who never made it to his list -- and this was translated into the careful, unadorned, uncompromised book that he ultimately wrote. It is certainly one of the hardest Bookers to read, but it also is one of the best.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gumble's Yard

    “To write these things now is to state the commonplaces of history. But to find them out in 1942, to have them break upon you from a June sky, was to suffer a fundamental shock, a derangement of that area of the brain in which stable ideas about humankind and its possibilities are kept” I read this book for the 2019 Mookse Madness Tournament, which also gave me the chance to add another Booker winner to my list. I came to this book new – not having seen the film “Schindler’s List” which made t “To write these things now is to state the commonplaces of history. But to find them out in 1942, to have them break upon you from a June sky, was to suffer a fundamental shock, a derangement of that area of the brain in which stable ideas about humankind and its possibilities are kept” I read this book for the 2019 Mookse Madness Tournament, which also gave me the chance to add another Booker winner to my list. I came to this book new – not having seen the film “Schindler’s List” which made this one of only two books to win the Best Picture Oscar/Booker Prize double. Most people I think would be much more familiar than me with the story told, from the film, but it is summarised here. https://www.enotes.com/topics/schindl... This is a very difficult book to review, clearly a vitally important one and also one that is extremely well reseached, unflinching both in its portrayal of the Holocaust, but also in the actions and characters of those involved, including Schindler himself. It is also tightly written. I struggle however to really see it really is fiction – unlike the author’s “Gossip from the Forest” which although based on true events clearly is fictional. The version I read had an excellent Afterword written by the author 30 years after the book’s initial publication – in which he describes some of his motivations for writing Schindler’s story, the most interesting one being that he “saw that at once, as a business man and Abwehr operative, Schindler had contact with every stage of the process of destruction of Jewish Europeans. That is he saw the confiscation of residential and commercial properties … the ghettoisation of the Jews and was part of their exploitation as cheap labour in factories. He saw the unutterably violent liquidation camps, and was a whistle blower as to the existence of .. destruction camps, where death was delivered by industrial gas on a production line scale” Surely the most important winner of the Booker prize.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nusrat Mahmood

