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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A landmark comics work
"Maus," Art Spiegelman's moving tale of the Holocaust and how it impacts a family a generation later, is hailed as a comics classic for a reason. It is a landmark work that transcends the term "comics."
Through the seemingly absurd decision to use animals in place of people - Jews are mice, for instance, while Nazis are cats - Spiegelman manages to avoid coming...
Published on May 9 2004 by Eric San Juan

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly Constructed
I've been buying these for my High School History/English department for about 5 years. The book is brilliant. The rating is on the quality of the binding. The construction of the book is horrendous. The pages start falling out in chunks after a year or two, and it's an expensive book to have to replace that frequently. No book in the department has even close to the...
Published 5 months ago by Ted Goldring


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5.0 out of 5 stars Maus, March 13 2003
By 
"lkim17" (Cerritos, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale (Hardcover)
Title: Maus
By: Art Spiegelman
Reviewed by: L. Kim
Period: 1
The book Maus is a true story about Jews who survived in the World War II. The author's father Vladek, a Jew, and his family had to suffer a lot. Art actually has an older brother, but he died when he was with his relative. Later when Art's parents were running away to Hungary, the Germans caught them and sent them to Auschwitz, a place with all the gas chambers. Fortunately, they were very lucky and survived from all the torture. Their family members were discriminated for being a Jew and life wasn't so easy for them. When the Americans came to fight the Nazis, all of the prisoners were now saved. They were very happy and Vladek was now able to be back together with his family.
There were many things I liked about the book, nothing was bad. This book thaught me history and it was a comic book. That made it more fun for me to read. Unlike most of the books I've read in the past, it was a true story. I felt really sad while reading this book, also sorry. It was a wonderful book.
My favorite part of this book was when Vladek was going to the market with Art and his girl friend to return an opened box of cereal. It was very funny and it reminded me of how people became so cheap(no offense) after the suffering during the war. Art and his girl friend were both very embarrassed. Vladek still got it returned though. Maus is just great.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, March 11 2003
By 
Stacey M Jones (Conway, Ark.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I guess it is ironic to say that one "loves" this work, though I do. It's upsetting obviously, and I think Spiegelman does something new with this Holocaust memoir, actually a graphic novel, which is that he not only chronicals humanity's inhumanity to humanity, but also the pain of growing up with someone whose personality facilitated his living through the Holocaust but makes it nearly impossible for anyone else to live through living with him. Spiegelman artfully (no pun) illustrates with his narrative the horror of the Holocaust and the painful demanding self-involvement of Vladek Spiegelman, his father.
The book is CLEVER, too. The Jews are mice, the Poles pigs, the Germans cats and the Americans dogs. But in a little narrative digression into the narrator's psychoanalysis in real life, he portrays himself as wearing a mouse mask.
I was reading these two books very quickly for the narrative, but felt I was probably missing a lot in the drawings that support the plot and narrative.
I really liked this work. I strongly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More subtle than can be understood in a single reading, Feb. 26 2003
By A Customer
These books are an easy and fast read, but by no means are they simple. In two slim comic books, Art Spiegelman chronicles his parents' movement from comfortable homes in Poland to the death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau, and from there to a surreally banal afterlife in upstate New York. We watch the destruction of the Holocaust continue in Spiegelman's father's transformation from a bright, good-looking youth to a miserly neurotic, his mother's deterioration from a sensitive, sweet girl into a suicide, and in the author's own unhappy interactions with his parents.
I have read some of the most negative reviews of these books, and I respectfully disagree. Some negative reviews ("Spiegelman is a jerk") castigate Spiegelman for his shamefully self-interested milking of his father's life and the Holocaust. Other negative reviews find fault with the unoriginality of the story, or discover historical inaccuracies, self-contradictions, or simplifications in the tale. Finally, a set of reviews are upset with Spiegelman's coding of people of different nationalities as animals(especially the Poles, who were also victimized by the Nazis but are depicted as pigs in the comics.)
The first criticism is both deserved and unfair. Deserved, because Spiegelman profits by the pain and death of millions, including his own family. Unfair, because Spiegelman himself consciously provides the basis for our criticism that he mocked and neglected his elderly father at the same time that he fed his own success upon his father's tales. The two volumes echo with his regret and unexpiable guilt at his treatment of his parents, and at his own success and survival. To attack Spiegelman for these things is like scolding a man in the midst of his self-immolation.
