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Maus: My Father Bleeds History Pt. 1: A Survivor's Tale (Penguin Graphic Fiction) [Paperback]

Art Spiegelman
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Dec 1989 Penguin Graphic Fiction
Some historical events simply beggar any attempt at description--the Holocaust is one of these. Characterising the Nazis as cats and the Jews as mice, this book recounts, through a complex and sustained allegory the experiences of the author's father in Auschwitz during WWII.

Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (1 Dec 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140173153
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140173154
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 16 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 807,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An ASTONISHING Tale... 13 Nov 2003
"Maus I" is a powerful and awe-inspiring experience. I have never read anything quite like it, I have to admit. It's really hard to comprehend the term "page-turner" until you read this very unique and intense tale of surviving one of the most terrible times in history.
Written in comic book form, Art Spiegelman tells the tale of his father's hardships and survival in the Holocaust. Vladek Spiegelman (his father) was a POW, but managed to sneak out of one of the camps that held him, only to later have him and his whole family thrown into terrible death camps. Uncertain of what tragedies they would endure or when they may be the next to be sent to Auschwitz, Vladek was always certain that they would make it out alive, no matter what obstacles were thrown in their way. This is a survivor's tale, as well as a tale of how a son tries to patch up a damaged relationship with his father. The account we are given is absolutely horrifying, but at the same time triumphant.
I literally could not put this book down once I started it. It's a very fast and easy read. This is a great advantage because this makes it easier for those who do not read a lot to be able to read it without any problems. It's an important tale that needs to be told and it is one that needs to be read by as many people as possible. The Holocaust is something we should never forget and it's something that needs to be taught to everyone. This book is a great way to get people aware of the situation who may not know a lot about that terrible time.
The comic book structure and style really makes the story work. While this is something I could've read in plain text or in a regular novel, the drawings help you experience just exactly what is taking place.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In this case, less is more... 2 Mar 2000
By A Customer
By choosing to tell his father's story as a graphic novel, Spiegelman not only gives us the pictures, he also necessarily cuts the word count. As a result the narrative is starker, the emotion is more raw and we as readers are left to cope with what we read /see as best we can.
It is one of life's mysteries why this book is not better known among the many Holocaust survivor accounts. Perhaps it is because it is "second generation" - but through sharing the son's need to understand what happened to his father, those of us who were not yet born can better understand what happened in the middle of what is now the last century.
I bought Maus soon after it was first published and it is still in a prime position on my shelves. I am taking the opportunity to write this review as I pass through on my way at long last to buying the sequel simply to find out what happened next.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Allegory 16 Dec 1999
By A Customer
A veteran of the underground comic scene in the 1970s and a more recently a cover artist for the New Yorker, in the late 80s, Art Spiegelman undertook a project of interviewing his father Vladek, a Polish Jew who survived the holocaust in Auschwitz. He turned the narrative into an allegorical, graphical representation of the ordeal, in which Europe is a menagerie of humans behaving at our raw, animalistic worst, and perhaps best as well. Umberto Eco claimed that "Maus is a book that cannot be put down, truly, even to sleep." This was certainly true for me when I read it. Perhaps the only 'comic book' (as inappropriate as that term may be here) to win a Pulitzer Prize, Maus is gripping and compelling. Some have criticized it for relating simply a story which was no more remarkable than millions of others. Can anything different be said, however, of Night, or The Diary of Anne Frank? Does that make it any less important that the story be told? And yet, in Spiegelman's cat and mouse play, where moral virtues, failings, and decrepitude are writ large, Maus is also exceptional because of the strength of its allegory, which is almost Spenserian in its strength.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Holocaust with Mice? 24 July 2003
Quite simply the daddy of all graphic novels, moving the genre into new areas. Spiegelmann's approach is the finest piece of art treating the Holocaust I have ever experienced. Visually stunning and emotionally powerful, he deserves a place at the side of Primo Levi.
The twin stories of his parents' wartime lives and his own difficult relationship with his stroytelling father, delve far deeper than simple survivor testimony. He explores second generation holocaust trauma, confronts "The Grey Zone" and still finds time to pose fundamental questions about the morality of art in the face of Historical catastrophe.
And, all theorising aside, it's just a beautiful, warts and all, human story, . I cannot recommend this book strongly enough, it represents everything that is good in art, challenging, innovative and hugely compelling.
Buy this book for anyone who thinks graphic novels are for kids.
Buy this book for anyone who approaches the Holocaust simplistically.
Just buy this book. You will not regret it.
While you're at it, order the second volume at the same time, because once you read the first half, you'll want to start the second straight away.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible book - unmissable 21 May 2003
I am an avid comic book and graphic novel collector from all backgrounds. Maus is still, after years, my absolute favourite. It tells the unimaginable story of a holocaust survivor and his relationship with his son. Written intelligently and beautifully, it is at times horriffic and yet touching and absolutely inspiring.
Don't buy that lunch - buy this book and immerse yourself in a true story of courage.
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