Auschwitz Hardcover – 5 Apr 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
Unfortunately, the story is done and dusted too soon, which in some sort of way says a lot about the work, you just want it to carry on for longer, it's that good. Clearly, Spiegelman's Maus looms in the background, and what Aushwitz lacks in depth and first hand experience relative to Maus, it compensates on the chilling artwork and depiction of the gas chambers.
The extra interview with the author at the end is a very nice complementary addition to the book. Upon finishing Aushwitz, I went straight to the internet to learn more about it, so I guess it fulfilled its objective. I look forward to new stuff from Monsieur Croci.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The second problem is the lack of research. The author lists Schindler's List as a source. Really? Schindler</>, while powerful, is a fictionalized version of a biography. It's not a primary source and should never be treated as one.
This brings me to the author's attitude toward his actual primary sources. One of them explained to the author that the hats he had drawn for the inmates were wrong, and asked them to be corrected. The author's explanation is that the real hats looked dumb, and he doesn't understand why the hats matter anyway. IT ALL MATTERS. Either you care about accuracy, or you don't. Someone who changes a detail as pervasive in the story as the clothing the inmates are wearing, purely for aesthetics, particularly when he has primary sources asking him to fix it, clearly doesn't care about accuracy.
Great visuals, bad storytelling, bad scholarship.
This book is very disturbing, and thus very powerful. Croci's people, Jews and Germans, are drawn in a wide-eyed, ghoulish manner. No one smiles. Still, there is beauty to be found in the figures and faces he creates. He cites inspiration from the film "Schindler's List," but it only seems to exist in the black and white of his work. The sense of hope in Spielberg's film, of one man's humanity, is no where to be found.
I did not find this to be as engaging as Maus of "Schindler" because none of the characters are given a personality. Stepping back, it makes sense (even more so when you read Croci's extensive interview in the back). He has stripped every person down to the fragments that are left when your only thought is of survival. This does not make the story very engaging--rather you find yourself turning page after page to see what atrocity lies next.
That said, I still reccommend this book. It's something you will want to discuss after you read it. It's art is as powerful as the photos we have of this terrible place. Of note is the gas chamber sequence, unveiled by a mist of poison when the Jew workers open the doors to burn the bodies. It's consistently dark, inhuman tone is perhaps a more accurate vision of the Holocaust than the humanity presented by Spielberg. It's not a read you'll soon forget.
I would also reccommend this as a book for children 10 and up, because it is VERY disturbing at times and seems more written for adults. You know your child better than anyone else, so flip through and make your own judgment first. I for one will not get that gas chamber image out of my head for a long time.
You can't just watch "Schindler's List" and use that as your historical research basis. You just can't. Because although it's a great movie, it's just that, *a movie.*
Jarringly notable things I noticed were incorrect uniforms for both the guards/the prisoners and the inaccurate attribution of a photograph from the Babi Yar massacre to something that happened in Auschwitz. Seriously?
I'd also like to point out that in the entire history of the camp, there's only one documented occurrence of someone surviving the gas chambers. And they were shot shortly after. This book seems to be under the impression having a few people survive each gassing was business as usual.
I understand the artist/writer is under the impression this is his own artistic piece and accuracy doesn't matter as much as appeal/beauty/service to the plot, but it does when you pick such a sensitive subject under the guise of being accurate.
Also: melodrama galore. I never thought it'd even be possible to make a story about Auschwitz melodramatic, but here it is. It's clear this guy didn't have an editor.
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