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The acclaimed bestselling classic of Holocaust literature, winner of the Booker Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Fiction, and the inspiration for the classic film—“a masterful account of the growth of the human soul” (Los Angeles Times Book Review).

A stunning novel based on the true story of how German war profiteer and factory director Oskar Schindler came to save more Jews from the gas chambers than any other single person during World War II. In this milestone of Holocaust literature, Thomas Keneally, author of Daughter of Mars, uses the actual testimony of the Schindlerjuden—Schindler’s Jews—to brilliantly portray the courage and cunning of a good man in the midst of unspeakable evil.

Topics: The Holocaust, World War II, Judaism, Nazis, Concentration Camps, Made into a Movie, Survival, Courage, Refugees, German History, Ethics, Antisemitism, Spirituality , Prison, Hope, In Hiding, Heartbreaking, Germany, Poland, and Based on a True Story

Published: Touchstone on
ISBN: 9781476750484
List price: $12.99
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just wowmore
love this bookmore
love this bookmore
Me encanta este libro hasta vi la pelicula.more
De lo mejor!more
Oskar Schindler was more than a rescuer of Jews; he was a subversive force. He was able to get SS officers to look the other way, able to avoid manufacturing anything of value to the German war effort, able to show other people that there might be a way to at least save some people. It would be hard to overstate what he managed to do. He may have "only" saved a small number of people, but that was more than he could have been reasonably expected to do. He put himself on the line for them in a very real way.At the same time, the book is so insistent on not sanctifying Schindler that it feels like the author tries very hard to point out Schindler's failings. He was a womanizer, he drank too much, he mostly ignored his wife, he lived as big as his station in life would allow. It's great to acknowledge that he wasn't perfect, but his failings were also part of what made his entire enterprise work. Plying people with food and drink, having long conversations with them even when he abhorred them, letting some heinous things continue - all were part of why he was able to do anything at all. If he'd gone around trying to save everyone, or stopping a camp commandant from beating his maid, the illusion that he was on the Germans' side even slightly (and appearing so slightly is all he could manage) would have disappeared, and his chances to do any good along with it.It's an interesting story, and an important one. My rating is lower than the book probably deserves, but I wasn't as affected by the story as I expected to be. I think that having toured Dachau two years ago changed my ability to be moved by words written about the Holocaust. Everything pales in comparison to standing there.Recommended for: anyone and everyoneQuote: "It was fortunate for Abraham that Oskar did not ask himself why it was Bankier's name he called, that he did not pause and consider that Bankier's had only equal value to all the other names loaded aboard the Ostbahn rolling stock. An existentialist might have been defeated by the numbers at Prokocim, stunned by the equal appeal of all names and voices. But Schindler was a philosophic innocent. He knew who he knew. He knew the name of Bankier."more
I consider Spielberg's film based on this novel one of the most moving and powerful films I'd ever seen. Surely, I thought, that film would diminish the impact of the book. It's true that certainly many of the most powerful scenes in that film can be recognized in the book--the little girl in the red coat, the woman engineer shot by Amon Goeth, the rescue of the women from Auschwitz. But there's a lot more to the book than those scenes, a lot that never made it into the film. Keneally's book is in that uneasy territory between fiction and non-fiction called "creative non-fiction." As he writes in his Author's Note:To use the texture and devices of a novel to tell a true story is a course that has frequently been followed in modern writing. It is the one I chose to follow here - both because the novelist's craft is the only one I can lay claim to, and because the novel's techniques seem suited for a character of such ambiguity and magnitude as Oskar. I have attempted, however, to avoid all fiction, since fiction would debase the record, and to distinguish between reality and the myths which are likely to attach themselves to a man of Oskar's stature. It has sometimes been necessary to make reasonable constructs of conversations of which Oskar and others have left only the briefest record. But most exchanges and conversations, and all events, are based on the detailed recollections of the Schindlerjuden (Schindler Jews), of Schindler himself, and of other witnesses to Oskar's acts of outrageous rescue.So yes, the book reads like a novel, and many of its conversations and thoughts are invented--but it is more closely