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
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.
Maus I & II represent a fascinating account of the Holocaust from the perspective of one survivor and his son. Read morePublished on June 23 2008 by Daniel Silver
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 morePublished on Feb. 4 2006 by "dservente"
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 morePublished on July 17 2004 by Jack Cade
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... Read morePublished on May 5 2004 by C. Fletcher
I recently read the book entitled Maus: A survivors tale; 1 My father bleeds history. It was a really good book. Read morePublished on March 10 2004 by mik green
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 morePublished on Jan. 20 2004 by Victory Silvers
I read both "Maus" books awhile back and thoroughly enjoyed them. They are well-thought out, creative and informative. Read morePublished on Nov. 25 2003