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Schindler's List

4.33 of 5 stars 4.33  ·  rating details  ·  87,549 ratings  ·  1,040 reviews
In the shadow of Auschwitz, a flamboyant German industrialist grew into a living legend to the Jews of Cracow. He was a womaniser and heavy drinker who enjoyed the good life, yet to them he became a saviour.

Thomas Keneally's Booker Prize-winning novel recreates the story of Oskar Schindler, an Aryan who risked his life to protect Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland, who continual...more
Paperback, 429 pages
Published 1994 by Sceptre (first published 1982)
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K.D. Absolutely
Dec 04, 2013 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to K.D. by: Booker Prize, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core, holocaust
Much has been said about the 1993 Stephen Spielberg Oscar-winning movie. In 2007, it ranked 8th in the 100 Best American Movies For All Times list. I saw it twice in the movie house when it was released. I bought copies of it. Copies... because you know how technology progresses: VHS, then VCD, then DVD, then Blue Ray. (when will this ever stop?) Every time I bought me a copy, I watched it. Every time I watched it, I cried.

But surprisingly, I did not cry reading the book, 1982 Thomas Keanally’s...more
Manny
Certain people (you know who you are) were suggesting the other day that no one actually reads Thomas Keneally. Well, I notice surprisingly few reviews here, so maybe the accusation has some substance. At any rate, I did read the book, and really liked it.

Quite apart from anything else, it's an inspiring true story, which the author tells well. But the thing I've thought about most is what it says about the nature of good and evil. At the beginning of the story, Schindler is by no stretch of the...more
Jenna Watt
This is a wonderful book and a wonderful story, everyone should know what oskar schindler did for Jews in WW2. However, this book was very hard to read, like reading a research paper. Pfefferberg basically begged Keneally for an hour to write a book. because of that the first half of this book was very forced. i felt like he didnt want to write this, that his heart wasnt in this, Toward the middle of the book i flowed a little more but not until the last 8-10 chapters did it start to be easier t...more
Jonathan

""The critique of culture is confronted with the last stage in the dialectic of culture and barbarism: to write a poem after Auschwitz is barbaric, and that corrodes also the knowledge which expresses why it has become impossible to write poetry today.
Theodore W. Adorno

Encapsulated in quotes such as the above is the pure devastating influence across history of the Jewish Holocaust during World War 2. As an event of magnitude it becomes hard for one to detach themselves from the large picture of...more
Courtney H.
Schindler's Ark is a brilliant book. It really shouldn't count as fiction, I suppose; one of the things that I admired about the book is that Keneally was scrupulous in his research. Even the dialogue, though obviously fiction, are constructed from conversations that actually took place. Keneally does not embellish, he does not fictionalize, he does not fudge details to be cleaner, sadder or happier, more romantic or more grim (which, though good, the movie definitely does). It is what it is --...more
Becca
This was not a light read. It was, in fact, a very thought provoking book. The author has done very good research and he makes it very clear what is fact and what is supposition. I really like that in a historical work.

The first half of the book was harder to read because it involved the slow, steady slide into the evils of the holocaust. It was amazing to watch the Jews being transformed from citizens to substandard citizens and eventually to being seen as less than beasts. It all happened gra...more
Ana
initially:

I don't know how or why, but in the last two-three months I have been reading a lot of stuff about the War period of the 20th Century and I seem to have this impossible to fulfill desire to know more and more and so much more about the Nazi regime and Hitler and the Holocaust. I also seem to have a gruesome interest in the dirtiest, bloodiest, cruelest tortures that the Jews or any other ethnic were put through.

Maybe I need to see a doctor.

Anyhow, this book was another good reference...more
Aubrey
This one bridges the gap between reality and fiction in a way matched by few. The circumstances of extraordinary cruelty are only equaled by the unimaginable courage it took to defy it. It's fortunate that the account is written in such a straightforward and clear manner, for the depth of emotion in some of the scenes described is so vast that any obvious attempt of connecting the reader to the emotions would be trivial, if not horribly superficial and presumptive. There need be no high flown wo...more
Susan Branch
I saw the movie and had to read this book, based on a true story. It was all there in the book, even the little girl in the red coat. Sad, important, heartbreaking, wonderful book that everyone should read.

On the island where I live (Martha's Vineyard) they took all the kids in the entire high school to see the movie. Took a few days to get everyone in, but they did it. If I didn't already love Steven Spielberg, this did it for me forever. Timeless.
Sam
This was an incredibly written and thought-provoking book without over powering the reader. The focus of the story on Schindler and the 1100 Jewish people he saved actually makes the Holocaust all the more real as you can relate to each individual person rather than being overcome with the shear numbers of people involved.