based on fact than the film. Ultimately the Schindler that emerges is even braver and more audacious than Spielberg depicted... but it's a much more complicated tale. And there are other "Schindlers." In the film Schindler in vain tries to convince a fellow industrialist to go in with his scheme to transport his Jewish workers to Moravia. The film implied the man acted--or didn't act--out of cowardice or indifference or even greed. Keneally thought it was probably because the man involved--Julius Madritson--probably thought Schindler unreliable and the scheme unworkable. (Madritson saved many Jews himself and was honored as “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem, Israel's official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.) An even more poignant figure in the book that never made it into the film was a SS Sergeant, Oswald Bosko, who together with Madritson saved hundreds of Jewish children from the Kraków ghetto, only to be executed by the Gestapo. There are a lot of differences like that between the book and the film. Spielberg's film is perhaps the more emotionally moving experience, although some of the book's impact on me might have been blunted by my watching the film first (and several times at that.) But this more complex, well-written, fast-reading novelized history is, I think, even richer in its panoply of people from the darkest demon black to well, never angelic white.... Oskar was hard-drinking, reckless with money, a womanizer--but absolutely admirable and inspiring nevertheless--a true-to-life Scarlet Pimpernel who saved over a thousand lives.more
A beautiful book. I prefer the movie, but the inside stuff that got left on the cutting room floor was rather fascinating. I think they could have tacked on another three hours to the movie and it still would have been fascinating, there was so many interesting anecdotes.more
Who hasn't seen the movie Schindler's List? Seriously, I think most people know the story of the beneficient nazi who saved at least 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust. Anyways, Schindler's List written by Thomas Keneally is a fictional book, it is not a biography or a history book. I am absolutely not a Holocaust-denier, I'm just repeating what the copy-right page says. However, there are non-fiction books out there about Schindler. This book reads like non-iction trying to be fiction, as in it's dry and academic at times, but there is the pretense of story. I feel like since this book is intended to be a novel, perhaps Keneally should have written it so it was more readable. Don't get me wrong, parts of this book broke my heart, such as the detailing of the ghetto liquidation. It's touching that one man can be so humane in the face of evil, but let's not ignore facts. Schindler was an oppourtunist, a womanizer, and an excessive drinker. Yes, he had vices, but still he did save a ton of people which makes him Righteous Among Nations. Anyways, if you have a passing interest in this dark era of history, this book is definately worth a read, however, keep in mind it is a work of fiction sort of like a movie prefaced with the "based on a true story" bit .more
Powerful and moving, Schindler’s Ark* details Oskar Schindler’s almost mythic rescue of over a thousand Polish Jews during the holocaust. An entrepreneur and war-profiteer, Schindler’s ‘befriending’ of Plaszów's commandant Amon Goeth allowed him to first build his business, and then manoeuvre it into a haven for Jews against the Nazi death machine. Schindler maintained a business-crippling system of bribes, wining and dining Goeth and his ilk, with the help of only a few sympathetic supporters, took in Jews both skilled and unskilled, feeding them through the black market and promising to see them through the war and ‘five minutes after’… and accomplished this literally death-defying coup under the nose of the SS, despite a number of arrests.Keneally’s biography is of Schindler and Goeth, and the people whose stories most closely intersected with theirs. He lends it no melodrama or sentimentality, letting the story, the humanity, and the background information of German military history build for the reader a sense of astonishment, horror, gratitude and triumph.*Filmed and published outside the UK as Schindler’s Listmore
Oskar Schindler was a German industrialist who saved thousands of Jewish people from death in World War II Poland. His story is well known, thanks to the film adaptation of this book. The book is a realistic, factual, stark portrayal of real human drama. Keneally portrays Oskar as a compassionate savior, but not a saint. He was a womanizer and a heavy drinker. After witnessing violence in a Polish ghetto, he was moved to establish a camp on the premises of his factory, with better conditions for his workers. Still, his workers were not immune to the random acts of violence and murder. During the last year or so of the war, through deft negotiation and subterfuge, he managed to transport thousands of Jews to safety, ensuring their liberation when the war came to