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Night is an unmistakably autobiographical account of the author's own gruesome experiences in Nazi Germany's death camps. Told through the eyes of 14-year-old Eliezer, the tragic fate of the Jews from the little town of Sighet unfolds with a heart-wrenching inevitability. Even as they are stuffed into cattle cars bound for Auschwitz, the townspeople refuse to believe rumors of anti-Semitic atrocities. Not until they are marched toward the blazing crematory at the camp's "reception center" does the terrible truth sink in.
Recounting the evils at Auschwitz and Buchenwald, Wiesel's enduring classic of Holocaust literature raises questions of continuing significance for all future generations: How could man commit these horrors, and could such an evil ever be repeated?
"[A] slim volume of terrifying power." (The New York Times)
I was naturally very moved by this well-crafted and devastating book It’s commendable for handling such an unwieldy topic with great economy. It uses relatively few though well-chosen words to convey mind boggling ideas and experiences. The whole tale is told in just about four hours. By the end of those four hours however you’ll feel as if you’d been taken to Auschwitz and Buchenwald and experienced them yourself.
It’s hard to believe how profoundly significant events like this can be forgotten. But over time even the most unbelievable outrages fade and grow quiet as they recede into the past. I agree with other reviewers that it’s important that young people hear these stories and understand that the horrible extents to which men and women will go to be inhuman to their fellow men and women.
George Guidall is one of my favourite narrators and a fabulous choice for this book (or any with an Eastern European angle, for that matter).
I really enjoyed the author’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech and the forward to the revised English edition of the book, which are included at the end of the book. These were moving and relevant, too. I’m glad there were added.
PS: I won’t comment on events involving the author later in his life except to say that they sadly seem to be at odds with the core sentiments of this book. Age does funny things to us all, I guess.
PPS: A family friend, who would have been about the same age as the author, was in the same camps (except the first one, Buna?) and while listening a shiver went up my spine when I thought of him there experiencing what the author experienced.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
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This book is raw, and sadly very real. The thought of some of the things described in this book makes me cringe, and yet I would not hesitate to recommend this book as required reading for everyone. It reminds us of what men are capable of doing and the undying strength of the human spirit. <br/>The book is a history of one mans (then a boy) journey into Auschwitz-Birkenau. A journey that VERY few lived to tell about. Elie Wiesel has lived an inspirational life (he's still alive) and has written several other books. I encourage anyone who has the time to take a minute and Google him - he's truly an amazing man. <br/>After finishing the book, I told my wife some of the things I had learned. She stopped me before I could finish - it was too graphic. And it is graphic, and it is real. But it's my opinion that we need to realize that this really happened. We all know that millions of people were killed in these concentration camps, but what we sometimes forget is that these were real life people, each an individual with a story of their own. It's books like this that bring some of those individuals back to life. <br/><br/>
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
It is not easy to listen to someone witnessing about the dark side of humankind. Yet, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Eliezer Wiesel tells his story as a young Jewish boy of 15, later 16 years going through Nazi hell in Auschwitz. He tells it with the force of plainness and naked honesty that grips and doesn't want to let go. 'Night' is according to Wiesel the key with which all his other works needs to be read and understood.
This 'Recorded Books' audio book is an excellent production of a new translation of the French text of 'Night' prepared by Marion Wiesel, Elie's wife. He explains that she knows him the best and has a good feeling for how he thinks and feels. Indeed she has done a marvellous job with the translation.
George Guidall's narration adds to the quality and listening experience of the book. You might think that it is the author himself telling the story of the concentration camps. He brings the terror of the Second World War from a Jewish perspective to life.
The whole production is of such a high quality that you will have to nit pick to find something out of place. While it is not a very long audio book, it is worth every penny! I strongly recommend this autobiographical sketch of inner struggle and coming to grips with a dark reality that warns and caution humankind of its darkside.
38 of 40 people found this review helpful
This book totally affected me. I don't remember ever being so physically and emotionally caught up in any book like I was with this one. I cried, I thought about it throughout the day, I dreamt about it in the night. Elie Wiesel wrote the most haunting account of his young life. From being ripped from his home to being separated from his mother and sister to caring and feeling responsible for his father in his journey from concentration camp to concentration camp. It shows the depths of human despair and the height of out of control power.
Narrator George Guidall brings life to the book. He was perfect. Listening to this book instead of reading it literally brought Elie Wiesel right into your heart. Mr. Guidall had the inflection, pain and weariness in his voice that really brought it home. He is obviously familiar with some of the important Jewish prayers like Kaddish (the prayer said for the dead). He ripped out my heart when he began to recite it.
I can't say enough about the importance of this book. Please listen to it. It is essential to use the lessons you will learn in the book to make you a better person. You won't be the same after this one.
107 of 116 people found this review helpful
I am almost speechless. This is one of those times when you are so emotionally affected that words can not explain. I believe this is required reading in some schools and I applaud those schools. I would rather read horror as fiction, so I can tell myself that it is fiction. This is true, which makes the horror hard to bare. Everyone should read a non-fiction book about the Holocaust, Apartheid, slavery, war, or torture, just to keep them grounded about once a year. We need to be reminded and our young people need to learn and not forget.
