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5.0 out of 5 stars A Detailed Human Account of a Dark Time in History
I saw the movie ten years ago so I thought I knew what to expect from this novel.
(By the way, this is a _fictionalized_ account of a story that is, for the most part, true, and is well-researched by the author)
This novel is very well written, and full of themes that apply today as much as they did during the holocaust. The thing I like about this story is it...
Published on Sept. 4 2003 by Frederick M. Segrest

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for those who watched the film and want to know more
Okay. I watched the film, and it is clearly superior, for obvious reasons, to the book. Keneally is a good writer- but I was a bit bemused by the back jacket photograph of him wearing a big grin and a cowboy hat, given the nature of the book.
You learn a few things about Oskar Schindler here, which help you appreciate the film.
First, he had been a race car...
Published on Sept. 7 2000 by John McConnell


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5.0 out of 5 stars My Review of Schindfler's List, Jan. 2 2003
By 
Cindi F (madison, wisconsin) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Schindler's List (Paperback)
The book Schindler's List is one of the best Holocaust books I have ever read. It gives you real life accounts of prisoners from multiple concentration camps, from guards, and from others who knew Oskar Schindler about what actually took place during all the terror and evil of the time. In this book you can actually feel the terror and fear mothers had for their children. You can hear the cries of the children as their mothers are pulled away from them by Nazi guards. And you can see the sliver of hope offered by this stranger who is setting up a sub camp and wants you to be a resident of it.
This book is the true story put together by Thomas Keneally based on accounts of the Schindlerjuden, or Schindler's Jews. This man knows the fate of the millions of Jews in Europe. Like other factory owners, Schindler has many Jews who work for him in his factory. After a series of events Oskar Schindler builds his own camp for his workers to stay in. There he provides them with the more food and comfort than any other camp in Europe. He begins to build friendships with his "prisoners", and after the war is looked down upon for his acts of bravery and courage. His homeland becomes his enemy and Israel honors Schindler's actions in many ways.
While this book does get hard to understand at times, it is an excellent book that really blows you away with the actual stories of people who experienced such evil no one should ever have to go through. And through the tough times of Germany shines the hope of one man who was able to save more than 1,000 lives during this reign of terror.
(P.S. Scott says "Squids are our friends! And turtles will rule the earth in 100 million years. Please don't hurt Cindi's grade just because I'm insane.")
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2.0 out of 5 stars Schindler's List, Dec 30 2002
By 
Dana C. (Madison. OH) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Schindler's List (Paperback)
Schindler's List, by Thomas Keneally, while extraordinarily accurate on the events of World War 2, was not a very captivating story. It's about a man, Oskar Schindler, who starts off as a first class industrialist who recruits Jewish workers to work in his labor camp. Oskar, who had many important contacts in the military and government, was able to supply his Jewish workers with more food, clothing, and better living conditions that any of the camps that had been established for the Jews in World War 2. In other words, if you worked for Schindler, you were in paradise. As the mass murders of the Jews in the concentration camps began, and Schindler's labor camp was moved from Moravia to Brinnlitz, Schindler became obsessed with the welfare of the Jews. He concocted a list of 1000+ Jewish prisoners from concentration camps to go and "work" in his labor camp in Brinnlitz, though they didn't do much working. Finally, after a long, hard battle, the Schindler and imprisoned Jews were liberated.
The plot of the story was itself amazing, but the way it was written wasn't as extraordinary. Thomas Keneally used many German words in his writing that made it hard to understand what he was talking about. Also, at some points of the story, he would be telling them very well but then would stray from the subject. It is very easy to get confused while reading this book. He would sometimes go into far too much detail, making the story too much for what it should have been. The structuring of the sentences was also quite extravagant, sometimes too extravagant to understand. So in conclusion, the book Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally was a very good story, but simply not very well written.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Schindler's List, Dec 30 2002
By 
Dana C. (Madison. OH) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Schindler's List (Paperback)
Schindler's List, by Thomas Keneally, while extraordinarily accurate on the events of World War 2, was not a very captivating story. It's about a man, Oskar Schindler, who starts off as a first class industrialist who recruits Jewish workers to work in his labor camp. Oskar, who had many important contacts in the military and government, was able to supply his Jewish workers with more food, clothing, and better living conditions that any of the camps that had been established for the Jews in World War 2. In other words, if you worked for Schindler, you were in paradise. As the mass murders of the Jews in the concentration camps began, and Schindler's labor camp was moved from Moravia to Brinnlitz, Schindler became obsessed with the welfare of the Jews. He concocted a list of 1000+ Jewish prisoners from concentration camps to go and "work" in his labor camp in Brinnlitz, though they didn't do much working. Finally, after a long, hard battle, the Schindler and imprisoned Jews were liberated.
The plot of the story was itself amazing, but the way it was written wasn't as extraordinary. Thomas Keneally used many German words in his writing that made it hard to understand what he was talking about. Also, at some points of the story, he would be telling them very well but then would stray from the subject. It is very easy to get confused while reading this book. He would sometimes go into far too much detail, making the story too much for what it should have been. The structuring of the sentences was also quite extravagant, sometimes too extravagant to understand. So in conclusion, the book Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally was a very good story, but simply not very well written.
