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Night (Oprah's Book Club) by Elie Wiesel

Night (Oprah's Book Club) (original 1958; edition 2006)

by Elie Wiesel

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Title:Night (Oprah's Book Club)
Authors:Elie Wiesel
Info:Hill and Wang (2006), Paperback, 144 pages
Collections:Your library

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Night by Elie Wiesel (1958)


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Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed.

Never shall I forget that smoke.

Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky.

Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever.

Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live.

Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust.

Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself.


With no fancy literary flourishes, the book is all the more devastating in its matter-of-fact recount of the author's teenage experiences in the concentration camps. To be relieved for yourself, when confronted by your dying father, perhaps even rejoice a little at finally shedding a burden which may have eventually caused your death, this is a situation nobody should ever have to be faced with.

One might ask, what more can be said in such Holocaust memoirs that hasn't been said already in all other Holocaust memoirs already, what's so special about this one, but that is beside the point. This book is not suddenly special or better than all the others, this is - as they all are - for all the voices that have been lost and never got the chance to tell their stories, and for all the voices that would have been lost otherwise. ( )
  kitzyl | Jun 17, 2017 |
This book has been on my list for a long time, and I wish that I had read it sooner. It is not for the faint of heart as it covers Elie Wiesel's journey during World War II in several German concentration camps. His battle is heart-breaking - from the Jewish community who couldn't fathom what was happening to the terrible journey forced on prisoners right before the German surrender.

The disbelief of the Jewish community, even as they were being persecuted, brings to mind the current political/world situation and how easy it is for people to make excuses for the actions and beliefs of others, even if they are stated out-right and in bold type. Chilling.

Though I've read other similar accounts to Wiesel's, I found this one particularly moving as we see him lose his faith, both in his God and in other people. I know that he eventually comes back to his faith from reading about him, but the amount of personal anguish he shares is riveting and unbelievable. It is no wonder he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in 1986.

If you have a few hours, I highly recommend you read this slim book. It is well worth your time. For me, I plan on reading the other books in Wiesel's trilogy, Day and Dawn, as soon as I'm able. ( )
1 vote ouroborosangel | May 30, 2017 |
Back when I was in high school, I worked at a soda fountain/diner near my home. I cleaned pots and pans, helped the waitress clear tables, served some customers, and made about fifty-cents an hour. The couple who owned the place had peculiar accents. One day, I happened to see some numbers on the arm of the woman, and I asked her what they meant. She asked me what did I know about the Holocaust, but I only have a few vague and scattered notions of what happened during World War II. Her husband had a similar number. Both had been in Auschwitz.

At the library, I asked for books about the murder of 6 million Jews and another 6 million men, women, and children. One book struck me; it was This Must Not Happen Again. The pictures were horrific beyond anything my 15-year-old imagination. The next year, we read Elie Wiesel’s memoir of his time in Auschwitz, Night. Some of the knuckleheads in the class, laughed and made jokes, but I knew better.

Considering the disturbing climate of Zenophobia spreading across the U.S. and the world today, I re-read Wiesel’s book. I could not stop reading for a minute. All the old images, together with Jack and Leah’s stories came pouring out like some poison released in my room.

Then my thoughts turned to This Must Not Happen Again, and I realized it has – and is -- happening again today all over the world. The slaughter of an estimated two million Cambodians under Pol Pot, Darfur, Rwanda, Angola, now Syria, and numerous other ethnic and religious groups all around the planet.

I will not give any excerpts, because this book needs to be digested – preferably in one sitting – to take in the truly disgusting depths to which the human species is capable. The history of the human race, dating back hundreds of thousands of years, attests to the strategy of turning one group against another by blaming the “others” for all the problems and woes a particular society faces.

In a Preface to my new edition, Wiesel asks, “Why did I write it? Did I write it so as not to go mad or, on the contrary, to go mad in order to understand the nature of madness, the immense, terrifying madness that had erupted in history and in the conscience of mankind? Was it to leave behind a legacy of words, of memories, to help prevent history from repeating itself? Or was it simply to preserve a record of the ordeal I endured as an adolescent, at an age when one’s knowledge of death and evil should be limited to what one discovers in literature?” (vii). Even at a point in my life far removed from the concentration camps and the gas chambers, and crematoria, my stomach turned at Wiesel’s descriptions.

