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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful is an understatement
I recall when I first read 'Night', it was just after Elie Wiesel had given a lecture at my university. It was in the mid-1980s, and the lecture hall was standing-room-only. Wiesel's presentation moved us to tears, and moved us to anger, and moved me to want to follow up on his words by reading what he had written.
This is supposed to be fiction, but...
Published on 19 Jan 2006 by Kurt Messick

versus
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars quite Dark
Quite harrowing, and Quite dark. But then that was what it was. A must if you want to know what horror the jews had to endure.
Published 22 months ago by mr alan ferris


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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful is an understatement, 19 Jan 2006
By 
Kurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (London, SW1) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
I recall when I first read 'Night', it was just after Elie Wiesel had given a lecture at my university. It was in the mid-1980s, and the lecture hall was standing-room-only. Wiesel's presentation moved us to tears, and moved us to anger, and moved me to want to follow up on his words by reading what he had written.
This is supposed to be fiction, but in a style that seems to be typical of many modern Israeli novelists, it is so close to the truth of the actual events that transpired in Wiesel's life that it might as well be treated as autobiographical. This is actually part of a trilogy - Night, Dawn, and The Accident - although each element stands alone with integrity.
How does one deal with survival after such atrocities as that at Birkenau and Auschwitz? How can one have faith in the world? How can one accept that a people so closely identified with a powerful God can ever accept that God again? Where is God in the midst of such things?
Wiesel himself as spent his life in search of such answers, but doesn't provide them here. Why then would one want to read such accounts as these? Wiesel was silent for many years, until he was brought into speech and writing as a witness to the events. Wiesel proclaims that there is in the world now a new commandment - 'Thou shalt not stand idly by' - when such things are happening, one must act. One must remember the past in all its personal aspects to both honour those who suffered and to forestall such things happening again (which, given the the depressing repetitive nature of history, is a difficult task).
This is the longest short book I've ever read. It is one that has stayed with me from the first page, and I've never been able to shake the images brought forward, the misery and suffering, the existence of evil and brutality, the sadness and desolation. We live in a culture that likes to gloss over pain and suffering, mask it with drugs and other things, and always end the story with a happy ending.
There is no happy ending here - even Wiesel's own survival is a questionable good here. How does one live after this? How does the world go on?
One thing is certain, we must never forget, and this book is part of that active remembering that we are called to do.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book should be compulsory reading for everyone., 28 Mar 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Night (Paperback)
Without a doubt this is one of the greatest books of the twentieth century, made even greater by the fact that it comes from one of humanity's darkest moments. Through the telling of his own childhood experiences in pre and post-nazi Hungary, and later as an adolescent in the Third Reich's deathcamps, Elie Wiesel raises powerful questions. The book questions the whys and wherefores of the Holocaust, demanding to know where was God? Where was Man? And how should one respond to the terrible brute fact of the tragedy of the Jewish people? The book provides an excellent, thoughtful (wise even) and compelling introduction to Wiesel's life and work and to the themes of Holocaust literature and response in general. By asking questions the book calls for answers, not only from nations, governments, religious authorities and God, but also from the reader himself. Reading this book is no light undertaking, but it is a necessary one for anyone (Jew and non-Jew alike) who wishes to consider the implications of the Holocaust for all Humankind. I cannot recommend this powerful novel highly enough.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very touching, 23 Jan 2006
By 
Edward Tem (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
This personal account of the holocaust by Elie Wiesel's book is a horrifying story of the Nazi death camps. The author tells the story in a simple manner, yet it is easy for a reader to end up feeling haunted by the accounts in NIGHT. It stirs sadness and profound questions in the bosom of a reader. The lessons from this book about the evil side of fallen human nature and the faith, courage and moral strength to fight the evil must never be forgotten. I recommend this book to any reader interested in the holocaust and the specter of mass killings plaguing the world today.Survival In Auschwitz, Union Moujik, Shake hands with the Devil, Disciples of Fortune,First They Killed My Father, Triple Agent Double, King Leopold's Ghost, Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare,The Gulag Archipelago are also recommended reads to help have a better understanding of threat humanity faces from the evil ideologies of hate
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very powerful reading, 3 April 2009
By 
J. Cooper (Sheffield, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Night (Paperback)
This is a small but very emotive book that contains the recollections of Elie Wiesel and his family whilst at Auschwitz.