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5.0 out of 5 stars History Becomes Mythology, Oct. 5 2002
By 
Tony C "Tony C" (Los Angeles, CA, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Schindler's List (Hardcover)
Given the awards lauded upon this biographical novel, the acclaimed film it inspired and the subject matter of the story itself, I had expected SCHINDLER'S LIST to be a compelling portrait of an extraordinary man and the extraordinary times in which he lived. After the first couple chapters, however, it is also a gripping page-turner, and an involving read.
Thomas Keneally's intelligent account of the industrialist Oskar Schindler and the 1300 Jews who survived with his help is more than a morality play about one good man surrounded by incomprehensible evil. Despite Keneally's matter-of-fact journalistic style, Oskar Schindler is mythologized in the novel, as he was mythologized by the "Schindlerjuden" themselves. He is compared to King Arthur, Robin Hood, Zeus. His moral complexities and ambiguities are left intact. He is charismatic yet flawed, larger than life yet tragically human.
Perhaps it is inevitable that Oskar Schindler would take on such an aura. The Holocaust is a mythical era. The human mind cannot wrap itself around an evil so all-consuming and horrors so staggering, so they are simplified. Hitler and the Nazis become a shorthand for evil men; the Holocaust becomes a shorthand for death -- thrown around as weightily yet lightly as Satan, monsters, and Hell. For one to accomplish what Schindler did would require an equally supernatural force.
Even when he is not directly involved, miracles happen: A man with whom he is associated is saved from an execution when not one, but two guns jam. Two women separated from the others on his list and exiled to a camp of certain death somehow find their way back into the group to survive the war. After the German surrender, two German shells hit his factory but cause only one woman superficial wounds.
A similar mythologizing happens to Amon Goeth, the dreaded Kommandant of the camp at Cracow and (in Keneally's words) Schindler's "dark brother" -- both physically similar and prone to Schindler's excesses. In the minds of the Schindlerjuden and hence Keneally's account drawn from their testimony, Goeth becomes a god of death, oozing evil and brutality, presiding over their nightmares to this day.
To what extent the events in the novel are objective fact and to what extent they are subjective myth is therefore unclear but immaterial. In preserving the life of Oskar Schindler, Keneally has taken to heart the line from the film "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance": "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great book, bound to the movie, Sept. 13 2002
By 
Massimiliano Celaschi (Graffignano, Viterbo Italy) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Schindler's List (Paperback)
A book should be reviewed by itself, but considering the wide resonance the Spielberg's movie has had since its delivery, and that I happened to read the book some years later, it is hard to me to keep it apart, so I am not even trying to. The book is well written, and Keneally turns out a very skilled writer, but the main interest lays of course in the narrated events, and I am a bit puzzled about classifying the book either as fiction or biographical. The most outstanding feature I met is the different kinds of rhetoric used by the writer and by the director: the former strict, descriptive and inquiring, the latter powerful and simplifying. Keneally takes the core event as an axiom, and do not to prove it, while he examines the complex stream of events that have taken place in such a complex situation. He also admits that some events, such as the rescue of women from Auschwitz, have never found a satisfactory explanation, and that he is not able to detect when Oskar Schindler made up is mind in trying to save the Jews, then he tells what happened. A completely different view is provided by Spielberg. Moving first from a rough approximation of the events reported in the book, he reinvents the story, depicting it as the human development and moral growth of Schindler. For example, all along the book Schindler remains an unfaithful husband, whilst in the movie it seems that at the end, when back to Brunnlitz, he makes some kinds of promises to his wife Emilie, and also the ending script refers of a "failure of the wedlock": in the book, it is explicitly written that Schindler left his Emilie. In the book the different natures of Oskar Schindler are always con contemporarily present. In the movie he seems like St. Paul on the road to Damascus; in the book he "is dallying like Zeus". According to Keneally, many other Germans give help to Jews, but none of them is mentioned in the film. In a nut, I would say that Keneally tried to tell Schindler's story, and Spielberg, however giving a likelihood representation of Holocaust, have wrought out a story of his own.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Undoubtable Genius, Nov. 10 2001
By 
This review is from: Schindler's List (Paperback)
To anyone who has read this book it can come as no shock to learn that Keneally not only picked up the Los Angeles Times Award for Fiction but also the Booker Prize. Keneally confronts the Holocaust head on in cold factual style, with this account of the life of Oskar Schindler and the lives he saved.
The story, based heavily upon fact is so powerful and emotive that legendary Hollywood producer Steven Speilberg set about adapting it for film. This however, far surpases the film in terms of it's effectiveness in outlining the true horrors of the Holocaust. A tale that will disgust you, and a tale which will warm your heart. Two extremes of humanity meet each other - unparalled evil and raw, human compassion. This will always remain as one of the 20th Century's most influential books, it's implicit message will hopefully serve as a stark warning to future generations. The man, Oskar Schindler has been immortalised through this - hopefully he'll serve as inspiration for others in his position.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful narrative of a startling story, Sept. 24 2001
This review is from: Schindler's List (Paperback)
This is one of those books that really came off better in the movie than the actual book it was based on. Nonetheless, Keneally has clearly researched this issue with passion and a desire to tell the real story as a result of his interviews with the people involved. He brings out the agonizing ambiguity of the man, Oscar Schindler, a man who can play his dangerous game of saving "his" Jews from the horrors that hang over their heads.

