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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A true story of a life saver
This is Oskar Schindler' story. A story of determination, strength and courage in the face of adversity. Schindler was a German businessman and Nazi party member. Wealthy and successful, he decided to set up a factory in Poland producing supplies for the German army in Russia. He would employ Jews.
Initially, you do not picture Schindler as a philanthropist. He is an...
Published on 24 Sep 2002 by Giles Hamilton

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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fictionalised biography that doesn't quite work
I don't know how best to represent the Holocaust in popular culture. There is no doubt that the story of Oskar Schindler is a compelling one and Stephen Speilberg did very well with his sincere, though unmistakably Hollywood, take on the subject. I had been looking forward to reading the original `novel' by Thomas Keneally but this really wasn't what I expected. The...
Published on 31 May 2008 by Trevor Coote


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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A true story of a life saver, 24 Sep 2002
By 
Giles Hamilton (Tonbridge, Kent, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Schindler's Ark (Paperback)
This is Oskar Schindler' story. A story of determination, strength and courage in the face of adversity. Schindler was a German businessman and Nazi party member. Wealthy and successful, he decided to set up a factory in Poland producing supplies for the German army in Russia. He would employ Jews.
Initially, you do not picture Schindler as a philanthropist. He is an entrepreneur, his passion is money and the full enjoyment of life in luxury. As the story progresses, and he witnesses atrocities and acts of inhumanity towards the Jews, he uses his own money to bribe the SS and Police and to buy Jews to work for him, thus saving them from a very uncertain future in the hands of the SS.
As the rest of the world stood by and did little, we learn of one man's quest to do as much as he could for those in his care.
It is not fair to say that others did not help, but Schindler clearly went further than most. This is a moving and heartbreaking story. In the end, Schindler made an enormous personal sacrifice, and put himself in danger to save those his countrymen were murdering. He saved one thousand lives. The death of Oscar Schindler was mourned by Jewish communities worldwide.
This story was the inspiration for the acclaimed film Schindler's List' starring Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley and Ralph Fiennes. The film is as good as the book.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An terrifying, moving novel, 21 Nov 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Schindler's Ark (Paperback)
I watched Schindlers List, and decided to read the book that inspired the film. The attention to detail in extraordinary, and Keneally draws you into the terrifying, upside down world of Cracow during WW2. What really gets to you is how the corrupt Nazi machine, slowly ratchet the Jews towards their awful fate, and how evil seems to be accepted and tolerated almost without question. Schindler's complex character dominates the story, as his sheer force of charisma keeps the hopes of the Pfferbergs, Sterns, Bankiers and the workers in his plant alive. A great book that can't fail to affect the reader very deeply.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Justice is served to this horrendous true story, 10 Jan 2010
By 
Ms. A. L. Young "Anna Young" (Bournemouth) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Schindler's Ark (Paperback)
Book Review - Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally
Schindler's Ark is a novel that depicts the horrific circumstances surrounding 1940s Poland. Many are aware of the basic facts surrounding the start of World War II and the conditions for Jews during this time; however, the novel provides an historical portrayal but from a successful German man living in Poland, safe from persecution, but still deeply astounded and disgusted by the treatment of the Jewish people during this time. Oskar Schindler, who is initially represented as a man with little moral obligations, provides an uplifting yet desperate perspective to the unethical situation in which he is positioned.
Although the first one hundred pages of the novel seem futile, once information about what was happening in the ghettos and the stories were being related to families and children, the horror of the story makes the book hard to put down due to sheer fascination. When conditions become increasingly worse for Jews in Cracow, Schindler provides the moral outrage in which all readers would have wanted to feel if put in such a situation. The representation of how families coped with the continuous fear and anxiety allowed me to calculate what I would have done in the same situation and therefore made the story more powerful.
Schindler's Ark is by no means an enjoyable book to read but rather a fascinating one, in the sense that it is important to remember what happened to Jewish people during this time and how human rights can be so violated. By creating a novel based on a true story such as this one, it allows the people of the time, with their bravery, to live on. Readers of this novel are not just able to remember the historic facts but have emotional attachment to the characters and therefore allowing the story to be that little bit more memorable.
By Anna Young
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A story of man one would have least have expected to save over two thousand Jews, 3 Jan 2010
By 
Rose J. Humphries (Bournemouth, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Schindler's Ark (Paperback)
Schindlers Ark gives the true story of a man "Oscar Schindler" with a personality one would have least expected to have saved over two thousand Jews during the Second World War. Schindler is a German businessmen who is firstly portrayed as power hungry, womanising and wealthy. The tale starts with Schindler taking to his advantage of the fact Jews can no longer work and son by buying a factory in Poland near the poor conditions of the ghetto funded by Jews and employs Jews. This in fact helps to save them. At first one wouldn't think of Schindler as a saviour but as the story advances he sees the brutality of the Nazi superiors and inhumanity they are inflicting. "Oskar, my dear fellow, you'd be a fool if you got a real taste for Jewish skirt. They don't have a future Oskar. That's not old-fashioned Jew-hate talking, I assure you. Its policy" He grows to know his Jewish employees and forms a very good friendship with his accountant Itzhak Stern. After learning of the SS intentions for the Jews, Schindler uses his own money from the factory to buy each one in order to protect them from harms way. This story has touched many people especially the descendents of those of whom he saved, as he was one man who did so much whilst the rest looked on and did nothing. Although the book was interesting and is much more detailed than its film adaptation Schindler's list I feel found it quite hard to read, as I couldn't quite relate to characters as they had perhaps been fictionalised too much. I found it moving in parts especially towards the beginning when Schindler hires Itzhak Stern and they are discussing about how the current rules set for businesses, Schindler asks him how he knows of this and Itzhak Stern simply answers, "A Jew is still permitted to read German newspapers".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars HIDE-AND-SEEK: THE HOLOCAUST STORY BY THOMAS KENEALLY, 4 Jan 2009
By 
I. Sediha (Bournemouth, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Schindler's Ark (Hardcover)
"Schindler's Ark" is a truthful story about a brilliant liar, Oscar Schindler, who saved more than a thousand Jews during World War Two. Thomas Keneally thoroughly examined the facts connected with Schindler and his milieu to make an objective novel about "the pragmatic triumph of good over evil".