    books which show an act of kindness are my favorites.... and so does Mr. Schindler.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    28/6 - This took me so long to read, not because of its content (on which I am reasonably well read and am no longer shocked by the things that were done) because of how dense it was. It seems to be a peculiar feature of non-fiction books that they often tend to have fewer paragraphs, page breaks, or chapters, leaving the reader to deal with many pages completely filled with text with nothing to break it up. The end result for me was that a book of this length, which would usually take me a week 28/6 - This took me so long to read, not because of its content (on which I am reasonably well read and am no longer shocked by the things that were done) because of how dense it was. It seems to be a peculiar feature of non-fiction books that they often tend to have fewer paragraphs, page breaks, or chapters, leaving the reader to deal with many pages completely filled with text with nothing to break it up. The end result for me was that a book of this length, which would usually take me a week to read ended up taking me 12 weeks. I was warned that the fourth reborrow would be my last because the library was getting worried about the condition of their book considering I'd had it for four months (isn't it amazing how time flies? I would have been ready to argue with them about how long I'd had the book but for the system logging the date I borrowed it on). I found myself feeling a bit indignant on Schindler's behalf when Keneally mentioned that one of the men who had been bumped off Schindler's list blamed him for his experiences through the rest of the war (he ended up being marched to Auschwitz where he spent the final months of the war waiting for a place in the gas chamber, which fortunately didn't happen). How much can one man be expected to do!? Schindler spent most of his wealth paying off guards, commandants, other business owners, whoever he needed to in order to get as many people as he could to safety (inside the walls of his factory). He gave little thought to his own safety (which was in serious danger on a number of occasions) when he was negotiating these transactions, it was all about what kind of deal he could do in order to save just a few more people's lives. What right did this prisoner have to complain when it turned out that Schindler wasn't the only one doing deals, and that the other guy was more interested in the money (translation: wedding rings, family heirlooms, gold teeth) he was getting out of the deals than the lives he was saving or eliminating. Schindler was a hero because of who he was before the war (an aryan aristocrat with an entrée to all the right Nazi party functions, doing deals with the top party members - pretty much a guy you would expect would go along with, if not agree with, the party line regarding the final solution) and how he was able to come to the realisation that what was happening wasn't right and change not only his own mind, but that of others around him. What other single man was able to do so much good? Now that I've read the book I will definitely be on the lookout for the movie. I found the first few chapters of 'getting to know Schindler' to be bit boring, but I imagine that those chapters will be condensed down into a much more manageable (and enjoyable) few minutes of screen time. I'm also looking forward to reading further books by Thomas Keneally, at some point in the future.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    initially: I don't know how or why, but in the last two-three months I have been reading a lot of stuff about the War period of the 20th Century and I seem to have this impossible to fulfill desire to know more and more and so much more about the Nazi regime and Hitler and the Holocaust. I also seem to have a gruesome interest in the dirtiest, bloodiest, cruelest tortures that the Jews or any other ethnic were put through. Maybe I need to see a doctor. Anyhow, this book was another good reference initially: I don't know how or why, but in the last two-three months I have been reading a lot of stuff about the War period of the 20th Century and I seem to have this impossible to fulfill desire to know more and more and so much more about the Nazi regime and Hitler and the Holocaust. I also seem to have a gruesome interest in the dirtiest, bloodiest, cruelest tortures that the Jews or any other ethnic were put through. Maybe I need to see a doctor. Anyhow, this book was another good reference to the Holocaust period and how that affected the lives of many people across the entire Europe. In this particular work, it's all about this guy, Oskar Schindler, a man that risked a great deal of things in order to save what he could of the Jew population of Poland. I'm writing this review after some time went by since I finished the book, and I still find Schindler a very powerful character. I don't know if it's just because the way he was depicted by Keneally, but when I think Oskar Schindler, I see this big, masculine being that likes to drink and have fun and doesn't care about social opinion and still knows all the tricks to getting everybody's affection - and by everybody I mean the right people in the right position in the system. This Oskar realized at one point that he couldn't do much for the whole Jew population that was suffering and that he couldn't save them all. Still, when he saw how many risks he would go through if the wrong man would find out he helps them, he said : "Yeah, no problem. I'll do it." To this day, the people that he saved remember him as a party lover, and also as an angel. Their food ratios were not good, but they were better than what Dachau, Auschwitz, Mauthausen, Treblinka, Sobibor and other camps got. They didn't die - they were frightened, and sure some of them died, but most of them got to keep their breaths. They got to get through the war without being tortured or just simply gassed, and they got to live to tell others about it. Yes, of course, we can all argue - so what? another 6 million Jews died then and compare some thousands to some millions and the proportion isn't enough to help Schindler's cause. Yes, you're right. But in my opinion, it matter that he tried. When one man decided then so save even one Jew, it was brave, courageous and outrageous. Schindler saved more than that and he most of the times placed himself as a target for the system, so they won't see what he was actually doing. Now, seriously, there must be something wrong with me for liking this kind of story. Oh well. Fuck it. update: i just saw the movie today with my History teacher and a couple of students. it's really really good. a beautifully made piece, awesome imagery and resembling the work/world/time, a good eye for detail. movie is 9/10 for me.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Wayne Barrett