The portrayal of Schindler is well written and doesn't preach to the reader about how great a man he was, it simply describes what he did and how he did it and allows the reade...more
Paul
Not an easy book to review or to categorize. Is it fiction, history, a bit of both. Keneally has clearly taken the historical account and stuck to it fairly closely, but has fictionalised the dialogue. It has also been overshadowed by Spileberg's remarkable film.
Schindler did nothing remarkable before or after the war and without his wartime efforts would have been remembered as a womaniser, drinker and bankrupt. However his efforts to save the Jews who worked in his factory and his treatment o...more
Julia Hughes
When I was still in single digits, I asked the fountain of all knowledge (my Dad) why no-one tried to save the jewish people from the death camps during the 2nd WW.
'There was one man, I think his name was Schindler, but what happened to him after the war I don't know. I think he went to Russia. Apparently he was a bit of a playboy.'

I pondered on Schindler's fate a little, and somehow the fact that one man tried to make a difference helped elevate the horror slightly. (I know now that there wer...more
Melanie
Ok.. I liked this book.. When I first realized it was a biography, I faltered because those aren't usually my cup of tea. And in the first 70p, Oskar Schindler didn't really endear himself to me (can you believe I only vaguely knew who he was? and I live in Switzerland where we have holocaust survivors visiting our high schools!). But throughout the book, you realize that he is a flawed man, but he is a man who did all he could to save those he could save, at great personal risk to himself somet...more
Jon
What i liked about it

Im still reeling from it. No matter what you think you know about the Holocaust, or seen in newsreels, it never fails to shock at the sheer scale of it. To say the Jews were treated far worse than livestock is an understatement, I can't even begin to describe their treatment. Like 'The Pianist' this is brought to home even more chillingly when its an account of actual individuals and their testimonies of what happened, what they had to do to survive and who they lost. Bein...more
John
At first, Oskar Schindler seems an unlikely hero: egotistical, hedonistic and adulterous. As an industrialist, the outbreak of World War II appears to him as mostly an opportunity for commerce and financial gain by whatever means. He’s a member of the Nazi party, but only because it opens doors for him to make further contacts and exploit them.
In this we see the best qualities emerging from what at first seems a mercenary and selfish man whose primary motivation is money and profit.
This novel...more
David Campton
I am probably one of the few non-holocaust-deniers in the world to have never seen Spielberg's film of the same name... partly because, right from its cinema release friends "in the know" warned me that if I saw the film I wouldn't "enjoy" the book. Having read the book, and a few reviews of both the book and the film I think I understand what they meant. I hope the film has more of a driving narrative, because, particularly in the first half, the book is episodic and hard-going (hence my scorin...more
Andreea
Schindlerjuden

"Intrarea interzisa evreilor si cainilor" pagina 208 O_O

"Fiindca pentru un mit nu se pune problema daca a fost sau nu adevarat, si nici daca ar trebui sa fie adevarat." 312
desi eu as fi spus: "ci daca ar trebui sa fie adevarat", mai potrivit in context; asa si citisem pana a trebuit sa scriu aici ._.

“In cele doua zile nesigure dintre declaratia de pace si punerea ei in aplicare, unul dintre detinuti, un bijutier pe nume Licht, mesterise un dar pentru Oskar. Ceva mult mai expresiv d...more
Sheila
Oskar Schindler is one person I hope to meet in heaven - and I don't say that often. This book is a must-read for anyone wanting to acquaint themselves with critical facts about the Holocaust, with a heartwarming true story that will make you cry. This tale will restore your faith in humanity. One tip: don't let the constant and heady barrage of German & Polish names & terms put you off, as Schindler's Ark can be a little like reading a history book at times. Simply keep a retractable hi...more
Mary JL
Mar 13, 2012 Mary JL rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any interested in history or the Holocaust and/or a good character portrait
Shelves: non-fiction
After I saw the movie of Schindler'sList, I sought this book out.

It is incredibly good. Even though I knew the plot basically from the movie, I was still captivated. The book does contains a few details not shown in the movie,btw.

Mr. Keneally's excellent writing style and prose made this an excellent tale of a horrible time and an unusual man. I mean really, Schindler was not the type most people would cast as a hero; yet despite his oh-so-human flaws, he dared to take on the Nazi regime.

Disturb...more
Oana
Remember that splendid 7 Academy Awards winner movie Schindler's List? Imagine that, the book's even better. A very detailed and well-researched semi-biography, written in a very fluid fiction style, and presenting a lesser angel of mercy but a more flawed everyday human Schindler, this book is a masterpiece. Second reading, still not an easy one. My copy is in Romanian (a surprinsingly good translation by the way), and still it took forever. Though totally worthwhile.
Philip
I was walking down the hall talking to a guy a work with, and telling him that I had backed myself into a corner... I still had 200 pages of Schindler's List to read before book club Sunday night. (This was Friday, and I was working rather later than usual.)