The book is told by using several vignette's of the legend of Schindler. As a researcher, Keneally is honest in admitting in part where some of the stories may be overblown or even not true, but that they carry with them the essence of this remarkable man, a man who was so devoted to the Schindlerjuden at the expense of his relationship with is wife.

Writing in such a way is interesting in bringing all the disparate parts together. Unfortunately, it also seems disjointed and hard to follow at times. Even so, reading it is not easy. Finding out the truth of the Holocaust is paramount to understanding the evil that men can do, but also the lengths to which some can go to fight that evil.

Read and Enjoy!
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most important novels I have ever read, April 24 2001
This review is from: Schindler's List (Paperback)
Like many, I didn't even know about Oskar Schindler's amazing story until I saw the movie. I am also a voracious reader and when I find a novel of a movie I enjoyed I usually grab it and compare the differences. While Spielberg is to be commended on his incredible talent at filmmaking, there was much of this story that wasn't brought to the screen, and maybe couldn't have been, I'm not sure. This was such a powerful story that it needed to be told. Normally when we think of how truly evil our world has been, we have to travel much farther back than just the 2nd World War, but not in this case.
Oskar Schindler, risking his life and the lives of those he loved, made what he felt was the morally right choice by saving a few Jews while the Nazi's used his business to further the War effort for Germany. Rarely can we find someone who so selflessly risked their life in such a way to save a number of people his own government had marked for extinction. Oskar recognized what the Nazi's refused to acknowledge, that ALL human life is precious, regardless of race or color of skin. How much farther would we all be if everyone held fast to what Oskar risked his life to hold true?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping - excellent compliment to the movie, March 22 2001
This review is from: Schindler's List (Paperback)
This was a gripping book - disturbing, but not as grotesque as some Holocaust histories can be. Keaneally's portraits of Schindler and his adversary are exquisite. It's easy to see how the actors in the movie got their inspiration. If you liked the movie, this is an excellent accompaniment, as it explores the man, his life, and the history around him in much more detail than is possible even in the very long movie. Even though I've read a lot about WWII, the Nazis, and the Holocaust (Hitler's Willing Executioners seems to have been an important influence for the writer), it was hard at first to follow the detail in the book, particularly the German terminology and SS ranks. Ultimately, I didn't worry about that too much, and it didn't affect comprehension. Keneally's main sources are personal interviews with "schindlerjuden" and the testimonies of same given to fact-finding courts in Israel right after the War. This is the only story I know of that explores the fascinating idea of bribing, seducing, and schmoozing with the enemy to save lives.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Why I loved Schindler's List., March 11 2001
By 
Brittany Fako (Madison, OH USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Schindler's List (Paperback)
There are a lot of reasons why I loved Schindler's List. I mainly liked it because it was written so well. It took a few pages before I got into it, but after that it was hard to put down. Some parts were a little bit hard to understand. That was mostly because of all the German words and names. They were easy to skip over and didn't take away from the book at all. Thomas Keneally did an excellent job researching the book. I liked the fact that there was so much detail. It made you feel like you really were there. I also liked that there were so many different characters. Sometimes you would meet a character in one chapter for only a few paragraphs, then you wouldn't find out what happened to them until way later in the book. Even though that made it hard to keep all the characters straight, I still liked it because it keep the book from getting boring. You were always wondering what was going to happen to somebody or if someone would get out of jail or be killed. The reason that this was such a good holocaust book is that it shows the war from so many different views, and how for two opposite people the war could mean two compleatly different things. This is a very good book that has action, mystery ,and drama all in one. I recommend it to anyone.
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