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Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History [Paperback]

Art Spiegelman
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 12 1986 Maus (Book 1)
A story of a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father's story and history itself.

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Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History + Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began
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From Amazon

Some historical events simply beggar any attempt at description--the Holocaust is one of these. Therefore, as it recedes and the people able to bear witness die, it becomes more and more essential that novel, vigorous methods are used to describe the indescribable. Examined in these terms, Art Spiegelman's Maus is a tremendous achievement, from a historical perspective as well as an artistic one.

Spiegelman, a stalwart of the underground comics scene of the 1960s and '70s, interviewed his father, Vladek, a Holocaust survivor living outside New York City, about his experiences. The artist then deftly translated that story into a graphic novel. By portraying a true story of the Holocaust in comic form--the Jews are mice, the Germans cats, the Poles pigs, the French frogs, and the Americans dogs--Spiegelman compels the reader to imagine the action, to fill in the blanks that are so often shied away from. Reading Maus, you are forced to examine the Holocaust anew.

This is neither easy nor pleasant. However, Vladek Spiegelman and his wife Anna are resourceful heroes, and enough acts of kindness and decency appear in the tale to spur the reader onward (we also know that the protagonists survive, else reading would be too painful). This first volume introduces Vladek as a happy young man on the make in pre-war Poland. With outside events growing ever more ominous, we watch his marriage to Anna, his enlistment in the Polish army after the outbreak of hostilities, his and Anna's life in the ghetto, and then their flight into hiding as the Final Solution is put into effect. The ending is stark and terrible, but the worst is yet to come--in the second volume of this Pulitzer Prize-winning set. --Michael Gerber

From School Library Journal

YA Told with chilling realism in an unusual comic-book format, this is more than a tale of surviving the Holocaust. Spiegelman relates the effect of those events on the survivors' later years and upon the lives of the following generation. Each scene opens at the elder Spiegelman's home in Rego Park, N.Y. Art, who was born after the war, is visiting his father, Vladek, to record his experiences in Nazi-occupied Poland. The Nazis, portrayed as cats, gradually introduce increasingly repressive measures, until the Jews, drawn as mice, are systematically hunted and herded toward the Final Solution. Vladek saves himself and his wife by a combination of luck and wits, all the time enduring the torment of hunted outcast. The other theme of this book is Art's troubled adjustment to life as he, too, bears the burden of his parents' experiences. This is a complex book. It relates events which young adults, as the future architects of society, must confront, and their interest is sure to be caught by the skillful graphics and suspenseful unfolding of the story. Rita G. Keeler, St. John's School , Houston
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
I went out to see my Father in Rego Park. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating June 23 2008
Maus I & II represent a fascinating account of the Holocaust from the perspective of one survivor and his son. The idea of using different animals to represent different types of people ends up creating a very human story - even more so when the author doesn't shy away from revealing the moral weaknesses of his own protagonists (including himself).

The two previous reviews criticising the portrayal of Poles as pigs miss the point entirely. In fact, the Poles are not portrayed uniformly. Some good, some bad - but in any case, as they were remembered by the main protagonist, free of any attempts at being "nice" or diplomatic. (After all, a politically correct zealot could also object to the image of Jews as mice.)

Since Maus came out in the early 90's, other artists have created stories using the same idea of animals representing character types - such as Canales' and Guarnidos' "Blacksad" series - with a much greater range of artistic expression and abilities. But Maus remains an original, and as far as an account of one of the most monumental and dark historical events in history, it is entirely unique.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book June 25 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For a recounting of the Holocaust of WWII from a survivors experiences was a phenomenal tale of survival and hope for the future. The triumph of the human spirit under such horrific conditions and suffering was a very poignant part of the story from my point of view and gives a true glimpse into human nature and what humanity is at its truest nature when put in such trying and in essence horrific conditions. You see the best and the worst of all people based on their on quest for survival and potential morality but that is never truly explored in the story.

