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The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale Hardcover – Nov 19 1996

4.6 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1 edition (Nov. 19 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679406417
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679406419
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 2.8 x 23.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 862 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“A loving documentary and brutal fable, a mix of compassion and stoicism [that] sums up the experience of the Holocaust with as much power and as little pretension as any other work I can think of.”
The New Republic

“A quiet triumph, moving and simple–impossible to describe accurately, and impossible to achieve in any medium but comics.”
–The Washington Post

“Spiegelman has turned the exuberant fantasy of comics inside out by giving us the most incredible fantasy in comics’ history: something that actually occurred…. The central relationship is not that of cat and mouse, but that of Art and Vladek. Maus is terrifying not for its brutality, but for its tenderness and guilt.”
The New Yorker

“All too infrequently, a book comes along that’s as daring as it is acclaimed. Art Spiegelman’s Maus is just such a book.”

“An epic story told in tiny pictures.”
The New York Times

“A remarkable work, awesome in its conception and execution… at one and the same time a novel, a documentary, a memoir, and a comic book. Brilliant, just brilliant.”
–Jules Feffer

From the Back Cover

It is the story of Vladek Speigelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father's story. Maus approaches the unspeakable through the diminutive. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), shocks us out of any lingering sense of familiarity. Maus is a haunting tale within a tale. Vladek's harrowing story of survival is woven into the author's account of his tortured relationship with his aging father. Against the backdrop of guilt brought by survival, they stage a normal life of small arguments and unhappy visits. This astonishing retelling of our century's grisliest news is a story of survival, not only of Vladek but of the children who survive even the survivors. Maus studies the bloody pawprints of history and tracks its meaning for all of us.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The title of this review consists of words I don't use too often. But this is a masterpiece that deserved its Pulitzer Prize and then some. What makes Spiegelman's work so moving is the juxtaposition of a supposedly lighthearted form, the comic strip, with the greatest evil and suffering in human history, the Holocaust. Spiegelman's parents miraculously survived the concentration camps, being among very few survivors, getting by on luck and (in the case of Spiegelman's father) a lot of resourcefulness. This is their story, from the point of view of the father, who lost nearly all of his relatives. With the Jews as mice and the Nazis as cats, this work pulls no punches in describing the true horrors of the Holocaust, and Spiegelman's minimalist artwork makes the images all the more disturbing. You don't get this kind of emotion, terror, and brutal honesty in standard written accounts of the period. But underneath the direct suffering of the Holocaust, the true theme of this book is the lasting effects on the Spiegelman family, including the father's lasting agony and the mental illness shared by both Spiegelman's mother and himself, who hadn't even been born yet. The strained relationship between father and son are the true heart of this tremendous work. I haven't been this blown away by a work of literature in a very long time, if ever.
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Format: Hardcover
A comic book on the Holocost? That includes a love story? And humor? Seems far fetched, but somehow it works. Very well, at that.
Spiegelman weaves three stories between two books. First and foremost is the story of his father Vladek's survival of the Holocost. Second is Art and Vladek coming to grips with each other, a relationship that is strained at best. Lastly is the story of Vladek's love for his wife Anja, and how Art and Vladek come to grips with her death.
This is no Hollywood story. The humor is dark, at best. No punches are pulled with the Holocost. There is no great happy ending. The book covers how people cope with the terrible. It does so in a very real and true manner. Truly gripping.
The author is to be commended to be opening up his life, as well as the lives of his family. The honesty makes for gripping and disturbing coverage of a most important topic.
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By A Customer on March 13 2003
Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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