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Paperback A Survivor's Tale Vol. II : And Here My Troubles Began Book

ISBN: 0679729771

ISBN13: 9780679729778

A Survivor's Tale Vol. II : And Here My Troubles Began

(Book #2 in the Maus Series)

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Book Overview

The second installment of the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel acclaimed as "the most affecting and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust" ( Wall Street Journal ) and "the first masterpiece in comic book history" ( The New Yorker ). A brutally moving work of art--widely hailed as the greatest graphic novel ever written-- Maus recounts the chilling experiences of the author's father during the Holocaust, with Jews drawn as wide-eyed...

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

An Excellent Book to Teach Children about History

How can a teacher teach in this age where moving images on a screen are so compelling, and cell phones interrupt everything? Part of the answer is that if you have a compelling graphic book, it will be a better teaching tool than anything on TV or the internet. I bought this book because it is real history, unfolding before the readers eyes. It's a story of a son's love for his father. It's a story about a political system which became a death machine, rolling across Europe. It's a story about things that really happened. Has anyone noticed this? We live in an age that is a book-buyer's market. If you are a reader, you can buy a man's life work for fractions of pennies on the dollar of it's true value. This book is excellent on every level that you look at it. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a personal account of history as it pertains to the USA and World War II.

A Complex and Moving Story of the Cost of Survival

Although Maus provides some useful insights into camp live, the best descriptions of that are to be found in the memoirs of Levi and Wiesel and in the "Genocide" segment of the BBC's World at War series. Maus is really about survival, its true costs, and about how the children of survivors and in a larger sense all of us are survivors of the Holocaust burdened by collective guilt and owing a debt to past and future generations. The graphic novel technique allows Spiegelman to tell several tales at once -- it's not just the Auschwitz narrative that is important, but the current effects of the experience on Spiegelman's father Vladek, mother Anja, and on Spiegelman himself. The book ends with Vladek exhausted, saying good night, in a Freudian slip, to "Richieu", Spiegelman's older brother who died in the Holocaust. This is a fitting image, capturing the direct loss of the Holocaust as well as the cost to guilt ridden survivors like Vladek and succeeding generations who could never quite measure up to the memory of the victims. The most striking images in the book are two photographs: one of the beautiful and angelic Richieu and another of Vladek as a young man in a crisp camp uniform. Vladek was a striking and charismatic figure, who survived on the basis of quick wits mixed in with considerable luck. Had there been no Holocaust, he would have been a fabulously successful industrialist and entrepreneur. But surviving the Holocaust cost him his previous life and reduces him, tragically, to a pathetic figure who guilts his son into seeing him by making up a heart attack, who drives his current wife crazy, who becomes a caricature of the miserly Jew whose cheapness is maddening. The most moving and redeeming quality of Vladek is his love for his first wife Anja, who also survived the Holocaust owing in considerable part to the help and resourcefulness of Vladek. Yet, she commits suicide 25 years later, much like Primo Levi. Vladek destroys her journals in a fit of grief, and it is this loss that haunts the book. The mystery of Anja's death is never addressed or resolved. This is a complex and moving work.

An unusual way to tell a story that must be told and retold

This book certainly takes one of the most interesting approaches to the telling of one of histories saddest and most important stories. Using cartoons, the main characters are portrayed as humans with the head of a mouse. The origin of this representation is an article in a Pomeranian(German) newspaper in the 1930's. That article railed against the American cartoon figure of Mickey Mouse and the Jewish brutalization of people. It is a story of a survivor of the holocaust who is now aged and wants his son to come visit him. This leads to a retelling of the old man's experiences of being rounded up as a Jew and forced into the concentration camps. With survival their primary thought, there were still acts of kindness although most were motivated by a spirit of self-preservation. While in the camps, he worked at many jobs, his survival was as much due to his skills as it was random chance. After the war, he eventually emigrated to American and lived a quiet life, although his experiences were a part of his daily life. It never ceases to amaze me how it is possible that there are people who still doubt the reality of the holocaust. Perhaps it is due to the fact that it is so hard to believe that a nation would simply round up millions of people and simply kill them. In any case, this book is yet another way to tell a true story that cannot be repeated too often or too forcefully. We must never forget this epic story of brutality towards people for no reason other than they were not of the right type.

