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Maus: My Father Bleeds History v. 1: A Survivor's Tale Paperback – 1 Jun 1991

4.6 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 159 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Inc; 01 edition (1 Jun. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394747232
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394747231
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 1 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 175,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Maus is a book that cannot be put down, truly, even to sleep. When two of the mice speak of love, you are moved, when they suffer, you weep. Slowly through this little tale comprised of suffering, humor and life's daily trials, you are captivated by the language of an old Eastern European family, and drawn into the gentle and mesmerizing rhythm, and when you finish Maus, you are unhappy to have left that magical world."--Umberto Eco

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A story of a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father's story and history itself.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
What got Art Spiegelman's "Maus: A Survivor's Tale" noticed was the simple and rather obvious conceit of telling a story about the Holocaust in which the Jews are portrayed as mice and the Nazis as cats. But the reason Spiegelman won the Pulitzer Prize is because ultimately the story being told is more important than the metaphor employed by the cartoonist.
Vladek Spiegelman was a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Holocaust and "Maus" is about the attempt of his son, a cartoonist, to come to terms with not only his father in Rego Park, New York, but the terrible things that happened to his father in Poland in this first half of the tale, "My Father Bleeds History." This proves not to be rhetorical hyperbole, because Vladek's past becomes almost omnipresent as he tells his story to his son. Almost as important, the suicide of Artie's mother comes into play as well, for ultimately in this story, as in life, everything is related.
Tragically, as Vladek reveals more of the events that irrevocably altered not only his own life but that of his son, Artie is repelled rather than drawn closer to his father and the gulf between then becomes clearer. Knowledge, which should bring insight and understanding, fails and creates only bitterness. However, you must remember this is but the first half of the story, which concludes in "And Here My Troubles Began."
What makes "Maus" remarkable is not that it is a "comic book," what the "New York Times" called "an epic story told in tiny pictures," but that it is a very intimate story about someone who survived the Holocaust. The body might survive the concentration camp, but "Maus" is about what happens to the mind, the heart and the soul.
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Format: Paperback
This is a powerful work. The tale of a young man's painful relationship with his father is elegantly interwoven with the father's recollection of life as a Jew in Nazi-occupied Poland. Spiegelman's skill and honesty make this a raw, gut-wrenching read, though the tale is somehow ultimately uplifting.
I first read this book as a teenager, and would highly recommend it to people of any age. Over the years, I have re-read it frequently and shared it with friends of all ages. All have taken much from Spiegelman's tale.
A few notes must be made in response to the 10/26/97 comment posted below by a reviewer from Ontario, Canada. It is quite clear that this reviewer did not, in fact, read the book. (S)he mistakenly attacks Spiegelman for portraying the Poles as rats, and wonders if he would be offended if a book were written portraying Jews as rats. Anyone who took the time to read Maus (or merely to examine it's cover!) would know that it is, in fact, the Jewish people who are portrayed as mice/rats, whereas the Poles are portrayed not as vermin, but rather as pigs.
In fact, far from a "vicious" attack against Poles, there are many acts of kindness by Polish people portrayed in the book. Certainly there is unkindness as well, but how can the reviewer forget that this is a factual account of Vladek Spiegelman's life, told from his perspective. If unkind acts by Polish people are a part of that life, then they should be in the book.
Finally, the reviewer in question inelegantly raises a point of some merit, though it is one that is only tangentially related to Spiegelman's work. The Polish people did, in fact, suffer horribly at the hands of both Nazis and Soviets alike.
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Format: Paperback
It's quite a lengthy graphic novel, and is an account of the Holocaust, with mice representing Jews, Cats as the Nazis, Americans as dogs and Pigs as the Polish. This is a brilliant conceit, and the writer makes full and effective use of it.
This is harrowing and incredible, but very real and present and with very human, flawed characters that hit home beyond what a film or a book can do for a wide range of audience types. The illustrations aid the narrative, placing soft, engaging images and dark atmosphere into a bleak tale....It seems a very 'neat' story in places, but perhaps there is some memory allowance here. It's another important piece of historic interpretation.
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By A Customer on 26 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
The time is 7:12 pm, June 25th, 1999. I finished reading this book about ten minutes ago. Yeah, I read all of these reviews, yes, I'm going to say that this book is great and everything, and it really is. I'm not going into details, I'm just gonna tell you straight. I read this book in ninety minutes flat. It was that engrossing. Before I picked it up at Barnes and Noble this afternoon, I found it difficult to believe that "Maus is a book you cannot even put down, not even to sleep." But it really is. I read and read and read until I was looking at the back cover. Tomorrow I'm going to buy volume two.
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Format: Paperback
Maus was an amazing story, told beautifully. Like so many other graphic novels that are based on true stories, the medium gives the author and artist the ability to tell anotherwise difficult to story to tell. The visualisations of mice Nazis allow for the uncomfortable reality of what happened to so many millions of people to be told honestly, brutally at times, but with a level of humanity that would be more difficult to reach if this were simply a novel, without the imagery, or even a film, which, if representative of reality, would not be easily digestible.

Remembering what happened in the past, and how horrific it was, can help us avoid repeating the same mistakes (hopefully). This is a critically important story, told from a personal level that everyone can relate to.

This is one of my favourite books. A must read for everyone.
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