The author describes the war as the time of a cruel game between pro-Nazi governments and Jews. All horrors of the Holocaust are depicted minutely in order to show the chaos and amorality of that period.

Hiding was the only way for Jews and their families to survive. Being a risky and enterprising man, Herr Schindler opened and developed an enamel-ware factory where he guaranteed safety and food for every Jew he could take. By means of bribes, gifts and feasts for SS inspectors Oscar created a perfect mechanism of legal sheltering for hundreds of Jews, Schindler's Jews, as they named themselves.

So, who was Oscar Schindler? A cynical German businessman who used cheap Jewish labour to become a millionaire or a philanthropic man who applied his charisma and money to save them from Auschwitz? The author gives readers an opportunity to decide whether to call him a hero or not, but his outstanding services cannot be overrated.

What makes this book so special? The feeling of reality: real names, real events and real lives. No idealization, no author's interpretation, just pure facts ably combined into a perfect reading.

In 1982 the author was awarded the prestigious Booker Prize and in 1993 this novel was transformed into a dramatic black-and-white Steven Spielberg's movie "Schindler's List".

Memorable quote: "The reason I'm beating you now is you asked me why I'm beating you."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Whoever saves one life saves the world entire: how to make your own problems seem pitifully small, 20 Nov 2013
By 
K. J. Noyes "Katy Noyes" (Derbyshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Schindler's Ark (Paperback)
4.5 stars.

This is not a book to read on a beach. Not unless you want other sunseekers to potentially see your weeping face and open mouth as you delve into the true story of Oskar Schindler and the 1000+ Jewish men, women and children he almost literally dragged from out of the hands of the Nazis.

Keneally tries very hard to keep his portrait of Schindler unbiased. Not afraid to recount his womanising and (what we'd call now) 'playboy' ways, the reader sees Oskar from the many perspectives of eyewitnesses who have collaborated with the author to bring this tale to life.

Yes, he had affairs. He may also have occasionally been heavy-handed with employees and other men. But yes, he also spent his own money and contacts saving Jewish people from right out of the concentration camps and kept them alive to the very end of the war, to his own bankruptcy.

It's incredibly tense, moving, upsetting and just horrific. No details seem to be spared. There are a lot of names and families, among them the almost unbelievable Goeth, sometimes seen by the author as Schindler's dark twin. Their relationship is so dark and twisted, you can see how Spielberg was able to make it the heart of his film.

As a Jewish reader, one lucky enough to not have had family in Europe at this time in history, the implications of what happened in this book really hit home for me. And though a lot of detail wasn't new, the post-war world Schindler had to navigate was quite an eye-opener, from his letter signed by Jews vouching for him to having to travel in prisoners' clothes to avoid being taken for a fleeing Nazi officer. Nothing they cover in GCSE history.

An amazing account full of detailed testimony written into an engaging and thrilling narrative, the book really is powerful. Both this and the film cover an essential man, story and period that should be remembered. Flaws only make a man imperfect, they don't limit him. I found the ending of Oskar's story very touching, his downward path after performing some of the most selfless acts of bravery I'd ever heard of.

Really an essential read.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing short of a masterpiece., 29 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Schindler's Ark (Paperback)
From the pen of one of Australia's finest authors, Schindlewr's Ark is a compelling and powerful novel based on the life and remakable deeds of a roguish businessman with a conscience. A man who takes it upon himself to employ his cunning and tenacity to the full in order to save 1000 jews from the death camps during the war. The research that went into this book is impressive, and the writing as ever, eloquent. The true story is extraordinary in itself; in the hands of Keneally it is gripping. One can't help feeling that it is works of this calibre that help keep the memories of the The Third Reich's innocent victims alive today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the film, 12 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Schindler's Ark (Kindle Edition)
If you have ever watched and enjoyed the fil, you need to read this book. It's much more personal with the various stories, and I feel like I really got to know the true character of Schindler. Worth a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, 1 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Schindler's Ark (Paperback)
This book is a must for anyone who thinks the last war was just a war.It was a new way of how some nations can be led into barbaric ways .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and moving, 23 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Schindler's Ark (Kindle Edition)
Second time I have read this and I found it moving and informative. Much better to read than the film as Keneally gives enough description to enable pictures to be painted in the mind. Schinler's List is a good film but the book is much better.
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Schindler's Ark
Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally (Paperback - 28 Dec 2006)
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