It is small but by no means unsubstantial, as the book is very powerfully written and you can clearly see the high level of emotion the author is experiencing as he puts pen to paper and relives past traumatic events.

This book is necessary reading for those who usually read about the Holocaust and Auschwitz.

The book is upsetting as one would naturally expect when reading about this event, as you are reading about real people and not fictionalised characters. However, I believe it is important that as many people read this book as possible as it is outstanding and a testament to the determination of a human being's desire to continue to exist against all the odds.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching, 17 Feb 2005
By 
Edward Tem (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Night (Paperback)
This personal account of the holocaust by Elie Wiesel's book is a horrifying story of the Nazi death camps. The author tells the story in a simple manner, yet it is easy for a reader to end up feeling haunted by the accounts in "Night". It stirs sadness and profound questions in the bosom of a reader. The lessons from this book about the evil side of fallen human nature and the faith, courage and moral strength to fight the evil must never be forgotten. I recommend this book to any reader interested in the holocaust and the specter of mass killings plaguing the world today.
Also recommended are: SURVIVAL IN AUSCHWITZ, DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Night by Elie Wiesel (ELI VI zel), 17 May 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Night (Paperback)
The book "The Night" by Elie Wiesel does not do less then make you think how lucky you are to be in this world with your family. As a kid Elie Wiesel was sent to Auschwitz, Buna and Buchenwald which are described full and a bit in exaggaration to the "good" side. Most of the description of the pogroms that are in te book are in a way, too gentle and not as harsh as the real pogroms were. it might be on purpose the the author does that, in order not to shock people and frighten them too much, but as a Jew whose grandfather was saved from the war, I know that this is a bit different than what really happened. I read this book as an assignment and could not put it down for a minute, I was actually quite sorry when I realized I had finished it.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elsie Wiesel's 'Night', 15 Sep 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Night (Paperback)
It's hard to know what to say about this book: I have a feeling that what it describes should only be told in its own words. This is a harrowing book, but not because it contains any conventionally horrific scenes or language. There is no attempt to shock: nothing of the protest leaflet, or charity advert. There is no attempt to pretend that people who died were perfect, or that they had nothing to do with their fate. (The account of how Wiesel's Jewish town refused to believe accounts of the killing of Jews is one such harrowing moment.)
I would like to say how I came to buy this book. An Essex library had four bookcases (floor to chest height) full of books by the door. They were selling them. Among them was this book and Tadeuz Borowski's collection of stories. The words "Lest we forget" come to mind.
I would urge people to read this book: not immediately, but to remember it and to read it when you wish to understand this period and this happening. (Some people might quail at that use of "understand", and I would agree; but the attempt to understand is all that I have.) This book is a record of what many people haven't had to live through. Knowledge and pity can be behind wrong as well as right decisions; but there is a carelessness that can go with a lack of them. One can seek to do good and end up doing evil, but that is not the same as the carelessness that is unaware of whether it does good and evil because it has never asked what they are. I think this book has made me less careless.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly moving, 27 Dec 2008
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This astonishing and very moving book is based on Elie Wiesel's youth in concentration camps during WW2. It begins with his childhood in Hungary, then his family's incarceration in a Jewish ghetto, then to Auschwitz (where he last sees his mother and sister) and later to Buchenwald. "Night" is made all the more haunting and powerful by the way that it is written so simply, in a matter of fact tone. Wiesel displays absolutely no self-pity as he describes the way that the Nazis wore them down and stripped them of their humanity, so that they were merely existing in a state of indifference to their fellow prisoners. The only thing that sustained him was being able (through both luck and determination) to remain with his father.

Last year I read "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas", and while that is moving, it is Disney-lite in comparison to this.

I have always wondered about some aspects of the Holocaust: why did more Jews not leave their countries when they had the opportunity do do so? Why didn't they heed warnings about what was happening elsewhere? Why did more not resist their oppressors? Wiesel explains this beautifully (within the parameters of his own experience).

When we think of concentration camps so often it is the gas chambers that is foremost, but Wiesel also captures so many other horrors: men so starved that they will kill one another for a few crumbs of bread, being force-marched many miles through the snow, the terror of making the wrong decision on the rare instances when they were given a choice in some aspect of their fate.