He gave me one of those, "yeah, but no big deal looks" - you know the kind I'm talking about. He kindof shrugged, "but you've seen the movie."

There was a pause as I debated lying to the guy.

His eyes went wide: "You HAVEN'T seen Schindler's L...more
Beth
In 1980, Thomas Keneally was in LA looking for a briefcase. A Holocaust survivor named Leopold Pfefferberg, may or may not have actually sold him one, but he gave him something much more valuable, a tale of holocaust heroism of which he had been one of thousands of fortunate participants. Pfefferberg introduced Keneally to others who had been a part of the story, and took him to the locations critical to the tale. The result was this novel, Schindler's List also known as Schindler's Ark, and the...more
Danielle
Plot Summery
Schindler's List, by Thomas Keneally, is a true demonstration of courage and integrity that people should have followed during WWII. This story tells about the lives of the Jewish people in Poland during WWII and how by one man. over 1200 Jew's lives were saved by Oscar Schindler, a buisness man from Czechoslovakia. Oscar Schindler aquanted himself with power menmbers of the Nazi party in order to build up favors in case he ever needed them. Jews were being forced to registar and wea...more
Elena
This is one of those rare times when I have to say that I liked the movie better than the book (in fact, I loved the movie, whereas I barely managed to get through the book just because I knew the "story" beforehand). The book seemed to be very dry and full of names and events thrown in. I understand that this is a true story and that the author wanted to remain true to all aspects, but his writing style really did not allow me to become emotionally invested.

While the movie was mostly true to th...more
Travis Lambert
Michelle and I gave up on Schindler’s List half-way through. Yes, I know, we’re philistines. While its historical and ethical value cannot be denied, I would rather read a history book. It’s just not much in the way of an actual narrative. There is very little personality in the characters and way too many disconnected characters and events. It reads more like a series of anecdotes about different people in the same location, and, worst of all, every page is a bewildering avalanche of names whic...more
Dakota
For many reasons this was an extremely difficult book to get through.

I initially selected this book as a project for a class. However, as I began working my way through it, it became harder and harder to read, NOT because of a difficult reading level per se, but because of its horrifying content.

I respect Schindler in a way I never did before after reading this historical account of all that he did for Jews captured and forced to work in a concentration camp. The novel takes readers through Schi...more
Lori Anderson
Dec 27, 2011 Lori Anderson rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: history, wwii
When I saw the movie "Schindler's List", I was moved to tears. The book did the same.


Oskar Schindler, owner of an enameled cookware factory, is a German. He's also a war profiteer, but he saves over a thousand Polish Jews from extermination during the Holocaust. The book goes deeper into Schindler's psyche, and we watch this smooth, polished industrialist risk his life and his fortune to save lives. He lives on a precarious line, entertaining and bribing Nazi officials while being a hero to his...more
Kat
I seem to be running on Jew/Holocaust steam lately... I've been reading such books only...

I don't know what to write of this book. This is such a famous book, that I think any review will not do it justice.

Reading this book, I cannot stop questioning myself: If I lived during those times, what would I do? If I were a Jew, what would I do? If I were German, what would I do?

There are many memorable Schindler quotes, and I think that they all ring some truth. "When you know people, you have to tre...more
Allison
This is a book of the real superheroes. What these people did was much more brave than what Superman or Captain America ever did. Oskar Schindler was a great man. While yes, he had drinking, gambling, and marital problems, he did more good than bad. I think that Oskar Schindler is the great person we should all aspire to be. Schindler's wife comments that Oskar never did anything extraordinary before or after. But is that really a problem? He saved the lives of thousands, even when he didn't hav...more
Dave
Incredible, that Oskar Schindler did what he did. Vivid fictionalized history of an amazing individual in brutal surroundings. Try reading "Diary of a Man in Despair" by Friedrich Reck-Malleczewen to see what Schindler was up against. Also check out Raoul Wallenberg, Chiune Sugihara, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Berthold Beitz.
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Thomas Michael Keneally, AO (born 7 October 1935) is an Australian novelist, playwright and author of non-fiction. He is best known for writing Schindler's Ark, the Booker Prize-winning novel of 1982, which was inspired by the efforts of Poldek Pfefferberg, a Holocaust survivor. The book would later be adapted to Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List (1993), which won the Academy Award for Best Pict...more
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“Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.” 1683 likes
“The principle was, death should not be entered like some snug harbor. It should be an unambiguous refusal to surrender.” 12 likes
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