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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning! A classic for many ages!
Some Holocaust issues have remained controversial. The institution The Jewish Council, or as it was known in German as the "Judenrat" is one of them. Were the heads and members of the Councils collaborators and traitors or heroes who have done all they could in order to save their berthren from the evil machine of the Nazi hordes?
This is the subject of "The Emperor...
Published on 2 July 2011 by Paul Gelman

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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very poor book, a huge missed opportunity.
I have read extensively about the Lodz Ghetto and MC Rumkowski. This book has a number of failings. Firstly it lacks flow and is very difficult to follow. There are quotes inserted in different languages that are also often not translated. These issues may partly have been caused by the translation to English. Secondly what happened in the Lodz Ghetto was unimaginably...
Published on 21 May 2012 by CFS198


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5.0 out of 5 stars THE EMPEROR of LIES, 2 Jun 2013
An amazing book. Written with touches of magic realism entirely appropriate for the unreal atmosphere of the ghetto, so hard to imagine for those who, fortunately, never experienced this 'other world' existence. The author shows great artistic skill in capturing this barely imaginable atmosphere. Rumkowski will always remain a controversial figure but it must be remembered Lodz Ghetto survived longer than any other ghetto and there were survivors. Some will tell you they owe their lives to him. Is it for us to judge? Morality is a luxury in the netherworld of ghetto life. Nevertheless, this book is a great 'artistic' achievement, brilliant, spellbinding.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Grim but one of the must-reads of the year, 27 July 2012
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This review is from: The Emperor of Lies (Paperback)
Well, the Holocaust has now been done from every angle. What's new? What can shock us? What can we learn?
This book is unusually well-written - at a time when so few are - so, from that point alone, it's a masterpiece. But what takes it a step furthur is the focus on this one man and his lies - a study in manipulation - and the focus on the fact of ghetto life.
It is unrelentingly grim though. There is no joy, anywhere and that is my one criticism - you don't engage awith any characters. None of them are sympathetic and that will spoil this for many who might not stay the course.

Still brilliant. Still worth every penny.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 'Labour is the ROCK OF ZION! Labour the FOUNDATION OF MY STATE! HARD, PUNISHING LABOUR!', 27 May 2012
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sally tarbox (aylesbury bucks uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Emperor of Lies (Paperback)
An amazing and horrific account of life in the Lodz Jewish ghetto - second largest in Poland. The head of the ghetto, Chaim Rumkowski, set to turning 'his' town into an industrial centre that would become invaluable to the Nazis, and so- he hoped- save the inhabitants. Certainly it was the longest lasting ghetto, surviving in part at least until 1944. Yet at the same time Rumkowski definitely feathered his nest on the proceeds, living comfortably and eating well while the rest starved.
Not a consecutive narrative, but a series of 'snapshots' of the wartime experiences of the inhabitants, perhaps most terribly the regular demands by the Nazis that the ghetto periodically hand over set numbers of its people to go to 'work camps'.
"They demand that we give them the very things most valuable to us- our children and our old people....I must now reach out my hands and ask: Brothers and sisters, give them to me. Give me your children!"
Perhaps the part that will remain most vividly with me is the heartbreaking final section where one of the young men hides from transportation and attempts to live out a Polish winter with almost no food or heat in an almost deserted ghetto.
The author doesn't attempt to solve the controversy that has always persisted about Rumkowski; I didn't finish the book with a 100% certainty of what I felt about him. Sem-Sandberg doesn't describe 'the Emperor's' feelings as he does other characters, and while he had huge personal failings, he was in an impossible political position.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Emperor of Lies, 28 April 2012
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I couldn't believe that life in the wartime ghettos could have been anything but horrendous for the inmates until I read this book. But it wasn't so for everyone & as the author shows, the most innocuous people will do anything to survive. A fascinating & enlightening read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I do object to having to write something after I have rated a product. I have expressed my opinion by rating it haven't I?, 8 Jan 2014
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Mr. J. Biltcliffe (Colchester, Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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I do object to having to write something after I have rated a product. I have expressed my opinion by rating it haven't I?
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Emperor Is King, 3 Oct 2011
This review is from: The Emperor of Lies (Paperback)
A rip roaring roller coaster of a novel, a Dickensian flight through Polish ghettos during the Nazi occupation. Well worth a read
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very poor book, a huge missed opportunity., 21 May 2012
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This review is from: The Emperor of Lies (Paperback)
I have read extensively about the Lodz Ghetto and MC Rumkowski. This book has a number of failings. Firstly it lacks flow and is very difficult to follow. There are quotes inserted in different languages that are also often not translated. These issues may partly have been caused by the translation to English. Secondly what happened in the Lodz Ghetto was unimaginably horrific. The author choosing to make this a fiction is ludicrous. I recognise many of the stories from other records/autobiographies I have read, and I cannot fathom why the author choose to embellish/exaggerate them. One story in the book is clearly taken from "Rumkowski and the Orphans of Lodz" by Lucille Eichengreen. In the book her story is embellished in a distasteful and utterly unnecessary way. I feel it needlessly demeans the story as originally told, and the victim.

If you have a genuine interest in the Lodz Ghetto I suggest reading the below. They are factual accounts so don't read like a novel, but are far superior in fact and conveying the actual horror of the Lodz Ghetto.

The Lodz Ghetto: Inside a Community Under Siege.
The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto 1941-44.
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too long, 21 Feb 2012
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This review is from: The Emperor of Lies (Paperback)
This book is too long by half. Where was the editor? The author should have spared us the hallucinatory ramblings of ghetto victims
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The Emperor of Lies by Steve Sem-Sandberg (Paperback - 5 Jan 2012)
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