This is a hauntingly wonderful book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elie Wiesel is atrue voice of truth and conscience, 23 May 2008
By 
This review is from: Night (Paperback)
Night by Elie Wiesel is not only one of the definitve works on Holocaust literature, it is one of the most definitve works on humanity.
This is a factual record of Wiesel's experiences from 1941, when the author was 12 years old, dedicated to learning Talmud and thirsting to learn Kaballah, to his experiences after Jews were forced into ghettoes and then transported to the death camps.
Written in Yiddish in 1958 and translated into English in 1960.
It is a record of Wiesel's childhood in the death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau. It is dedicated to the memory of Wiesel's parents and his little sister Tzipora who were cruelly murdered in the Nazi inferno.
The book is stark in it's record of everything seen by the author and asks many questions for which answers are difficult to find.
It tells of the vow of Wiesel and a friend in the camp to emigrate to the Land of Israel if they survived, a dream shared by millions who died in and lived through the Shoah.
Perhaps the most horrifying and moving account in the book is when the author reveals how during the first night in Auschwitz, he and his father wait in line to be thrown into a firepit. He watches a lorry draw up beside the pit and deliver its load of children into the fire. While his father recites the Kaddish, the prayer for the dead.
" 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. Never".
Elie Wiesel has been a voice of conscience in the world ever since this book became known.
He has penned various other bestsellers. His Elie Wiesel Foundation For Human Rights has done valuable work in this field for many years.
In a plea for the plight of his own people today, especially the youth and children of Israel today targeted by terror and forces of genocide (such as Hamas, Hezbollah and the Ahmadinejad regime- as well as all who are sympathetic to these anti-Jewish elements) he penned an open letter to President Bush stating: "Please remember that the maps on Arafat's uniform and in Palestinian children's textbooks show a Palestine encompassing not only all of the West Bank but all of Israel, while Palestinian leaders loudly proclaim that 'Palestine extends from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, from Rosh Hanikra (in the North) to Rafah (in Gaza). Please remember Danielle Shefi, a little girl in Israel. Danielle was five. When the murderers came, she hid under her bed. Palestinian gunmen found and killed her anyway. Think of all the other victims of terror in the Holy Land. With rare exceptions, the targets were young people, children and families. Please remember that Israel--having lost too many sons and daughters, mothers and fathers--desperately wants peace. It has learned to trust its enemies' threats more than the empty promises of 'neutral' governments".

Elie Wiesel is atrue voice of truth and conscience.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful is an understatement, 5 Jan 2006
By 
Kurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (London, SW1) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Night (Paperback)
I recall when I first read 'Night', it was just after Elie Wiesel had given a lecture at my university. It was in the mid-1980s, and the lecture hall was standing-room-only. Wiesel's presentation moved us to tears, and moved us to anger, and moved me to want to follow up on his words by reading what he had written.
This is supposed to be fiction, but in a style that seems to be typical of many modern Israeli novelists, it is so close to the truth of the actual events that transpired in Wiesel's life that it might as well be treated as autobiographical. This is actually part of a trilogy - Night, Dawn, and The Accident - although each element stands alone with integrity.
How does one deal with survival after such atrocities as that at Birkenau and Auschwitz? How can one have faith in the world? How can one accept that a people so closely identified with a powerful God can ever accept that God again? Where is God in the midst of such things?
Wiesel himself as spent his life in search of such answers, but doesn't provide them here. Why then would one want to read such accounts as these? Wiesel was silent for many years, until he was brought into speech and writing as a witness to the events. Wiesel proclaims that there is in the world now a new commandment - 'Thou shalt not stand idly by' - when such things are happening, one must act. One must remember the past in all its personal aspects to both honour those who suffered and to forestall such things happening again (which, given the the depressing repetitive nature of history, is a difficult task).
This is the longest short book I've ever read. It is one that has stayed with me from the first page, and I've never been able to shake the images brought forward, the misery and suffering, the existence of evil and brutality, the sadness and desolation. We live in a culture that likes to gloss over pain and suffering, mask it with drugs and other things, and always end the story with a happy ending.
There is no happy ending here - even Wiesel's own survival is a questionable good here. How does one live after this? How does the world go on?
One thing is certain, we must never forget, and this book is part of that active remembering that we are called to do.
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