The second type of criticism finds _Maus_ to be sophomoric, inaccurate, or repetitive of other Holocaust survivor's experiences. The defense here is that Maus is the story of a single family, seen through the eyes of a single man (Vladek Spiegelman), and filtered again through his son. It is almost certain that the elderly Vladek forgot, exaggerated, or hid details, just as it is certain that his son summarized and misunderstood. However, the quasi-fictionalized format of the comic book throws this subjectivity into relief. The destroyed diaries of Spiegelman's mother are a reminder of the millions of life stories left untold, including stories perhaps too horrible and shameful for the survivors to reveal. _Maus_ does not claim to be an objective, authoritative history of the Holocaust, and in fact tries to emphasize its own limitations.
While other works may better convey the Jewish experience in the Holocaust, the innovative format of _Maus_ justifies its existence, as it allows the story to reach a greater audience.
Finally, many have objected to the negative stereotyping of the many peoples appearing in the book, especially the Poles. Spiegelman draws the Jews as innocent mice, but the Germans as bloodthirsty cats, and the Poles as selfish pigs. More amusingly (because they appear infrequently in the story) the French are drawn as frogs, the Swedes as reindeer, and the British as cold fish. The Americans are dogs, mainly friendly bow-wow dogs but also sometimes cold-eyed predators capable of pouncing on a mouse or rat. I believe that the wrongness of stereotypes was a major reason why Spiegelman used them. The Nazis are recorded as having called the Jews "vermin" and the Poles "pigs". Whether they had the qualities of these animals or not, they were treated as such... and such they were forced to become despite themselves. The Jews had to hide, hoard, and deceive; the Poles were compelled to act out of self-interest just to survive.
In other words, I think that Spiegelman's stereotypes were a deliberate choice. The WHOLE POINT of _Maus_ is how the dehumanization of the Holocaust twisted people beyond their capacities... how the camps tried to make people as ugly and despicable as their worst racial stereotypes, by making them all alike in their fear. Sometimes they succeeded.
Neither Poles nor Germans are depicted as only selfish, cowardly, and cruel in _Maus_. In fact, there are many Polish in Spiegelman's books who are shown as fellow-sufferers, or kind despite the risks to their own lives, just as there were Jews who betrayed their own. Look closely at the drawings-- I open Maus II to a random page, and see both pigs and mice in the prison suits, both as capos and victims. Who is the kind priest who renews Vladek's hope on page 28? A Pole! Even the Germans are seen to suffer from the war, caught by powers beyond their control. Meanwhile, Vladek himself is shown to be an inflexible racist (II, p. 98).

I argue, therefore, that the above criticisms of _Maus_ show a hasty reading of the books and poor comprehension of how an artist(even of non-fiction) chooses to convey a theme.
As a non-European, I have no personal investment in Jewish, German, or Polish points of view. However, as a second-generation American and child of war survivors [a civil war, so we are both victims and oppressors], I have a chord that resonates with the story of the Spiegelmans. I just re-read "Maus II" this afternoon and found to my amazement that it was still able to draw tears. In fact, when I first read the Maus books ten years ago I don't recall them affecting me so deeply... but I was younger then and had only an intellectual understanding of many things, such as love, fear, guilt, death, and weakness.
I wholeheartedly recommend these books to those who are willing to read them more than once. If you are not moved by them now, perhaps later you will be. Meanwhile, let's do our best to stop such suffering around the world.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Book Review From Me, Jan. 7 2003
By A Customer
Maus, by Art Spiegelman, is the tragic story about Art's father. He survived hiding, as well as a concentration camp. At the beginning of the book, Vladek Spiegelman(Art's father) is a successful shopkeeper in Czestochowa. He is forced to go to war where he is captured and is sent to a German prisoner of war camp near Nuremberg. He goes into hiding, and in 1944, ends up in Auschwitz. The story isn't missing anything. Its very well written and organized, but the story had a little too much of the author in it. The book contains too many of the interviews Art did with his father. All the interviews slow the story down.
The book is very well organized. It does jump back and forth between the past and the present, but that doesn't make the story confusing, and it still flows together. This book is a haven for badly written sentences, but that just makes this graphic novel more believable. It's easier to read than your average novel, and the pictures provide clues as to what is going on in the story. I give it four stars. I think it deserves four stars because I find true-life novels to be boring, but I couldn't help enjoying this one. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys graphic novels, or anyone interested in survival stories.
This novel, although in comic book form, should still be enjoyable to someone interested in history. I really liked this book, but I wouldn't recommend this to someone who expects comic books to be fantasy and make believe. Art Siegelman took a terrible event in his families history, and was able to turn it into a story that not only kept me reading it, but also got me to enjoy it, and I don't like reading. So if you like reading life stories, and comic books, check it out.
