Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Book Thief: The True Crimes of Daniel Spiegelman” as Want to Read:
The Book Thief: The True Crimes of Daniel Spiegelman
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Book Thief: The True Crimes of Daniel Spiegelman

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  201 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
In the spring of 1994, Daniel Spiegelman shinnied up an abandoned book lift in Columbia University's Butler Library, dismantled a wall, stole books, reassembled the wall, and snuck back down the shaft. Over a three-month period he did this more than a dozen times. He eventually escaped to Europe with roughly $1.8 million in rare books, letters and manuscripts. When he was ...more
Hardcover, 181 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Praeger Publishers
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Book Thief, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Book Thief

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Hope Ranly
Jan 04, 2016 Hope Ranly rated it it was amazing
I decided to read "The Book Theif" after my cousin, Dana, recommended it to me. Granted I had already decided to read the book prior to her telling me to because someone I follow on Twitter had posted something about reading it and the quote he showed grabbed me right away. The story is told from Death's point of view, which you could pretty much figure out right from the beginning. He describes a lot of events in the story by the color they were when he saw them. For Liesel Meminger, he saw her ...more
Kate Irwin-smiler
Jun 05, 2014 Kate Irwin-smiler rated it really liked it
This is the story of a man who broke into the Columbia Rare Book and Manuscript Library several times and stole an amazing amount of very precious material. He was finally caught, and this book covers his story from a reconstruction of his theft, his apprehension in Europe, through his plea bargain and finally his sentencing. A great deal of the book is devoted to the sentencing phase, in part because Spiegelman's sentence was a deviation from the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. The judge receive ...more
Jan 07, 2016 MAK added it
The Book Thief: This book is so bad it almost made want to stop reading books. This book is written by Markus Zusak. What made this book so bad was of how boring it was. I had to read for school (which was not fun), the detail in this book was bad because the author didn't make the characters do anything. Probably the most interesting thing that happened was the main character stealing books from a mayor. COME ON MARKUS I CAN EVEN DO BETTER! This book was a waste of time, do not buy unless force ...more
Doug Haskin
Sep 10, 2014 Doug Haskin rated it it was ok
Thought this would be more interesting that it was. The problem was very little time spent on the crimes themselves, and a great deal of time spent on the courtroom proceedings (both in Europe and in the United States) that followed after Spiegelman's capture.