an end. Even though I've read several books about the holocaust, I've been able to distance myself from the reality -- not denying these events occurred, but not facing the brutality, either. This book was different. I'm sure my mind was not as graphic as the film, and I unconsciously protected myself from the worst of it, but I still had to take frequent breaks. There were so many individual, heartbreaking stories; I found myself wondering how it could be classified as fiction. The author's note reads, "To use the texture and devices of a novel to tell a true story is a course which has frequently been followed in modern writing. It is the one I have chosen to follow here; both because the craft of the novelist is the only craft to which I can lay claim, and because the novel's techniques seem suited for a character of such ambiguity and magnitude as Oskar. I have attempted to avoid all fiction, though, since fiction would debase the record, and to distinguish between the reality and myths which are likely to attach themselves to a man of Oskar's stature. Sometimes it has been necessary to attempt to reconstruct conversations of which Oskar and others have left only the briefest record. But most exchanges and conversations, and all events, are based on the detailed recollections of the Schindlerjuden (Schindler Jews), of Schindler himself, and of other witnesses to Oskar's acts of outrageous rescue. " Seems like nonfiction to me ...I suspect this book won the Booker Prize more on the basis of Schindler's story; the writing itself was not as fine as I'd hoped. And Keneally was rather repetitive regarding Schindler's appetite for women and alcohol. Was he portraying him as "merely human," or admiring him? I found it tiresome, so a book I would normally have rated 4 stars ended up with only 3.more
I read this simply because I’d seen the movie and was impressed by the story and wanted to find out more. The book while written as a novel, was constructed from recollections and records of real events…only private conversations were reconstructed by the author. In saying this though, it was presented in a factual and largely chronological way, and not really dramatised. The story was dramatic in itself, but there wasn’t anything to make you sympathise particularly with Oskar Schindler, the hero of this tale. So I found it a little more challenging to read than I’d expected. Also there were a lot of German military and SS rank names written in German throughout the book which were a virtual mouthful, and along with Polish place names and so on, it took a bit of concentration.The story itself though….amazing. I don’t think I will ever understand how these events really happened, and how such beliefs (towards the Jews) were ever able to take hold, and at a time not so very long ago.Recommended.more
Having seen the movie many times, I couldn't wait to get the book and read it. To my pleasant suprise, the book was phenomenal. While the movie does not hold perfectly true to the book (what do you want, it is a "based on the book" movie), the book explains deeper things that were eluded to in the movie. For example, Circumstance A occurs in the movie. As a movie watcher, you just take Circumstance A at face value as simply being part of the story. Well, the book expains completely what Circumstance A actually is. This made reading the book that much more pleasurable as it served as more of a companion to the movie than a carbon copy of the movie. The book also explains Schindler's emotional feelings better than what is portrayed in the movie. Recommended reading for anyone who has seen this movie and appreciated it.more
A remarkable tale of how one man, who was by no means leading a virtuous lifestyle, became a hero to the thousand he saved from death. The story is indeed wonderful, all the more so because it's true, but at times I found it a little dry to read. Harsh, I know.more
Another memorable addition to the WWII Holocaust literature. Books have been written trying to categorize those who rescued Jews at great risk to their own lives, but this was not an easy task. People from very diverse walks of life and philosophical and religious persuasions participated in acts of courage. Schlindler was as much an enigma as many of the other rescuers. A wealthy industrialist who employed Jews in his factory, Schlindler fought to the end to save them from the Nazi death camps. And yet his own life betrayed no moral standard or compelling faith that would give a clue as to the reasons for his actions. Did it begin as a dangerous, thrilling game he played and then turn into something finer as he connected with his Jews? We may never know, but are grateful to him and the many others who gave light during that very dark time.more
A haunting account of the true story of the Jews rescued by Oskar Schindler during the Second World War. Moments of extreme heroism and courage, coupled with demonstrations of the depths of cruelty to which humans can stoop, show the range of human experience and emotion.I would suggest this is one of those books everyone should read, not only for its craftsmanship, but also for the events it witnesses.more