    This is one of those cases where I watched the movie before reading the book. And this is also one of those rare cases where the movie was so much better than the book. I think I would have liked the book even less if I had not seen the movie because there were areas in the story that I recognized because of the movie. The movie version gave me an image that was dramatic and memorable whereas the book was impersonal, reading like a reference manual.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    Why do I read Holocaust books? Firstly, because we must never forget. But also because they shed light on, and raise questions about, human nature. And I find that fascinating, compelling, and disturbing. What would I have done if I had been there, at that time, as a Jew, a witness, or a soldier? Would I have been a Schindler...? An excellent book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Not an easy book to review or to categorize. Is it fiction, history, a bit of both. Keneally has clearly taken the historical account and stuck to it fairly closely, but has fictionalised the dialogue. It has also been overshadowed by Spileberg's remarkable film. Schindler did nothing remarkable before or after the war and without his wartime efforts would have been remembered as a womaniser, drinker and bankrupt. However his efforts to save the Jews who worked in his factory and his treatment o Not an easy book to review or to categorize. Is it fiction, history, a bit of both. Keneally has clearly taken the historical account and stuck to it fairly closely, but has fictionalised the dialogue. It has also been overshadowed by Spileberg's remarkable film. Schindler did nothing remarkable before or after the war and without his wartime efforts would have been remembered as a womaniser, drinker and bankrupt. However his efforts to save the Jews who worked in his factory and his treatment of them compared with what was going on around him means he will always be remembered. The story behind the book; the efforts of Poldek Pfefferberg to get the book written and the film made are also remarkable. Keneally went into Pfefferberg's shop to look at briefcases and was persuaded to write the book! The book is at times pedestrian, but there is no getting away from the horrors being described. It is the individual details that stand out; the boy who hid in the latrine, the girl in red, the casual cruelty of Goeth and the descriptions of some of the executions. It didn't have the gut wrenching effect of If This Is a Man / The Trucebut it was powerful enough. Schindler himself comes across as the larger than life character he clearly was and his character flaws even seemed to assist in what he was trying to do. His opposition to Nazism was clear from an early stage and the historical detail relating to his passing information about the camps to Jewish bodies monitoring the treatment of the Jews in germany and Poland, at quite an early stage. The most shocking part of the book for me was the epilogue. This describes Schindler in the 60s and 70s being hissed on the streets of Frankfurt, having stones thrown at him and workmen shouting he ought to have been burnt with the Jews. In typical Schindler fashion he was charged with assualt when he punched a factory worker who called him a Jew-kisser. Those reactions were really very shocking. A remarkable record which should be required reading.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Paula W

    This book made me both disgusted and proud to be part of the human race. It took me months to finish. It wasn’t an easy read for me, for several reasons. I had to put it down for days/weeks at a time. But I am so happy I finished it. Although Schindler initially protected his Jewish factory workers out of concern for profit, he eventually ended up spending his entire fortune to protect them. Like Mrs. Obama said in her recent memoir, it’s hard to hate up close. Regardless of your beliefs or what This book made me both disgusted and proud to be part of the human race. It took me months to finish. It wasn’t an easy read for me, for several reasons. I had to put it down for days/weeks at a time. But I am so happy I finished it. Although Schindler initially protected his Jewish factory workers out of concern for profit, he eventually ended up spending his entire fortune to protect them. Like Mrs. Obama said in her recent memoir, it’s hard to hate up close. Regardless of your beliefs or what you were indoctrinated with, the truth is that it’s hard to hate once you get to know people from other walks of life and realize that our tiny differences aren’t as important as our similarities. All life is precious. And if you know this and have privileges that others don’t have, use that privilege to help others less fortunate. It’s what I try to do, thought I am definitely no Schindler. But “whoever saves one life saves the world entire”.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cphe

    I imagine if you are considering reading this than you're already aware of the story of Oskar Schindler. This is a gut wrenching novel to read in parts, the human suffering and cruelty that occurred was horrendous. At heart a story of good versus evil resilience and survival and at face value a very unlikely "hero." Another from the Boxall 1000 list.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katikka

    I've never seen the movie, so the story was all new for me. I've read several books of the second world war in the past (and seen many documents), so I know the history behind it all quite well. Still, this book went straight into my feelings. I can't imagine the horrors these people went through and SURVIVED. This book is about Oskar Schindler's bravery and witts, how he managed to save over 1100 jewish prisoners during the holocaust. He was no saint in his personal life, and this book stays tru I've never seen the movie, so the story was all new for me. I've read several books of the second world war in the past (and seen many documents), so I know the history behind it all quite well. Still, this book went straight into my feelings. I can't imagine the horrors these people went through and SURVIVED. This book is about Oskar Schindler's bravery and witts, how he managed to save over 1100 jewish prisoners during the holocaust. He was no saint in his personal life, and this book stays true to that. The story is intriguing; how this one german went to extraordinary measures to save as many as he could, when others like him did nothing of sort. What was so different about him? How did he manage to keep his humanity, when his "friends" included men like (the bastard) Amon Goeth? This true story gives me hope. Not all can be corrupted by power, not everyone will turn in to savages, when given the opportunity. This is a tale worth knowing.

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