Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History Paperback – Aug 12 1986
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Art (Artie) Spiegelman is a cartoonist and the son of holocaust survivors, Vladek and Anna Spiegelman. Despite a rocky relationship with his parents (resulting in years of therapy), Art eventually makes the decision to tell his parents' story in graphic novel (comic book) form. (I'm including what would generally be considered background information because it is actually included in the novel.)
Art's mother, Anna, committed suicide, and now he has only the recollections of his wealthy but super-frugal father upon which to base the story. Through repeated visits, Art gets his father to recount his World War II experience.
Vladek's begins with his pre-war life, which barely pre-dates his meeting Anna. Once Vladek meets Anna and they marry, Vladek is quickly taken in by Anna's parents who help him set up a factory near where they live (in Poland). But the War is rapidly approaching and Vladek is drafted into the Polish military, which quickly fell. He was then a prisoner of war for a number of months before returning to his family. The family is then torn apart as they move from ghetto to ghetto, doing their best to stay alive, in large part due to Vladek's resourcefulness. Vladek and Anna even send their firstborn son to live with relatives as they think he will be safer. As it turns out, the son dies, but he probably would have with them as well.
Despite doing their best to avoid it, eventually Vladek and Anna end up in Auschwitz, but that is covered in the second book: Maus II.
I wasn't expecting to find this book as engaging as I did, though I'm not sure why. Eventually, I was drawn into the book and was disappointed when it ended just as the Spiegelman's are sent to Auschwitz.Read more ›
There are many things that I enjoyed about this novel. The first thing that I enjoyed was that it was about history, but presented in an interesting way. It wasn't just strait out facts about the holocaust, the author, placed it out in a way that grabs your attention. Another aspect of the comic book that I enjoyed was that each group of people was presented as a different kind of animal; The Jewish (mice), the Polish (pigs), and the Nazis (cats). I thought that this brought a good sense of how different, everyone back then thought of each other. Although I liked many features of Maus, My Father Bleeds History there was one major thing that I disliked about the novel, and this part was the character of Archie's father. I thought that he wasn't ever satisfied, and that the author could have wrote him in differently. Over all there wasn't much that I disliked about the comic book.
I would most definitely recommend this novel to anyone, in the sixth grade or higher. I feel that anyone younger wouldn't be able to grasp the concept as well. I recommend this history packed comic book to anyone who likes to learn about history without the strait out facts, because that is exactly what this book does. I feel that the author did an excellent job, at bring across the major points of the holocaust, and did a wonderful job at grasping the attention of many.
Most recent customer reviews
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
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
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