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The Cap: The Price of a Life by Roman…

The Cap: The Price of a Life

by Roman Frister

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This has got to be one of the most peculiar memoirs I've ever read, Holocaust or otherwise. I have never seen a person so baldly portray themselves in such an unflattering light. The author admits to being selfish, narcissistic, corrupt, chronically dishonest, a womanizer, a deadbeat father and husband, and even a cold-blooded murderer (after a fashion). Yet I could not dislike him. I too much admired his uncluttered honesty.

This book is not necessarily any more graphic than other Holocaust memoirs, but the author's admissions are shocking, even to me. It also jumps around in time quite a bit, sometimes advancing or retreating decades between one paragraph and another. I wasn't annoyed by this, but I admit sometimes it was hard to keep track of things.

I would recommend this book but only with reservations. The New York Times reviewer apparently shares my sentiments, though he expresses them much better than I. ( )
  meggyweg | Sep 21, 2010 |
This is a great holocaust memoir. You get a taste of Roman's life on both sides of the coin. His life before and after and the people that were a part of those times. Then you get the time of his life when he was in the concentration camps and the death march. A fascinating look at both parts of this man's harrowing journey. An honest portrayal of this man's survival instinct. The Cap is a must read for all readers of Holocaust memoirs and literature. ( )
  bnbookgirl | Jan 31, 2010 |
It is a stark, ragged remembrance of a man's account of surviving WWII, the concentration camps, and his adjustment to life in Communist Poland and later Israel. Written over 40yrs after the events, gives this book an interesting and thought-provoking view. It is difficult at times to read the harshness of his description of what must have been very painful events. Frister, with an excellent translation by Halkin, writes very well. I was compelled to finish the book in only two days. ( )
  dichosa | Jan 22, 2009 |
Interesting that someone can write a book telling of the horrendous circumstances they lived through in such an open way that some of the time you don't really like them that much. But it was of course a case of every man for himself, and unless you've walked in another man's shoes you shouldn't criticise. Quite thought provoking. ( )
  ladyaraminta | Aug 12, 2007 |
Frister was born into a wealthy, educated Jewish Polish family. His future was assured until war broke out in 1939. The seminal experience of life in a death camp serves as a fulcrum upon which his whole life is balanced and in this poignant book he shows how it has coloured, both directly and indirectly, his entire existence.

Roman Frister is a journalist living in Israel. He was editor and a reporter on the Israeli daily newspaper Ha'aretz and now runs the School of Journalism in Tel Aviv.
  antimuzak | Nov 1, 2005 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0802137628, Paperback)

"The path to freedom from self-destructive qualms ran over the corpses of those nobler than you," Roman Frister writes in his bone-chilling autobiography. Moving between his childhood in Silesia, adolescence in Nazi concentration camps, postwar career as a journalist in Communist Poland and later in Israel (to which he emigrated in 1957), Frister's nonchronological narrative is carefully structured to slowly reveal the Holocaust's devastating impact on an individual life. Young Roman watches a German officer kill his mother with a single blow, then is forced to lie on her cooling corpse; at 15, he sits by his dying father's bed, thinking only of the half-loaf of bread underneath it: "I was afraid it might crumble before he stopped breathing." Frister does nothing to soften such horrific experiences, nor does he share his emotions. Yet readers will sense the author is not unfeeling, but rather in a state of profound moral shock that endures to scar his adult existence. The "thick layer of callousness" he wrapped around himself in the camps may seem to enfold him still, but it's peeled away by his ferocious passion for truth, however unsavory. As a colleague tells Frister after reading his account of saving his own life by stealing the cap of a fellow prisoner (who was shot), "You've demonstrated what honesty means." --Wendy Smith

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:43 -0400)

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