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The Survivor: An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps
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The Survivor: An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps

4.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  111 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
An eloquent revelation that touches the foundations of what man is. Neither despairing nor conventionally hopeful, The Survivor describes the most terrible events in human memory. But what emerges finally is an image of man stubbornly equal to the worst that can happen.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published February 1st 1980 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1976)
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Paul Bryant
Aug 20, 2012 Paul Bryant rated it really liked it
For us the camps are terminal images. They are the realised archetypes of eternal victimhood and of evil forever triumphant.

This is a very unflinching book about those most extreme places that haunt our nightmares, the Nazi concentration camps. The author is concerned with survival. How was it done?

Survival is an experience with a definite structure, neither random nor regressive nor amoral. The aim of this book is to make the structure visible.

As he examines the testimony of survivors

an unexpec
Sep 15, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
This is, for me, no ordinary Holocaust record. Although Des Pres does include plenty of extracts from the accounts of survivors, he is more interested in analysing their testaments and distilling the message they carry for us all in the society outside. And he shows himself to be a deep philosophical thinker with some challenging ideas in the process.

He begins by examining the concept of the Hero - first of all in the world of fiction. The hero usually gives his life, or is prepared to do so, f
Apr 06, 2014 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Holocaust historians, history students, scholars of genocide
Recommended to Michael by: serendipity
I have a hard time categorizing this book, and its very resistance to standard academic pigeon-holes may explain its relative obscurity. It is a very important study of early Holocaust literature to attempt to understand the personal psychology and behavior of survivors. As Des Pres addresses early on, "survival" has sort of a bad rap in our culture, people who "merely survive" are not seen as "truly alive." Yet, for those who have experienced extreme conditions and organized efforts to destroy ...more
Mark Geisthardt
Aug 16, 2015 Mark Geisthardt rated it it was amazing
The way Elie Wiesel described this book was "An important, tormented, tormenting book" which is a very accurate description of the work the Des Pres created. It is very much a book that not only tells the stories of concentration and death camp survivors but also seeks to understand the power of life in the face of death. It is a powerful read.
Steve Eichel
Mar 24, 2014 Steve Eichel rated it it was amazing
I have read almost all the Holocaust literature. This book said it best. It is deeply disturbing, deeply inspiring, and changed the way I see my personal history as well as the history of my family.
Isabel Hogue
Jan 12, 2014 Isabel Hogue rated it really liked it
I bought this and read again in fall of 2013.
Worthwhile study.
Jan 14, 2014 Lunaria rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
Required reading. Period.
Apr 14, 2014 Tom rated it it was amazing
Essential reading for human beings.
Des Pres offers an optimistic and moving theory of survival, which provides important guidance on a monumental topic.
Dec 08, 2007 Daniel rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all
No matter how many claim it wasn't like this

Yvette Robinson
Oct 10, 2010 Yvette Robinson rated it it was amazing
Must read for anyone who needs to get out of her own brain.
Laura Ernster
May 07, 2013 Laura Ernster rated it it was amazing
Read in college and have read several times after.
Jan 22, 2011 raina rated it liked it
fantastic but the concluding chapter is not very good
Taylor Church
Apr 25, 2012 Taylor Church rated it it was amazing
macabre, yet epic in its ability to move you.
Jun 12, 2009 Chris added it
Non-fiction Holocaust- sad man
Patrick Murphy
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Jun 23, 2016
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