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Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally

Schindler's List (1982)

by Thomas Keneally

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6,110721,045 (4.15)1 / 319

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English (65)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (71)
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
This is the fascinating story of Oskar Schindler, a hedonistic young German, a womanizer and a lover of fine alcohol. In 1939 Schindler followed the German occupying forces to Cracow in Poland and tried to fit in as a German industrialist and make him a fortune. He quickly became fond of various elements in the Nazi civilian and military government, taking control of the Amiel plant and began to employ Poles (some of them Jews). Schindler starts to earn a fortune but at the same time sees what the Germans are doing to the Jews and tries to help the victims. As time passes and progresses, he works more for the Jews by adding food and conditions, he tries to bring more of them closer, and even in this manner, he risks repeatedly. From one climax to a new high, in seemingly lost situations, Schindler succeeds in annexing some 1,300 Jews and caring for them until their release from Nazi rule, while on the way he challenges fate.

This is an excellent book told as a fascinating and exciting story, combined with data and documents, many of which gathered from the significant group of Schindler's list that survived the war and never forgot their benefactor. ( )
  Ramonremires | Jan 30, 2019 |
I struggled with this book. It's not the subject matter that I had issues with- Schindler's story is important, and what he did for the people he saved during the Holocaust is huge. I was not impressed with the writing, though. I was expecting a novelized history, but this seemed like a long and jumbled history paper until the last chapters, which redeemed the book for me. ( )
  sprainedbrain | Dec 1, 2018 |
I first read this in those heady days after seeing the film at the cinema. The story speaks for itself, but the tone and approach of the book differs markedly and I was a little disappointed. I think I was looking for a novelization. I was very young.

Reading it again now I couldn't be more impressed with Keneally's approach. The book is full of ambiguity, a lot of it set up in the prologue where he first starts to explore the contradictions in Schindler's character. There's also ambiguity as to the nature of the book. Keneally does a tight-rope act between history and fiction. Sometimes he's almost report-like, sometimes he directly addresses the audience, giving his opinion on people and events. But then he'll segue seamlessly into fictionally described scenes with direct speech. But watch the speech marks – sometimes they're there and sometimes they're not. Sometimes he calls Schindler Herr Schindler, Herr Direktor, sometimes Schindler, sometimes Oskar. Cycling between formality and informality. But he usually calls him Schindler. He's on the fence. But which is more formal: history or fiction? Surely history with all it's research and facts, and fiction is just a game between friends. But then perhaps history is just a story we tell ourselves about the past. The Greeks made up whole speeches when they wrote their histories, but historians aren't allowed to do that now, and fiction writers, once so chatty with their readers, have tied their voices down and strive for suspended disbelief by obeying a set of ridiculous rules that everyone tacitly agrees with.

All that got me thinking about the Holocaust. Formality and informality, personal and impersonal. Because here you have a vast state-operated killing machine where there are no personal names, only one name Jew. No individual trials, only group condemnation and murder. Pretty impersonal, but yet how more personal can you get, where people, on purpose, first steal everything you have, then imprison you, then murder your family in front of you and finally murder you? ( )
  Lukerik | Apr 11, 2018 |
Here’s the problem: How can I write about Schindler’s List? Because what could I say that hasn’t already been said more eloquently, but, more to the point, how do you respond with words in the face of such incredible horror? I can’t dispassionately evaluate the quality of the writing because the truth is, this book made the holocaust real for me in a way that other books and movies and history classes have not. And it doesn’t seem like, in the face of that, you can just say, well, Keneally did a good job with his research and there’s a nice flow to the writing, but the density of detail can make the story hard to follow and there are too many minor characters (there are too many minor characters, a lot of names that appear once or twice and then disappear, and you never know who is going to be an important character and who you’re never going to hear from again, but these are real people who died in the war or made horrible sacrifices to live through it, and to not include their names would seem so profoundly disrespectful, so what was Keneally supposed to do?).

This is a condensed version of a longer review that appears on my blog, Around the World in 2000 Books. ( )
  Dunaganagain | Jul 28, 2017 |
Had to read in sections because there waere so many names to process. I enjoyed the film more. ( )
  Bettesbooks | Apr 27, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
THE versatile Australian novelist, Thomas Keneally, tells the true story of Schindler's rescue effort in this remarkable book which has the immediacy and the almost unbearable detail of a thousand eyewitnesses who forgot nothing. The story is not only Schindler's. It is the story of Cracow's dying ghetto and the forced labor camp outside of town, at Plaszow.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Keneally, Thomasprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Laing, TimIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Elster - DeFlaun Family
First words
In Poland's deepest autumn, a tall young man in an expensive overcoat, double-breasted dinner jacket beneath it and - in the lapel of the dinner jacket - a large ornamental gold-on-black enamel Hakenkreuz (swastika) emerged from a fashionable apartment building in Straszewskiego Street, on the edge of the ancient center of Cracow, and saw his chauffeur waiting with fuming breath by the open door of an enormous and, even in this blackened world, lustrous Adler limousine.
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Disambiguation notice
This is the novel Schindler's Ark, also published as Schindler's List. It is neither Schindler's List / Piano Solos nor the movie Schindler's List. Despite similar titles, the three media are separate works and should not be combined with each other. Only the novel Schindler's List (Schindler's Ark) should be combined here.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0671880314, Paperback)

Winner of the Booker Prize

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Fiction

Schindler's List is a remarkable work of fiction based on the true story of German industrialist and war profiteer, Oskar Schindler, who, confronted with the horror of the extermination camps, gambled his life and fortune to rescue 1,300 Jews from the gas chambers.

Working with the actual testimony of Schindler's Jews, Thomas Keneally artfully depicts the courage and shrewdness of an unlikely savior, a man who is a flawed mixture of hedonism and decency and who, in the presence of unutterable evil, transcends the limits of his own humanity.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:30 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Based on the life of Oskar Schindler.

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