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To convey the truth of the holocaust in its totality...(the writer) must add as well the silence left behind by millions of unknowns...One cannot conceive of the holocaust except as a mystery, begotten by the dead." As in the novel, Beggar in Jerusalem (1969) and other works, Wiesel gropes in the lengthening shadows to understand — his own kind of death at Auschwitz and Buchenwald, the death of millions and all he had known, the meaning of individual and Jewish survival. Again his approach is deliberately scattered — fantastic dialogues with the dead and his own abstracted awarenesses; mythic appearances, real and apocryphal from camps, liberated Europe, Russia and Israel. And among the threads of Covenants sealed and broken, individual Jews restate a heritage: the prince-beggar riding forth to meet Death; an Israeli "atheist" commander who nonetheless felt "we were on our way to keep an appointment" in Jerusalem; defiant Jews dancing in Moscow streets. To be a Jew today, insists Wiesel, is to "testify. To bear witness to what is and what is no longer." He denounces young Jews (and Germans) who will not take account of the fact of yesterday's evils. ("Without Auschwitz there would have been no Hiroshima.") Wiesel's tales, lectures and commemorative griefs are moving, penetrating, often raspingly excessive — the result perhaps of attempting an honest stance before the inexplicable.

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 1970

ISBN: 0805207139

Page Count: 212

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1970

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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