I do have to admit, and maybe I read too much into this, but their is a racist over tone in the artwork of Spiegelman in the types of animals used to represent the varying races/people in the tale. Jews were mice, Germans and Pollacks as pigs, and the French as frogs. Like I said I may be reading more into it than is really there, nonetheless I say anyone who is a lover of literature or fantastic comics should buy this book.
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The story starts with how the main charecter and his wife met and follows how they survived WWII. The story is told thru a father to his son. The son is the man who wrote the book. This makes it a combination Biography and historical drama. What makes it more powerful is the fact that the story is true.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Less than I expected June 14 2004
By Newbia
I'm Jewish and easily depressed, so I expected to be very moved by this tale. But I wasn't. I was freaked out-Art portrays Jewish life well and I was honestly scared for the characters-but not moved. I did not cry. Then again, I'd probably give it four stars if it weren't for my high expectations. I'm definitely definitely going to buy the next installment though.
I disagree with people who say Polish people are portrayed negatively in this book, aside from the fact that he portrays them as pigs. Most of the Poles in this book were nice-they hide in the house of a Polish lady, there housekeeper is Polish. Of course, at one point you have Polish people being anti-semitic but what do you expect? No Poles actually hurt the Spiegelman's, though they do occaisonally put them in jeopardy by yelling that there is a Jew in the yard. I think the animals are meant to portray stereotypes. Vladek has disdain for the Poles, and Art shows that by making them pigs. That doesn't mean that the Poles are bad, that's just how Vladek is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful comic book! May 25 2004
This book is one that caught me in its clutches instantly! For those who are interested in the Holocaust and are sick of stories of Anne Frank(no offense), this is perfect! Summary: The author of this book, Art Speigelman, goes to visit his father, Vladek, and learn of his story of living in Hitler's Europe. Art also tries to understand his father's changes that have happened due to his experiences. Art's stepmother, Mala, complains that Vladek is too uptight and doesn't care about her. Vladek complains that all Mala cares about is his money. Art's struggles show how even the children of the survivors have to survive. Review: This book took me away. For a story of the Holocaust, this hits a home run. Never before have I read a book like this. A tale like this deserves to be read by everyone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Profound. . .and surprisingly entertaining May 5 2004
MAUS surprised me. Before I read it, I expected I might admire and respect it as an important comic, but I figured the subject matter was altogether too heavy and serious to permit it to be in the least bit enjoyable.
Boy, was I was wrong. MAUS is not only a an amazing use of the comic idiom-an affecting chronicle of what is surely THE most uncomical event in the 20th Century-it is also a gripping and psychologically astute portrait of a family tottering on the sizable wake of that event.
Art Spiegelman has managed to create something equally important and entertaining with MAUS. If you've been scared away by the heaviness of the subject matter, don't let yourself be. It's heavy, for sure, but it's also a great bit of storytelling.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Easy & entertaining March 10 2004
I recently read the book entitled Maus: A survivors tale; 1 My father bleeds history. It was a really good book. I especially liked how it was it was written like a comic book, so it was really easy to read and entertaining at the same time. My favorite part was when Artie's father, Vladek would stand up for himself, I liked it because it gave me a really good feeling inside myself, that sort of inspired me to do something constructive or that would help someone. In conclusion if I were you and had not read this book I would definitely go to my local library or neigh/borhood bookstore and borrow/buy this book because it is totally worth your time and money. So basically I am telling you to make sure you read this book!
Mik Green
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Worst Graphic Novel Ever Made By A Human!!!
Surelly I was offended when I saw nazi germans being represented by cats. Afther much research I didnt found a single cat fighting during World War 2. Read more
Published on Feb. 4 2006 by "dservente"
2.0 out of 5 stars Subject matter overshadows a very mediocre work
If one can truly see past all the cultural signifiers and content obeisance attached to Maus and simply judge the work on craft alone, one will find a fairly pedestrian work, well... Read more
Published on July 17 2004 by Jack Cade
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting way of looking at a much-written about topic
This first book tells us the story of Art's parents, how they met, and how their lives changed as Hitler took over Europe. Read more
Published on Jan. 20 2004 by Victory Silvers
4.0 out of 5 stars surprisingly engaging
Art (Artie) Spiegelman is a cartoonist and the son of holocaust survivors, Vladek and Anna Spiegelman. Read more
Published on Dec 30 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Maus, A Survivor's Tale: "My Father Bleeds History
In the novel Maus, My Father Bleeds History there are three types of people. There are the Jewish (mice), the Polish (pigs), and the Nazis (cats). Read more
Published on Dec 15 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars "Maus" is a Graphic Novel You Cannot Miss
I read both "Maus" books awhile back and thoroughly enjoyed them. They are well-thought out, creative and informative. Read more
Published on Nov. 25 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars An ASTONISHING Tale...
"Maus I" is a powerful and awe-inspiring experience. I have never read anything quite like it, I have to admit. Read more
Published on Oct. 29 2003 by Michael Crane
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