I found this book really hard to get into at first but once the story got going, it was a little easier. There were some really interesting pieces of information about Oskar and I learned a few things about the war that I hadn't known before. Still, I think this is one of the few cases where I believe the movie is just as rewarding as the book.more
'He who saves a single life saves the world entire.'Schindler's List is the story of Oskar Schindler who saved more Jews during the Holocaust than any other one person. Winner of the Booker Prize in 1982, it is the only lightly fictionalized account of Oskar and the many Jews he saved. While billed as fiction, Schindler's List draws heavily from the remembrances of the people who were saved by or knew Schindler as well as from Schindler's own accounts of the period. As result, it reads more like history and its style is sometimes reminiscent of a television documentary in the way the various stories told by different survivors are assembled together. Keneally charts Schindler's life from his youth until the beginning of World War II and speculates about what in Schindler's life could have predisposed him to be a person who would risk everything to save as many as he could from the Holocaust. Schindler was a man of loose morals, notorious for taking lovers and cheating on his wife and later even cheating on his lover with yet another mistress, all with little regard to hiding his unfaithfulness. Schindler moved to Cracow in Poland to make his fortune at the start of World War II, soon acquired an Enamelware factory and landed contracts to produce mess kits for the war effort. In short, at the beginning of the war Schindler was a hard-drinking unethical sort with an eye for profit and an uncanny means of knowing the right people and the right way to wheel and deal to achieve monetary gain. At the end of war, he was still the same Schindler but had used his talents and connections to save the lives of over a thousand Jews. "You'll be safe working here. If you work here, then you'll live through the war."The new women of DEF took their job instruction in a pleasant daze. It was as if some mad old Gypsy with nothing to gain had told them they would marry a count. The promise had forever altered Edith Liebgold's expectation of life. If ever they did shoot her, she would probably stand there protesting, "But the Herr Direktor said this couldn't happen."Keneally has done a fantastic job of uniting the many personal accounts and Oskar's records into a coherent and stunning narrative of Schindler's unlikely heroics. He covers the beginning stages of Schindler's friendships with Jews in Cracow, the moment in which it seems he was galvanized to act when during an Aktion in the ghetto he witnesses brutal killings taking place in front of a young girl in a bright red coat, and his eventual use of his connections and "friendships" with various and sundry SS officers to remove Jews from the brutal environment at concentration camp Plaszow for work and protection at his factory. Schindler's larger than life personality, his immense monetary resources, and his way of knowing and appropriately bribing just the right people to ensure the survival of "his" Jews are brought strikingly to life.Schindler, however, is not the sole focus of the book. Keneally contrasts life in Schindler's camp with the many heart-wrenching stories of Jewish survivors who witnessed the horrors of the Holocaust. These stories accentuated with Keneally's gripping prose, which adds a strangely poetic edge to even the most dire situation, create a fuller picture of the Holocaust in Cracow than one can get from the many Holocaust memoirs written by single survivors. There in the a pile at Wulkan's knees, the mouths of a thousand dead were represented, each one calling for him to join them by standing and flinging his grading stone across the room and declaring the tainted origin of all this precious stuff.While at times physically painful to read, Keneally's narration lays bare the Holocaust for readers and leaves no doubt as to Schindler's heroism despite his moral failings. Schindler's List is a slow and difficult read, with countless heart-breaking stories and more names and titles to keep track of than one can reasonably retain. Nonetheless, it is an incredible work which memorializes the worst of times and the heroism of one man who foresaw what would happen and chose to do something about it.more
Keneally writes in a very dispassionate style about the phenomenon of Schindler's factories yet still manages to convey the brutality and horror of the time through the various short stories he weaves the narrative with. A masterfully written and haunting book.more
Seriously what can I say about this book? IT IS AMAZING. If you haven't read it, have you been under a rock your whole life? The book is heavy but so interesting and the movie is great too. So if you're not much of a reader, watch the movie.more