Maus, by Art Spiegelman, is the tragic story about Art's father. He survived hiding, as well as a concentration camp. At the beginning of the book, Vladek Spiegelman(Art's father) is a successful shopkeeper in Czestochowa. He is forced to go to war where he is captured and is sent to a German prisoner of war camp near Nuremberg. He goes into hiding, and in 1944, ends up in Auschwitz. The story isn't missing anything. Its very well written and organized, but the story had a little too much of the author in it. The book contains too many of the interviews Art did with his father. All the interviews slow the story down.
The book is very well organized. It does jump back and forth between the past and the present, but that doesn't make the story confusing, and it still flows together. This book is a haven for badly written sentences, but that just makes this graphic novel more believable. It's easier to read than your average novel, and the pictures provide clues as to what is going on in the story. I give it four stars. I think it deserves four stars because I find true-life novels to be boring, but I couldn't help enjoying this one. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys graphic novels, or anyone interested in survival stories.
This novel, although in comic book form, should still be enjoyable to someone interested in history. I really liked this book, but I wouldn't recommend this to someone who expects comic books to be fantasy and make believe. Art Siegelman took a terrible event in his families history, and was able to turn it into a story that not only kept me reading it, but also got me to enjoy it, and I don't like reading. So if you like reading life stories, and comic books, check it out.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Maus By Art Spiegelman, Dec 16 2002
By A Customer
Corbin L
Mrs. Fulton
Dec. 17, 2002
Maus By Art Spiegelman
When Maus, by Art Spiegelman was first recommended to me as my Holocaust reading assignment, I was skeptical to say the least. I thought, "A comic book about the Holocaust? Am I seeing things?" As I pondered the first few pages of this "quiet triumph" of a book, I soon realized this novel, documentary, and memoir all in one, was an ingenious view on the Holocaust. With its in-depth conversations about the Holocaust, to its bone-chilling recollections of the event itself, Maus is truly one of the great books in its genre.
Maus, the story, which is similar but nonetheless just as exciting as any other survivor's tale, is being told to Art Spiegelman by his father Vladek Spiegelman. As the story thickens, you truly see what hardships families such as the Spiegelman family went through. In this book Art Spiegelman illustrates what many families had to do to keep the Nazis from dismantling as well as separating each other.
Maus was well developed and showed the Holocaust in a light like no other.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It could only have been a comic, Dec 2 2002
By 
The Holocaust is something that needs requires both words and pictures. Either alone cannot do the horror justice, words aren't able to convey the sheer inhumanity of what was done and pictures don't tell the stories behind the faces, of the lives tragically cut short by a crime beyond the comprehension of all except for those who lived through it. Spiegelman, an underground cartoonist who published his and others' works in RAW in the seventies and eighties, combined both words and pictures in telling the story of his father during the Holocaust, of his capture and imprisonment and the things he saw and did there. The initial surface of the comic is deceiving, since you see at first funny animals in the place of people . . . but reading the story behind the cats and mice you start to realize that the drawings might from one man's imagination but the story isn't, these things that Spiegelman deftly draws on the page actually happened. Over the course of the story Spiegelman depicts his sometimes frustrating efforts to get his father to talk about what he experienced, flashing back to WWII Germany/Poland under Nazi occupation and to the present day, where Vladek is a cranky old man who argues with his second wife, is stubbornly set in his ways and drives his son, who he sees infrequently, absolutely nuts. But Spiegelman tells it all like it is and leaves nothing uncovered, his father's admirable quick thinking and amazing luck under pressure sitting comfortable next to the amazingly frustrating old man he grew up to be. In the end it grounds the story, and there's no reason not to believe that this resourceful young man and the old man are one and the same, it's just the years that have changed. Spiegelman deals unflinchingly with his mother's suicide, his own thoughts about becoming a father and eventually his own feelings about his father. The combination of historical thriller, as Vladek does his best to stay alive, and present day examination gives the story a sense of reality and a humanity that wouldn't have been possible outside of comics. The perfect marriage of words and pictures always threatened to be, but all too infequently aspires to, blooms here, as Spiegelman shows that sometimes in the face of tragedy there aren't winners and losers, friends and enemies, or even victims and heroes. In the end, there are only survivors.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Maus (II)- Nearly As Good As the Original, Sept. 25 2002
By 
buddyhead (Taxachusetts) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale (Hardcover)
Although still brilliant, it is only natural that this second installation would lose the flair and novelty of the original Maus. I actually would have preferred that Spiegleman wrote this after his father's death (which is documented only in the book's final page: a tombstone in the last panel), since he was the tale's central character, and since we're so painfully aware throughout of his afflictions. Vladek's health has gotten worse since Maus I, and his physical travails provide an interesting subtext to the story.

