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Schindler's List (1982)

by Thomas Keneally

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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7,891931,053 (4.16)1 / 347
In the shadow of Auschwitz, a flamboyant German industrialist grew into a living legend to the Jews of Cracow. He was a womaniser, a heavy drinker and a bon viveur, but to them he became a saviour. This is the extraordinary story of Oskar Schindler, who risked his life to protect Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland and who was transformed by the war into a man with a mission, a compassionate angel of mercy.… (more)
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English (81)  Spanish (4)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (91)
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Most people have at least heard of this book, or the movie that was made from it, about the war profiteer turned savior of over a thousand Jews during WWII. I watched the movie in high school and then tried to read the book, but gave up due to how long and dry it was. That's probably the biggest mark against the book for most people--it's slow and plodding for at least the first several chapters. And throughout the entire book, the narrative is bogged down by so many names of locations and people, all of which are foreign to at least some of us (mostly Polish names, some German) and difficult to pronounce. However, I'm not sure Keneally should have done it differently, and if that is the only downside to the whole book, I would say there's a lot of reason to push through it and keep going. It does pick up a little after some of the early chapters, and in the end, I'm really glad I read it.

One thing that's always struck me about Schindler, and did even more so while reading this, is that he's not necessarily the type of person you would picture as a "savior." He was gruff, prone to fits of anger, and frankly had absolutely no respect for women at all. And yet, when he saw injustice and brutality happening, he was spurred into action. And while his motives for helping are examined multiple times in the book, it's clear that it's not just a matter of profit that he fights to keep his workers, considering the lengths he goes to at times to not just keep them but also to keep the SS from brutalizing them in his factory.

Though Schindler's actions are the focal point, the book also takes an up-close look at some of the people eventually saved by him. The book reads like a series of vignettes about Schindler himself and various of the different Schindlerjuden (Schindler Jews). Keneally states that he did his best to include only facts, while filling in conversation here and there, but because he couldn't possibly have every single detail, the story at times reads more like looking down on a scene, rather than being right there in it while it happens, as we've come to expect from novels. He makes it clear, though, when he couldn't corroborate a story, that it might be more legend than fact, and even this only happens a few times. Overall, the book is a fascinating, heartbreaking, and clear picture of one man who was completely unextraordinary most of his life, yet did an incredibly extraordinary thing during a dark and terrifying time in human history. Whether you've seen the movie or not, I recommend reading this book to pretty much everyone who's remotely interested in the subject matter, even if it does take you some time to get through it. It's worth it. ( )
  Kristi_D | Sep 22, 2023 |
Puoi trovare questa recensione anche sul mio blog, La siepe di more

Sono stata molto contenta di questa lettura di gennaio con LiberTiAmo: sebbene avessi visto il film di Spielberg anni e anni fa (talmente tanti da ricordarmelo a malapena, in effetti), non mi ero mai avvicinata al libro.

Sulla storia, niente da dire, naturalmente: Oscar Schindler e sua moglie Emilie figurano tra i Giusti tra le nazioni per aver salvato un migliaio di persone ebree dalla Shoah, usando i loro agganci e le loro risorse, senza risparmiarsi e senza mai rassegnarsi all’orrore e alla crudeltà gratuita.

Sullo stile con il quale Keneally ha raccontato la storia, devo dire che in alcuni punti mi è sembrato meno appassionante, nonostante le vicende narrate siano così significative. Penso di essere rimasta infastidita dal fatto che si tratta di un non-fiction novel, mentre avrei preferito leggere un non-fiction ‘puro’ – per così dire – che nella mia testa sarebbe stato più adatto per questa storia. Giusto nella mia testa, visto che La lista di Schindler ha vinto il Booker Prize nel 1982: deve essere colpa del mio potente amore per la saggistica. ( )
  kristi_test_02 | Jul 28, 2023 |
I had expected this to be a novel but it turns out to be a hybrid - non-fiction cum fiction. It wasn't very satisfactory for me; I would have preferred it to be more clearly defined. Keneally declared that he meant it to be a novel but there are frequent references like testimonies, reminding you it is not. For these references, I would have liked a proper reference listing, citing the source of the info. Nevertheless, without Keneally, many of us wouldn't know of this remarkable man, Oskar Schindler. Besides Schindler, Keneally brought to light other German industrialists and soldiers who showed kindness. ( )
  siok | Dec 30, 2022 |
Good novel about the German industrialist, a playboy, who managed to save a lot of his Jewish factory workers from death in the Holocaust. It was originally called "Schindler's Ark". ( )
  kslade | Dec 8, 2022 |
Oskar Schindler was a German businessman who registered as a Nazi to benefit financially from the work being provided. During his time working with the Germans, Schindler sees how the Jews of the area are being treated and decide he must do something about it. He creates a list of essential employees and as such, they are not to be added to any transport lists. He tells his employees that as long as they work for him, they are safe. Schindler remains true to his word and he saved over 1,200 Jews from death at the hands of the Nazi regime.

Ben Kingsley was the perfect narrator for this story. He has such a classic voice and his diction of the hard German words was on point. I can't imagine anyone else reading this audiobook and making such a terrible topic easy to digest.

For the longest time, I thought Schindler's List was a huge, daunting tome of a book and although I wanted to read it, I was scared. When I downloaded the audiobook and saw that it was only 4 hours long I was a little confused. I realized I was basing my thoughts on the movie and the length of it. All in all, this book was well done and well researched. I am glad that I finally crossed it off my TBR.
(less) ( )
  Micareads | Sep 22, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 81 (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.

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Keneally, Thomasprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dupuis, FrançoisTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laing, TimIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moraes, TatiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peralta, CarlosTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Visserman, HanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
托马斯·基尼利secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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. [Prologue]
[Author's Note] In 1980 I visited a luggage store in Beverly Hills, California, and inquired the prices of briefcases.
General Sigmund List's armored divisions, driving north from the Sudetenland, had taken the sweet south Polish jewel of Cracow from both flanks on September 6, 1939.
[Epilogue] Oskar's high season ended now.
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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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In the shadow of Auschwitz, a flamboyant German industrialist grew into a living legend to the Jews of Cracow. He was a womaniser, a heavy drinker and a bon viveur, but to them he became a saviour. This is the extraordinary story of Oskar Schindler, who risked his life to protect Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland and who was transformed by the war into a man with a mission, a compassionate angel of mercy.

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