Like everyone else who read this book I was moved. Keneally's other work is not as strong as SL, so I didn't know what to expect. I found it so powerful that I bought The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich after reading it, though, so it was one of those powerful, life-altering books that meant something more than a thrilling story.more
This book tackles a huge subject and keeps the reader involved thoughout a gripping read that is not spoiled by the fact that the film made of it is the reasson people know of it.more
Read all 33 reviews

Reviews

just wowmore
love this bookmore
love this bookmore
Me encanta este libro hasta vi la pelicula.more
De lo mejor!more
Oskar Schindler was more than a rescuer of Jews; he was a subversive force. He was able to get SS officers to look the other way, able to avoid manufacturing anything of value to the German war effort, able to show other people that there might be a way to at least save some people. It would be hard to overstate what he managed to do. He may have "only" saved a small number of people, but that was more than he could have been reasonably expected to do. He put himself on the line for them in a very real way.At the same time, the book is so insistent on not sanctifying Schindler that it feels like the author tries very hard to point out Schindler's failings. He was a womanizer, he drank too much, he mostly ignored his wife, he lived as big as his station in life would allow. It's great to acknowledge that he wasn't perfect, but his failings were also part of what made his entire enterprise work. Plying people with food and drink, having long conversations with them even when he abhorred them, letting some heinous things continue - all were part of why he was able to do anything at all. If he'd gone around trying to save everyone, or stopping a camp commandant from beating his maid, the illusion that he was on the Germans' side even slightly (and appearing so slightly is all he could manage) would have disappeared, and his chances to do any good along with it.It's an interesting story, and an important one. My rating is lower than the book probably deserves, but I wasn't as affected by the story as I expected to be. I think that having toured Dachau two years ago changed my ability to be moved by words written about the Holocaust. Everything pales in comparison to standing there.Recommended for: anyone and everyoneQuote: "It was fortunate for Abraham that Oskar did not ask himself why it was Bankier's name he called, that he did not pause and consider that Bankier's had only equal value to all the other names loaded aboard the Ostbahn rolling stock. An existentialist might have been defeated by the numbers at Prokocim, stunned by the equal appeal of all names and voices. But Schindler was a philosophic innocent. He knew who he knew. He knew the name of Bankier."more
I consider Spielberg's film based on this novel one of the most moving and powerful films I'd ever seen. Surely, I thought, that film would diminish the impact of the book. It's true that certainly many of the most powerful scenes in that film can be recognized in the book--the little girl in the red coat, the woman engineer shot by Amon Goeth, the rescue of the women from Auschwitz. But there's a lot more to the book than those scenes, a lot that never made it into the film. Keneally's book is in that uneasy territory between fiction and non-fiction called "creative non-fiction." As he writes in his Author's Note:To use the texture and devices of a novel to tell a true story is a course that has frequently been followed in modern writing. It is the one I chose to follow here - both because the novelist's craft is the only one I can lay claim to, and because the novel's techniques seem suited for a character of such ambiguity and magnitude as Oskar. I have attempted, however, to avoid all fiction, since fiction would debase the record, and to distinguish between reality and the myths which are likely to attach themselves to a man of Oskar's stature. It has sometimes been necessary to make reasonable constructs of conversations of which Oskar and others have left only the briefest record. But most exchanges and conversations, and all events, are based on the detailed recollections of the Schindlerjuden (Schindler Jews), of Schindler himself, and of other witnesses to Oskar's acts of outrageous rescue.So yes, the book reads like a novel, and many of its conversations and thoughts are invented--but it is more closely based on fact than the film. Ultimately the Schindler that emerges is even braver and more audacious than Spielberg depicted... but it's a much more complicated tale. And there are other "Schindlers." In the film Schindler in vain tries to convince a fellow industrialist to go in with his scheme to transport his Jewish workers to Moravia. The film implied the man acted--or didn't act--out of cowardice or indifference or even greed. Keneally thought it was probably because the man involved--Julius Madritson--probably thought Schindler unreliable and the scheme unworkable. (Madritson