That said, the Maus II is still excellent, and is comfortable in that the characters and style by now are familiar (Mala and Speigleman's wife also play more prominently here than in Maus I). Maus II picks up where Maus I left off, and chronicles the depravity of the concentration camps. It is a stark contrast to version one's descent from family contentment and happiness into Hell- here, there is salvation after unspeakable horror, as Vladek is freed, and later reunited with his wife. Sadly, his plight is never too far behind him, as life outside the concentration camp is rife with its own set of problems, and a perfect adjustment to a free life is never truly made. As Maus I was, this story is remarkable in its depiction of the human condition- warts (and evil characters, family squabbling, spousal discord) and all.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly powerful. A book you'll never forget, Sept. 11 2002
This review is from: The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale (Hardcover)
After everything you've ever read or seen about the Holocaust, you still need to read this book. It's an experience unlike any other, because it's the only comic book (as a lifelong fan, I can't call them graphic novels, which I feel is only a term used to generate mainstream acceptance) ever created to specifically focus in on this issue and tell the story of a Holocaust survivor. And being a comic, Maus has advantages over just about every other medium of communication. The text allows Spiegelman to go into greater depth with his subject than film or television could. The pictures, and especially the sequential panel structure, allow Spiegelman to provide quick and dirty narratives at particular junctures, and allow the reader's imagination take care of the rest.
And make no mistake, Spiegelman doesn't shy away from details of suffering in the book. Many such details are conveyed in matter-of-fact form, and somehow, that doesn't diminish their impact or the monstrous conditions the Jews lived in during the Holocaust. I'll never forget the one panel showing Spiegelman's young parents, hiding from the Nazis and starving, chewing on a piece of wood because "it feels like real food." Incredible.
As an added treasure, Spiegelman often appears as a character in his own book and provides commentary on the book creation process and his relationship with his father. Incredibly honest and poignant, Spiegelman has created an unforgettable treasure.
And if you're not going to read it for Vladek Spiegelman's moving story of survival and love for his wife, read it to find out that comics aren't just for kids anymore.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A new perspective, July 17 2002
By 
Reading Maus was a new experience for me. I am not real familiar with graphic novels and wasn't sure how I would like the format. I found it very easy reading and quite informative. I was able to follow the story line with ease and appreciated the use of the animals in telling of the story. It really helped me to focus on the content and message of the text rather than get hung up on the people. I also felt Art Spiegelman offered an outlook theat focused more on the victim and his reaction, reather than just a historical account. I was able to glean new aspects on the events of that itme and empathized with the frustrations and helplessness that would envelope you. I never really understood Art Spiegleman's relationship with his father and wonder if he did actually. I was a bit frustrated by the abrupt ending of the book and would like to get the sequel to read also. I was also confused by his accusation that his father was a murderer. I assume he means that figuratively in regards to the destruction of his mother's diaries. All in all I enjoyed the book and feel it had a message worht reading and contemplating. I feel I have a better grip on a victim's response and the long term effect this will have for generations to come.
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5.0 out of 5 stars History and Humanity, March 29 2002
By 
Rayshawn Woods (Miami U., Oxford, Ohio USA) - See all my reviews
I like this graphic novel alot. I think Art Spiegelman does a great job of not only illustrating the tale of a Holocaust concentration camp survivor, but also the tale of struggling to survive having to live with a Holocaust Survivor. Art gives Vladek (and himself) more human characteristics that many authors fail to achieve, and by doing so, makes the historical accounts within his novel even more emotionally evoking and engulfing. It's essentially a novel that tackles the multiple tasks of developing the relationship between a father and his son while still sticking to the focal point of the novel, and that's the story of a Holocaust Survivor. It's a truly universal story that transcends race, color, and creed. Everyone can relate in some way. Even if it is a comic book. LOL!Anyway, I'm doing this review for my Eng 112 class, so I want to give props to my boys Alex and Mike for helping me write this. I hope it's up to par Angie.To be honest I would consider this novel to one of my favorite novel as far. Enjoy book reviewer, because I did.
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The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale
The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman (Hardcover - Nov. 19 1996)
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