Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Length: 432 pages
About: Nazi becomes an unlikely hero
Style: 3rd person
In the shadow of Auschwitz, a flamboyant German industrialist became a living legend to the Jews of Cracow. This is the story of Oskar Schindler, a womaniser and drinker who risked his life to
protect beleaguered Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland, who continually defied the SS, and who was transformed by the war into a man with a mission.
On the one hand, Oskar had made it his business to know the full face of the system, the rabid face behind the veil of bureaucratic decency. He knows, that is, earlier than most would dare know
it, what Sonderhandlung means, that though Treblinka, and in that complex west of Cracow known to Poles as Oswiecim-Brzezinka but which will be known to the West by its German name
This remarkable book has the immediacy and the almost unbearable detail of a thousand eye witnesses who forgot nothing.
New York Times Book Review
Not so good:
In other words, Schindler's Ark is a book which demonstrates that behind the statistic of six million Holocaust deaths, there are six million personal tragedies. More, indeed, if we count all the
people who lost their friends, lovers, sisters brothers, parents, grandparents and – God help us – children.
I'm ashamed to say that it's precisely for that reason that I put off reading the 1982 Booker winner for years. I found intimate terror in Primo Levi and Sophie's Choice so depressing that I
avoided similar material – until this blog series reached Schindler's Ark. My reasoning was deplorable, both in terms of moral weakness and because (as I am perhaps one of the last people on earth to
discover) Schindler's Ark is actually one of the most uplifting books you could hope to read. In spite of everything.
For the benefit of those wallowing in the same kind of ignorance as I was, Oskar Schindler is a man who offered, in Keneally's words, "an acre of safety in that square mileage of horror" and saved
more than 1,000 Jews from the death camps.
The Guardian Booker Blog, Sam Jordan, 15th May 2009 for full review click
About the author
Thomas Keneally was born in Sydney in 1935. He completed his schooling at various schools on the New South Wales north coast before commencing theological studies for the Catholic priesthood. He
abandoned this vocation in 1960 and turned to clerical work and teaching before publishing his first novel in 1964. Keneally has been short-listed for the Booker Prize on four occasions: in 1972 for
The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith, Gossip from the Forest in 1975, and Confederates in 1979. Thomas Keneally was awarded the Order of Australia in 1983 for his services to Australian Literature. He lives