saved many Jews himself and was honored as “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem, Israel's official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.) An even more poignant figure in the book that never made it into the film was a SS Sergeant, Oswald Bosko, who together with Madritson saved hundreds of Jewish children from the Kraków ghetto, only to be executed by the Gestapo. There are a lot of differences like that between the book and the film. Spielberg's film is perhaps the more emotionally moving experience, although some of the book's impact on me might have been blunted by my watching the film first (and several times at that.) But this more complex, well-written, fast-reading novelized history is, I think, even richer in its panoply of people from the darkest demon black to well, never angelic white.... Oskar was hard-drinking, reckless with money, a womanizer--but absolutely admirable and inspiring nevertheless--a true-to-life Scarlet Pimpernel who saved over a thousand lives.more
A beautiful book. I prefer the movie, but the inside stuff that got left on the cutting room floor was rather fascinating. I think they could have tacked on another three hours to the movie and it still would have been fascinating, there was so many interesting anecdotes.more
Who hasn't seen the movie Schindler's List? Seriously, I think most people know the story of the beneficient nazi who saved at least 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust. Anyways, Schindler's List written by Thomas Keneally is a fictional book, it is not a biography or a history book. I am absolutely not a Holocaust-denier, I'm just repeating what the copy-right page says. However, there are non-fiction books out there about Schindler. This book reads like non-iction trying to be fiction, as in it's dry and academic at times, but there is the pretense of story. I feel like since this book is intended to be a novel, perhaps Keneally should have written it so it was more readable. Don't get me wrong, parts of this book broke my heart, such as the detailing of the ghetto liquidation. It's touching that one man can be so humane in the face of evil, but let's not ignore facts. Schindler was an oppourtunist, a womanizer, and an excessive drinker. Yes, he had vices, but still he did save a ton of people which makes him Righteous Among Nations. Anyways, if you have a passing interest in this dark era of history, this book is definately worth a read, however, keep in mind it is a work of fiction sort of like a movie prefaced with the "based on a true story" bit .more
Powerful and moving, Schindler’s Ark* details Oskar Schindler’s almost mythic rescue of over a thousand Polish Jews during the holocaust. An entrepreneur and war-profiteer, Schindler’s ‘befriending’ of Plaszów's commandant Amon Goeth allowed him to first build his business, and then manoeuvre it into a haven for Jews against the Nazi death machine. Schindler maintained a business-crippling system of bribes, wining and dining Goeth and his ilk, with the help of only a few sympathetic supporters, took in Jews both skilled and unskilled, feeding them through the black market and promising to see them through the war and ‘five minutes after’… and accomplished this literally death-defying coup under the nose of the SS, despite a number of arrests.Keneally’s biography is of Schindler and Goeth, and the people whose stories most closely intersected with theirs. He lends it no melodrama or sentimentality, letting the story, the humanity, and the background information of German military history build for the reader a sense of astonishment, horror, gratitude and triumph.*Filmed and published outside the UK as Schindler’s Listmore
Oskar Schindler was a German industrialist who saved thousands of Jewish people from death in World War II Poland. His story is well known, thanks to the film adaptation of this book. The book is a realistic, factual, stark portrayal of real human drama. Keneally portrays Oskar as a compassionate savior, but not a saint. He was a womanizer and a heavy drinker. After witnessing violence in a Polish ghetto, he was moved to establish a camp on the premises of his factory, with better conditions for his workers. Still, his workers were not immune to the random acts of violence and murder. During the last year or so of the war, through deft negotiation and subterfuge, he managed to transport thousands of Jews to safety, ensuring their liberation when the war came to an end. Even though I've read several books about the holocaust, I've been able to distance myself from the reality -- not denying these events occurred, but not facing the brutality, either. This book was different. I'm sure my mind was not as graphic as the film, and I unconsciously protected myself from the worst of it, but I still had to take frequent breaks. There were so many individual, heartbreaking stories; I found myself wondering how it could be classified as fiction. The author's note reads, "To use the texture and devices of a novel to tell a true story is a course