Schindler's List: A Review

Another rare instance in which I watched the movie prior to reading the book and I had the opposite effect as to what I had with Girl With a Pearl Earring when reading Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally. While with Girl With a Pearl Earring I found the book much more artistic and enriching, for Schindler's List I found the movie more artfully done and more emotionally fulfilling for me. However, I don't feel that this is at any fault of the author. He was not trying to write a deeply symbolic literary novel, rather the true accounts of the the Schindlerjuden (Schindler's Jews) as told by them and researched by Keneally. Schindler's List was a novel filled with facts, although it is classified as fiction since Keneally recreated many conversations according to his best knowledge. While it felt a bit dry to me at first, I'm not one who typically finds biography type books interesting, the facts grew increasingly interesting, detailed and disturbing and my interest was hooked.

If you want a in depth look into the politics of the Nazi officers, as in the bribing and the profit made by many of the Nazi officers, as well as an inspirational story of a man who did all he could do within his means to combat the evil of his time, then Schindler's List will satisfy those needs. The novel aims to document all the ways that Schindler worked to save as many people as he could during the Holocaust. It does not paint Schindler as a perfect man, but rather a flawed, imperfect man who cheated continuously on his pious wife, but who also refused to turn his back on one of the most atrocious crimes against humanity of all time. He is a hero frankly because he was just a man doing everything in his capacity and he was willing to sacrifice his wealth and his life if necessary to do so.

By the end of the book I was attached to the characters and Schindler and was finally feeling the emotional pull that the movie had invoked throughout. While the book isn't written in the descriptive manner that usually pulls the emotions from me, the facts are strong enough to stand on their own and to pull the feelings from your soul. Overall, Schindler's List is a strong and educational read. Something I think everybody should read because although I've read many fiction novels about The Holocaust, I learned more about it than with any other book while reading Schindler's List.


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