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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "He who saves one life saves the world entire..."
Schindler's List, Thomas Keneally's 1980 non-fiction "novel" about Oskar Schindler's transformation from a bon vivant German (actually, Sudeten German, born in what is now part of the Czech Republic) war profiteer to savior of over 1,000 Jews during World War II, is one of the most fascinating accounts about the darkest chapter of that global conflict, the Holocaust. It...
Published on 26 Mar 2004 by Alex Diaz-Granados

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An important story- but poorly written
Not as poignant as Night or as eloquantly descriptive as Approaches to Auschwitz, Schindlers List is as the back cover suggests- a book written for development into a movie. It was interesting to see where Speilberg took liberty. The author himself cautions that certain elements of the book were fictionalized, however this does not detract from the absolute horror the...
Published on 26 May 1999


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "He who saves one life saves the world entire...", 26 Mar 2004
By 
Alex Diaz-Granados "fardreaming writer" (Miami, FL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Schindler's List (Paperback)
Schindler's List, Thomas Keneally's 1980 non-fiction "novel" about Oskar Schindler's transformation from a bon vivant German (actually, Sudeten German, born in what is now part of the Czech Republic) war profiteer to savior of over 1,000 Jews during World War II, is one of the most fascinating accounts about the darkest chapter of that global conflict, the Holocaust. It vividly portrays the horrors of the Nazi effort to exterminate the Jewish inhabitants in German-occupied Europe while at the same time proving that one person, no matter how flawed and contradictory in nature he or she is, can rise to the occasion and make a difference.
In his Author's Note, Keneally explains that he uses the oft-used technique of telling a true story in the format of a fictional account, partly because he is primarily a novelist (Confederates, Gossip From the Forest) and "because the novel's techniques seem suited for a character of such ambiguity and magnitude as Oskar." He also acknowledges the persistence of Leopold Pfefferberg, a Los Angeles leather-goods store owner and one of the "Schindlerjuden" -- the handful of mostly Polish Jews saved by Schindler from the SS by Oskar's use of his charm, connections with high Nazi Party officials, and ultimately, the fortune Schindler had gone to make in Krakow after Poland's surrender in the fall of 1939.
Like Steven Spielberg's 1993 Academy Award-winning film it inspired, Schindler's List (published in Europe as Schindler's Ark) describes how Schindler takes over a factory -- formerly owned by Jewish investors -- and makes a fortune selling, among other things, pots and pans to the German Army. But as the war goes on and Schindler sees first-hand the horrible crimes the Third Reich is committing in the name of the "Final Solution," the well-connected charmer and ladies' man becomes more concerned about saving lives than making money. First, he has a few fortunate Jews listed with the SS as "essential war-industry workers" in his Krakow factory; later, when he discovers that SS Commandant Amon Goeth has been given orders to dispose of every inmate and slave laborer at the Plaszow Labor Camp before the advancing Soviets reach Krakow, he spends all of his wealth paying Goeth and other corrupt SS officials for the lives of nearly 1,200 of the Jewish men, women, and children who form Schindler's workforce.
While Spielberg's movie faithfully captures the novel's account of the Holocaust years, Keneally's book gives the reader more details about Oskar's life before and after the war, including a short account of his prewar activities and his postwar business failures in Europe and Argentina. However, Keneally's focus is on Schindler's inspiring transformation from shameless and charming entrepreneur to "Righteous Person," proving that decency and righteousness can triumph over even the most implacable tyranny and hatred.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this at least once, 7 Aug 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Schindler's List (Paperback)
I first read this in 1985 and whilst a teenager. Since then I have probably read it another dozen or so times and it loses nothing of it's power however well you know the outcome. It is easily the one book that has had a profound impact on my life and hopefully Oskar's lessons have made me a better person. On the strength of Schindler's Ark I visited Kracow to see the ghetto, and Auschwitz, and when I could choose a history course to teach, chose one involving Nazism. Although unbearably sad, it remains an incredibly uplifting tale - everyone should read it!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book: depressing yet uplifting, 12 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Schindler's List (Paperback)
I too read the novel (which won the 1982 Booker Prize) after I saw the film. I too usually find that this detracts from reading the book, but it didn't in this case. The book is depressing because you wonder how can anyone act in that way, yet uplifting because there are some people willing to act against evil - at great cost. Everyone should read the book AND see the film.
My only quibble about the book is the ugly, small typeface.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very powerful., 16 Nov 2000
By 
kevinwuk@hotmail.com (Cowdenbeath, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Schindler's List (Paperback)
This is actually one of my favourite films. Unfortunately, I had seen the film before I read this book which I always feel detracts somewhat from the emotional impact I get from reading. However, on actually reading the book I was surprised to find that none of the initial emotional spark discovered on watching the film had gone. On the contrary, Keneally's writing seemed to further intensify the vividness of the stories and events portrayed in the film. I actually felt that I was there, eavesdropping on conversations. I could see all the events unfolding before my eyes.
I have actually visited both the concentration camps in Auschwitz and the description that Keneally gives of them in his novel is quite remarkably. He seems to be able to convey the general feeling of melancholy surrounding them as well as their chilling visual impact. This is a true story and the way Keneally is able to piece together the feelings and anecdotes of the survivor's into one hermetically sealed book is quite remarkable.
This book was the first that I read concerning the holocaust and since then it has given me a vivacious appetite to find out more, look deeper into the accounts of the survivors. I would recommend this book to everyone. Very powerful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully moving and absorbing book, 7 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Schindler's List (Paperback)
The book focuses not only on the actions of Schindler, but the moral issues surrounding the Holocaust. Keneally's use of certain anecdotes gives internal views of the concentration camps. The book is moving and compelling, because of its sheer sadness. The aim is not so much to learn but to understand, and Keneally writes fluently. Thoroughly gripping, but emotionally prevoking, stories plunge readers into war-time Germany.The book's power comes from its startling simplicity; the plot allows us to feel shame, anger, bitterness and happiness all at once with its recital of the atmosphere of the concentration camps.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving account of humanity during the Second World War, 23 Mar 2007
This review is from: Schindlers List X (Paperback)
I have wanted to see Spielberg's movie for quite some time,and I think I'm glad I watched it before reading the book.
Initially, there is the complexity that is Oskar Schindler himself. It is fascinating to follow his development from a war profiteer and a major operator in the black market to a man obsessed with saving as many Jewish prisoners as he can. It would be convenient to view Schindler as an industrialist using the Jewish prisoners as a cheap source of labor to boost his profits, but it is quite clear that he ultimately was willing to pay any price to save people. His actions could have easily cost him his life. One the other hand, care must be taken to recongize that Schindler was not a saint, but a flawed man who happened to have performed a great deed. His story is truly remarkable.