Wiesel concludes the preface, “I believe it Important to emphasize how strongly I feel that books, just like people, have a destiny. Some invite sorrow, others joy, some both” (xiv). He continues, “Sometimes I am asked if I know ‘response to Auschwitz’; I answer that not only do I not know it, but that I don’t even know if a tragedy of this magnitude has a response. […] The witness has forced himself to testify. For the youth of today, for the children who will be born tomorrow. He does not want his past to become their future.

Elie Wiesel’s horrific memoir, Night, should be on every thinking-person’s reading list. We must not allow our neighbors around the corner or around the globe to be subjected to this horror.

--Jim, 4/23/17 ( )
  rmckeown | May 13, 2017 |
It is difficult to digest this book. Many horrific memories were cramped into some 200 pages... I feel that even he tried to simplify the events in his writing... Talk about them without getting "too" emotional. That is where I got hooked. In real life, when people are fighting for survival, they do not dwell in emotions. They do whatever they have to do to live another day... If it means stealing food from your sick father.. So be it..

I made a mistake if starting this book late in the day and couldn't put it down till I finish (which was 3:30 am). I wish I finished it at a reasonable time to forget about the horror with daily nonsense. I was left alone in the nocturnal silence of human ignorance... ( )
  soontobefree | May 1, 2017 |
It sucks that he had to go through what happened in the Holocaust. I wish the Holocaust never happened. I also wish that I could say I liked this book. But I didn't. ( )
1 vote jenn88 | Apr 25, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 418 (next | show all)
[Wiesel's] slim volume of terrifying power is the documentary of a boy - himself- who survived the "Night" that destroyed his parents and baby sister, but lost his God.

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elie Wieselprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bláhová, AlenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brown, Robert McAfeePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mauriac, FrançoisForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodway, StellaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wiesel, MarionTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In memory of my parents and of my little sister, Tzipora -- E.W.
This new translation in memory of my grandparents, Abba, Sarah and Nachman, who also vanished into that night -- M.W.
First words
They called him Moshe the Beadle, as though he had never had a surname in his life.
At about six o'clock in the evening, the first American tank stood at the gates of Buchenwald. Our first act as free men was to throw ourselves onto the provisions. We thought only of that. Not of revenge, not of our families. Nothing but bread. And even when we were no longer hungry, there was still no one who thought of revenge.
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Book description
An incredible reaccounting of one boy's experience in the horrific hand's of the Nazi's in WWII. Elie Wiesl, a fourteen-year-old Jewish boy, is captured by the German Nazis and forced to do and experience unimaginable things. This story is unforgettable and heart-wrenching as we are able to zoom in and watch an innocent boy be mistreated and abused in the hands of the evil Nazis. Alhough terribly sad, this book sheds a light on some of the most horrific actions of man and is told in such a powerful way that a reader could not simply forget this story; that is why it made the top ten on my list.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374500010, Paperback)

In Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel's memoir Night, a scholarly, pious teenager is wracked with guilt at having survived the horror of the Holocaust and the genocidal campaign that consumed his family. His memories of the nightmare world of the death camps present him with an intolerable question: how can the God he once so fervently believed in have allowed these monstrous events to occur? There are no easy answers in this harrowing book, which probes life's essential riddles with the lucid anguish only great literature achieves. It marks the crucial first step in Wiesel's lifelong project to bear witness for those who died.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:35 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Born in the town of Sighet, Transylvania, Elie Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were taken from their home in 1944 to the Auschwitz concentration camp, and then to Buchenwald. [This book] is the terrifying record of Elie Wiesel's memories of the death of his family, the death of his own innocence, and his despair as a deeply observant Jew confronting the absolute evil of man.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140189890, 0141038993

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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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