The story continues... as does the legacy of the Holocaust

The second part of Art Spiegelman's graphic novel Maus picks up where the first part left off. His father Vladek and mother Anja are captured and sent to Auschwitz. However, things aren't well at home. Mala, Vladek's second wife, exasparated at Vladek's tight-fisted controlling ways, leaves him. Artie and his wife Francoise rush over to help him out and during this time, Artie continues the interviews with his father and thence into Maus II.The path of Artie understanding his father is smoother but at a cost. Following the success of Maus I, Spiegelman depicts a pile of dead Jewish bodies lying under the Artie's writing desk symbolizing how much the history his father has bled from that first volume has seeped into him. He is beginning to understand, but at the cost of emotionally and vicariously going through his father's experiences, for which he has sessions with Pavel, a Czech Jew psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor.Artie gets more perspective during these sessions with Pavel. He tells Pavel that as a child, he constantly argued with his father, who said that anything he did was nothing compared to surviving Auschwitz. Pavel refers to the psychological concept of transference: "Maybe your father needed to show that he was always right--that he could always SURVIVE-because he felt GUILTY about surviving. ... and he took his guilt on YOU, where it was safe... on the REAL survivor." The argument stands to reason. Vladek survived the death of so much family and friends, as well as the millions he never knew.We learn more of how Vladek survived Auschwitz. He teaches English to the Polish kapo, who expecting the Germans to lose the war, wants to get in good graces with the Americans. Vladek is thus given better food, a better fitting uniform, and the tip to stand at the far left of the line of prisoners during the labour call. Improved health increased chances of survival and a better mental state.Vladek has enough chutzpah in his tight-fisted but survivalist ways to exchange used groceries for new ones(!) While in the car waiting for him, Artie and Francoise discuss Vladek. Francoise says: "I'd rather kill myself than live through ... everything Vladek went through. It's a miracle he survived." Artie responds with "In some ways he didn't survive," which is key to the book's theme. Yet drastic saving is one way Vladek survived the war and camps. On the way back from the grocery store, we discover Vladek's racism towards blacks, an example of the victim becoming a victimizer.Maus is a must-read for a personal instead of abstract, statistical look at the Holocaust. It also brings up post-war genocide. Pavel's contention that people haven't changed rings poignantly. Despite the vow of "never again," genocide has repeatedly happened "yet again": e.g. the Cultural Revolution, the killing fields in Cambodia, the massacre in Rwanda, and the ethnic bloodshed in the former Yugoslavia. Perhaps for racial harmony to become a human

All together now -- a comic book?

When I realized that the Pulitzer-prize winning book was a comic book, I nearly put it back on the shelf. Oh sure, I love comics, even "serious" ones like Asterix and Obelix.But there seemed to be something sacrilegious about writing the story of Holocaust survivors in this genre. Like walking on a grave. Or touching a Torah scroll with bare hands.So I read it once, and again. An onion, this book is an onion. You peel away one layer only to discover another, and another, and you try in vain to remember what it is that keeps you from crying when you peel an onion.There is immense pain buried here, agony. The simplicity of Spiegelman's text reminds me a little of Isaac Babel, who wrote of the horrors of the Russian revolution in just as understated a tone. No exaggeration, no padding. After all, how can you pad such awful facts? How can you exaggerate evil?MAUS is an adult book. Yet bravehearted parents could likely use it as a read-aloud with older children, if they are willing to tackle honest questions and not duck reality. It could be a family experience to remember. If the adults are well equipped with raw courage.After all, Art Spiegelman was.

Moving

If literature is writing that changes us, then Maus I and II certainly qualify. Maus I brings us through the first act, leading us to the gates of Auschwitz before breaking for intermission. Here, now, is the terrifying second act, in which we enter those gates. Mr. Spiegelman continues his father's biography in the same high quality fashion, skillfully merging picture and text, often making his strongest statements in what he chooses not to say. Maus II is powerful, moving, final. With Maus I, it is a must read for anyone wanting to understand the Jewish experience under Hitler.
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