I also found that many of the descriptions of other individuals included fascinating details. Here we find an array of complex and all-too-human characters. Schindler's greatest gift seems to have been his ability to determine what was required to motivate individuals to help Schindler achieve his goals. He was a master a bribery, but could also locate unlikely sources of compassion and conscience. While this is a story that proves that not everyone looked the other way during the Nazi reign of terror, the shame of it is that the numbers of such people were so small.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No literary classic but still an important book, 13 Aug 2004
This review is from: Schindler's List (Paperback)
I'm not all that fond of Keneally's style of writing and narration. However, substance sometimes makes the book, and Schindler's list is one I return to time after time, just to remind myself of the historical events behind Spielberg's film. They are both chilling and incredible and have a lot to say about the human nature - the best and the worst of it.
I recommend this book to both those interested in Schindler and those who take a cynical look at the story because they felt the film was false, flawed, exaggerative, emotionally manipulative, or any such thing. While Keneally's book probably doesn't tell the truth, only the truth and the whole truth on the subject, it is well researched for and explores the story much more thoroughly than Spielberg's film (largely based on it) was able to. It brings up a multitude of very interesting details, human fates and personal memories of people involved in the events.
Just for the record: Schindler was not the only person in Krakow helping Jews to survive, and he was involved in this business both earlier and far more deeply that the film shows. The accountant character played in the film by Ben Kingsley is actually a combination of at least two or three real people. And the real Amon Goeth, in turn, was far worse than even Ralph Fiennes' fine performance could express.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I need to wait four years to watch the film. (Cries), 30 Jun 2013
This review is from: Schindler's List (Paperback)
This book had me spellbound. I got a detention in my primary school because I was reading all the way through the lesson. It is remarkably moving, and I cried all through it, then when I thought the sadness was over, at the end I cried again because it was a little sad the way Oscar Schindler deteriorated in the final few pages, but this didn't feel anticlimactic or unfinished at all. The emotion in this book was (purposefully or not) meticulously constructed and different from other books I have read on the Holocaust, which was interesting. How can you say a book like this was really 'Enjoyable'? No, it was moving and fascinating, and one of the best books I have ever read, because of its sheer literary beauty. I begged my mother to let me watch the film, but she won't let me watch it until I'm fifteen.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 14 April 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Schindler's List (Paperback)
Thomas Keneally, honoring the request of Schindler survivor Leopold Pfefferberg, researched and wrote this story of Oskar Schindler and never took a penny for it...Schindler was a good man but a flawed one, and this is made clear; he saved the lives of over a thousand but could not remain faithful to his own wife; but whatever reason he performed this act of rescue, the fact is he did it, and over 20 years after his death Schindler finally receives his just acclaim for decency for what he did for the Plaszow Jews, and gambled with his life and the mad commandant Goethe...reading it gives new meaning to the verse in the Talmud"To save one life is to save the world entire."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book. Amazing and worth reading at all costs., 5 Sep 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Schindler's List (Paperback)
Schindler's List is a great book. It tells the story of Herr Oskar Schindler in the middle of Nazi occupied Poland. It tells the amazing story of how Schilder went against all odds and all the difficulties to save over 1000 people. Overall, I enjoyed every minute of the book and still rate it over the movie. (I did see the movie after I read the book.) The explaination of the events that triggered Schindler's actions are very descriptive. It is a worthwhile read, and makes you take a deep breath and think about the past. It teaches you many things about how people were treated and how people can be heros.
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Schindler's List
Schindler's List by Keneally Thomas (Hardcover - 1 Jan 1982)
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