which has frequently been followed in modern writing. It is the one I have chosen to follow here; both because the craft of the novelist is the only craft to which I can lay claim, and because the novel's techniques seem suited for a character of such ambiguity and magnitude as Oskar. I have attempted to avoid all fiction, though, since fiction would debase the record, and to distinguish between the reality and myths which are likely to attach themselves to a man of Oskar's stature. Sometimes it has been necessary to attempt to reconstruct conversations of which Oskar and others have left only the briefest record. But most exchanges and conversations, and all events, are based on the detailed recollections of the Schindlerjuden (Schindler Jews), of Schindler himself, and of other witnesses to Oskar's acts of outrageous rescue. " Seems like nonfiction to me ...I suspect this book won the Booker Prize more on the basis of Schindler's story; the writing itself was not as fine as I'd hoped. And Keneally was rather repetitive regarding Schindler's appetite for women and alcohol. Was he portraying him as "merely human," or admiring him? I found it tiresome, so a book I would normally have rated 4 stars ended up with only 3.more
I read this simply because I’d seen the movie and was impressed by the story and wanted to find out more. The book while written as a novel, was constructed from recollections and records of real events…only private conversations were reconstructed by the author. In saying this though, it was presented in a factual and largely chronological way, and not really dramatised. The story was dramatic in itself, but there wasn’t anything to make you sympathise particularly with Oskar Schindler, the hero of this tale. So I found it a little more challenging to read than I’d expected. Also there were a lot of German military and SS rank names written in German throughout the book which were a virtual mouthful, and along with Polish place names and so on, it took a bit of concentration.The story itself though….amazing. I don’t think I will ever understand how these events really happened, and how such beliefs (towards the Jews) were ever able to take hold, and at a time not so very long ago.Recommended.more
Having seen the movie many times, I couldn't wait to get the book and read it. To my pleasant suprise, the book was phenomenal. While the movie does not hold perfectly true to the book (what do you want, it is a "based on the book" movie), the book explains deeper things that were eluded to in the movie. For example, Circumstance A occurs in the movie. As a movie watcher, you just take Circumstance A at face value as simply being part of the story. Well, the book expains completely what Circumstance A actually is. This made reading the book that much more pleasurable as it served as more of a companion to the movie than a carbon copy of the movie. The book also explains Schindler's emotional feelings better than what is portrayed in the movie. Recommended reading for anyone who has seen this movie and appreciated it.more
A remarkable tale of how one man, who was by no means leading a virtuous lifestyle, became a hero to the thousand he saved from death. The story is indeed wonderful, all the more so because it's true, but at times I found it a little dry to read. Harsh, I know.more
Another memorable addition to the WWII Holocaust literature. Books have been written trying to categorize those who rescued Jews at great risk to their own lives, but this was not an easy task. People from very diverse walks of life and philosophical and religious persuasions participated in acts of courage. Schlindler was as much an enigma as many of the other rescuers. A wealthy industrialist who employed Jews in his factory, Schlindler fought to the end to save them from the Nazi death camps. And yet his own life betrayed no moral standard or compelling faith that would give a clue as to the reasons for his actions. Did it begin as a dangerous, thrilling game he played and then turn into something finer as he connected with his Jews? We may never know, but are grateful to him and the many others who gave light during that very dark time.more
A haunting account of the true story of the Jews rescued by Oskar Schindler during the Second World War. Moments of extreme heroism and courage, coupled with demonstrations of the depths of cruelty to which humans can stoop, show the range of human experience and emotion.I would suggest this is one of those books everyone should read, not only for its craftsmanship, but also for the events it witnesses.more
I found this book really hard to get into at first but once the story got going, it was a little easier. There were some really interesting pieces of information about Oskar and I learned a few things about the war that I hadn't known before. Still, I think this is one of the few cases where I believe the movie is just as rewarding as the book.more