The author included lengthy quoted excerpts from the trial arguments in addition to summarizing the arguments, which would have been sufficient. It felt almost as if this was a thesis for a college degree, rather than a good work of non-fi
Aug 23, 2009 Erin rated it liked it
It's a bit strange to read a true-crime story about one's own workplace.
With that rather pointless introduction out of the way, let me say that I have no idea what was the author's goal in writing this book. The introduction, at less than two pages, reads like a crime novel: " In the beginning he had been skittish and worrisome-he was naturally that way. But by that point, more than ten trips in, he never worried at all. In fact, he was already thinking about the next step. He had so much loot
Emily Ingram
Nov 02, 2015 Emily Ingram rated it really liked it
While around the horrors of World War II Germany, Liesel finds peace by stealing books and sharing them with others. In the basement of her home, a Jewish refugee is being sheltered by her adoptive parents. This is similar to, To Kill A Mockingbird because of how liesel's society looks at others and judges them by just there outsides.
Dec 30, 2015 Kim rated it it was ok
I listened to the audiobook and decided to quit about half way. I didn't care for the voice of the reader and his very harsh German accent at times. Ok not sure if that clouded my ability to get into the book, but I just lost interest in the characters. Listening to the book began to feel like a chore so I stopped.
John Pinkney
Feb 05, 2014 John Pinkney rated it it was ok
An interesting story over burdened by the legalese and trial transcripts, which are far from compelling stuff to the layman, but must be utterly fascinating to lawyers, which McDade is. Still, the first half of the book (the thefts, the security, the Columbia University MRBL, the selling of stolen goods, etc.) is of interest to rare book lovers anywhere.
Dec 29, 2015 Melissa rated it liked it
though the book was a tiny bit hard to keep up with,
if your looking for a good historical view then I and your local doctor recommend this for you.
Chaise Taylor
Dec 02, 2015 Chaise Taylor rated it it was amazing
The book was amazing! The character development is through and the view point from which it was told adds to the book. The end however...
Aug 20, 2011 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
It's not a long book, but it gives plenty of background on book theivery and the imporance of old books and the like. Some of the subject matter is dry, but I think that McDade does a good job of making it as interesting as possible.
I think the book does a good job of explaining why the case is so interesting as well as how previous cases influenced this one.
I had picked up this book to read because it was near another book in the library I was picking up to read. I think I liked this one a litt
Feb 02, 2016 Aimee rated it really liked it
Good, but sort of slow and long and definitely sad.
Jan 10, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it
Really liked it. Well written and not predictable.
Melissa Newport
Jan 23, 2016 Melissa Newport rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Couldn't put it down!
Jan 12, 2016 Saima rated it really liked it
Nov 05, 2008 JulieK rated it it was ok
The story of a guy who stole a large number of rare books and manuscripts from Columbia University, written by a librarian/lawyer. He went into way too much legal minutiae for my tastes (lines of argument at the trial, a whole chapter on the history of sentencing guidelines).
May 06, 2013 Jessica rated it really liked it
So I may be a tad biased as the author is one of my favorite law school classmates; however this is a wonderful read - factually accurate, painstaking legal research and when we hear the author's voice we get wonderful playful moments of artful storytelling.
Oct 21, 2014 Renny rated it liked it
I enjoyed parts of this book. There is a large chapter on the laws relating to book crimes and the changes to the justice system that Daniel Spiegleman's crimes induced. It is informative, a little boring, and had several grammatical errors.
Mar 13, 2013 Lisa rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
I'm not a huge fan of non-fiction (nor all of the legal jargon) but it was really interesting to think about the repercussions Spiegelman's thefts will have on education and how that impacted the judge's decision. Boo Spiegelman!
Mary Ellen
Jun 21, 2010 Mary Ellen rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
Interesting true story about a man who stole rare books from the library in order to sell them.
Mar 17, 2009 Jason rated it it was amazing
Stealing from libraries is bad kharma man
Dec 03, 2009 Ann rated it liked it
Book lover story...
Meryem marked it as to-read
Sep 27, 2016
CS Maynard
CS Maynard rated it really liked it
Sep 11, 2016
Zelly Pretorius
Zelly Pretorius marked it as to-read
Sep 09, 2016
BookDB marked it as to-read
Aug 29, 2016
Lily rated it it was amazing
Aug 23, 2016
Shanta Gibson
Shanta Gibson marked it as to-read
Aug 13, 2016
Catherine Smith
Catherine Smith marked it as to-read
Jul 30, 2016
Kathy Wiley
Kathy Wiley marked it as to-read
Jul 05, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac
  • The Book History Reader
  • Nabokov's Butterfly: And Other Stories of Great Authors and Rare Books
  • The Library: An Illustrated History
  • The Late Age of Print: Everyday Book Culture from Consumerism to Control
  • The Anatomy of Bibliomania
  • What's the Alternative? Career Options for Librarians and Info Pros
  • The Printing Press as an Agent of Change
  • Hound
  • Scribes And Illuminators
  • The Library: A World History
  • Marginalia: Readers Writing in Books
  • Readers' Advisory Service in the Public Library
  • 500 Great Books for Teens
  • Warmly Inscribed: The New England Forger and Other Book Tales
  • A Short History of the Printed Word
  • Among the Gently Mad: Strategies and Perspectives for the Book-Hunter in the 21st Century
  • Into the Looking-Glass Wood: Essays on Books, Reading, and the World
I am the curator of law rare books at the University of Illinois College of Law. I have been researching rare book crime since about 2004 when I started writing my first book. (It was somewhat misleadingly titled The Book Thief, even though the thief in question stole more than just books. I also would have liked the title to make clear that the point of the narrative was the federal legal procedu ...more
More about Travis McDade...

Share This Book