'He who saves a single life saves the world entire.'Schindler's List is the story of Oskar Schindler who saved more Jews during the Holocaust than any other one person. Winner of the Booker Prize in 1982, it is the only lightly fictionalized account of Oskar and the many Jews he saved. While billed as fiction, Schindler's List draws heavily from the remembrances of the people who were saved by or knew Schindler as well as from Schindler's own accounts of the period. As result, it reads more like history and its style is sometimes reminiscent of a television documentary in the way the various stories told by different survivors are assembled together. Keneally charts Schindler's life from his youth until the beginning of World War II and speculates about what in Schindler's life could have predisposed him to be a person who would risk everything to save as many as he could from the Holocaust. Schindler was a man of loose morals, notorious for taking lovers and cheating on his wife and later even cheating on his lover with yet another mistress, all with little regard to hiding his unfaithfulness. Schindler moved to Cracow in Poland to make his fortune at the start of World War II, soon acquired an Enamelware factory and landed contracts to produce mess kits for the war effort. In short, at the beginning of the war Schindler was a hard-drinking unethical sort with an eye for profit and an uncanny means of knowing the right people and the right way to wheel and deal to achieve monetary gain. At the end of war, he was still the same Schindler but had used his talents and connections to save the lives of over a thousand Jews. "You'll be safe working here. If you work here, then you'll live through the war."The new women of DEF took their job instruction in a pleasant daze. It was as if some mad old Gypsy with nothing to gain had told them they would marry a count. The promise had forever altered Edith Liebgold's expectation of life. If ever they did shoot her, she would probably stand there protesting, "But the Herr Direktor said this couldn't happen."Keneally has done a fantastic job of uniting the many personal accounts and Oskar's records into a coherent and stunning narrative of Schindler's unlikely heroics. He covers the beginning stages of Schindler's friendships with Jews in Cracow, the moment in which it seems he was galvanized to act when during an Aktion in the ghetto he witnesses brutal killings taking place in front of a young girl in a bright red coat, and his eventual use of his connections and "friendships" with various and sundry SS officers to remove Jews from the brutal environment at concentration camp Plaszow for work and protection at his factory. Schindler's larger than life personality, his immense monetary resources, and his way of knowing and appropriately bribing just the right people to ensure the survival of "his" Jews are brought strikingly to life.Schindler, however, is not the sole focus of the book. Keneally contrasts life in Schindler's camp with the many heart-wrenching stories of Jewish survivors who witnessed the horrors of the Holocaust. These stories accentuated with Keneally's gripping prose, which adds a strangely poetic edge to even the most dire situation, create a fuller picture of the Holocaust in Cracow than one can get from the many Holocaust memoirs written by single survivors. There in the a pile at Wulkan's knees, the mouths of a thousand dead were represented, each one calling for him to join them by standing and flinging his grading stone across the room and declaring the tainted origin of all this precious stuff.While at times physically painful to read, Keneally's narration lays bare the Holocaust for readers and leaves no doubt as to Schindler's heroism despite his moral failings. Schindler's List is a slow and difficult read, with countless heart-breaking stories and more names and titles to keep track of than one can reasonably retain. Nonetheless, it is an incredible work which memorializes the worst of times and the heroism of one man who foresaw what would happen and chose to do something about it.more
Keneally writes in a very dispassionate style about the phenomenon of Schindler's factories yet still manages to convey the brutality and horror of the time through the various short stories he weaves the narrative with. A masterfully written and haunting book.more
Seriously what can I say about this book? IT IS AMAZING. If you haven't read it, have you been under a rock your whole life? The book is heavy but so interesting and the movie is great too. So if you're not much of a reader, watch the movie.more
Like everyone else who read this book I was moved. Keneally's other work is not as strong as SL, so I didn't know what to expect. I found it so powerful that I bought The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich after reading it, though, so it was one of those powerful, life-altering books that meant something more than a thrilling story.more
This book tackles a huge subject and keeps the reader involved thoughout a gripping read that is not spoiled by the fact that the film made of it is the reasson people know of it.more
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