20 of 21 people found this review helpful
On my second time through this book. After reading (and re-reading) The rise and fall of the third Reich by WIlliam Shirer I wanted even more information on this blighted page in our human history. Such a sureal unfolding of genicide when you read how one survivor came back to the author's village and railed against the Nazis and begged his fellow jews to leave while they could. No one listened to him until it was too late.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful
Highly acclaimed author Elie Weisel recounts his personal account of the Holocaust from his youth in Siget to the bowels of Hell in the concentration camps. His first hand account is an excellent personalization of horrors experienced by 6 million Jews - a number that is impossible to grasp - and allows the reader to intimately share the experience and thoughts of a Holocaust survivor.
Night is also finely written - yet not too overwelming in language or length.
Should be required reading for all High School students - of all races.
23 of 25 people found this review helpful
I bought this book the week before I visited Auschwitz. Listening to it as I sat on the train--staring out the window into the bleak, snow-covered Polish countryside--was incredibly emotional. That experience is permanently etched into my memory.
Of course, even if you are not on your way to visit a concentration camp, the story needs to be heard. This audiobook is the way to hear it.
The narrator is perfect. The story is touching, memorable and chilling. A definite must-listen.
23 of 25 people found this review helpful
This book is very well written and told. The author is able to give you just a glimpse of the pain he and others suffered at the hands of evil rulers, evil followers and even persecuted Jews in Nazi Germany. You realize how easy it can be for men to be broken and for animal nature to kick in and take over. You learn how one's soul can be broken to a point that you wonder how they can ever come back, yet even as broken down as they were, they continued to fight to live each day in a horrible hell. It brings across the point of how easy people choose to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that life is just fine, that human beings could never be so cruel to other human beings and how pathetic we can be when we choose to ignore another's plight because we just don't want to get involved. It makes you think twice about who you are and what you stand for and it breaks your heart to know that the persecuted people hoped over and over that someone would come to help them and yet we failed them for so long. This book is so applicable in today's times and should help to awaken anyone questioning human suffering in other countries and brings across the point that we cannot stand idly by while others in the world are suffering persecution at the hands of evil rulers and terrorists.
30 of 33 people found this review helpful
What is the lasting impact on a 15 year old son who must watch and watch-over his aging father as they struggle to just survive, day by day, the Nazi death camps of WWII. He must watch his father as he is beaten, kicked and force marched from camp to camp during freezing winters barely subsisting on starvation rations.
The son, Eliezer, is a devoted Orthodox Jew pursuing his religious studies, already faltering because of the roundups of Jewish men, including Rabbinical teachers. After years of increasing brutalities and deprivations in their villages and ghettos, the final journeys to the camps begin. Wiesei, a holocaust survivor himself, describes the almost unbelievable torments and tortures, the humiliations and degradations and the killings of women, children and the aged.
He ponders the universal question of man’s inhumanity to man. He addresses the inevitable questions the survivors must confront: How to react toward his former masters; Is revenge-in-kind acceptable; Why did I survive and my family did not?
Elie Wiesel was awarded a Pulitzer Peace Prize and a Congressional Gold Medal for his activities after the war. NIGHT is, in part, autobiographical. Wiesel was a Holocaust survivor. Not all of his family survived.
The writing is clear and graphic. The story is suspenseful and compelling.
This is not light reading. But the events did happen and they must never be forgotten.
20 of 22 people found this review helpful
Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, Israeli author and 1986 Nobel Peace Prizewinner, presents to us a compelling, haunting and disturbing story.
Beautifully written, autobiographical, this personal narrative reflects the views of a 14 year-old boy torn from his home and community in Transylvania in the Second World War. He is traumatised by his separation from his mother and little sister, witnessing their subsequent consumption by Nazi fires and vengeance. Through one traumatising experience to the next, he manages, by a sinew at times, to retain his link with his father, surviving Auschwitz and Buchenwald... separated in the end by death and shame.
We follow the story of a Jewish community which could not contemplate the atrocities they would experience. They could not imagine the way in which the communities in which they were integrated would allow them to be expelled to concentration camps and annihilation. They could not foresee what it would be like to be marched out of their homes. "The town seemed deserted, but behind the shutters, our friends of yesterday were probably waiting for the moment when they could loot our homes".
They could not foresee the railway trucks full of Jews, the impact of scarcity and hunger and uncertainty on people's relationships. They could not have planned for the few hours they were given before they were expelled from their homes, burying valuable possessions under the floor-boards hoping one day, but never able, to reclaim their possessions. They could not imagine the cruelty, the violence, the humilation, the selection processes, the death factories, the fires, the trains, the labour camps, the public hangings, the beatings and the torture.
Elie wanders why and whether this is allowed to happen in the 20th century. He imagines the scenes of expulsions in the Inquisition, but not now when the whole world knew what was happening. And yet, the silence, the denials, and the lack of response prevailed.
"The ghetto was ruled by neither German nor Jew" he writes. "It was ruled ... by delusion".
Elie loses his trust in God and refuses to accept the existence of an all-knowing and all-good god who allows such barbarity to persist. We see stories of trust and reliability, love and warmth, tenderness and sacrifice. Wiesel writes beautifully and at times sparsely: "The synagogue resembled a railway station ... baggage and tears".
The recording contains additional material - Elie Wiesel's impressive Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech; his revised preface and discussion of why he wrote this book; and a valuable review of the book and its importance by Francois Mauriac, the French author who first encouraged Elie Wiesel to publish and assisted him after many failures, in getting into press.
The book is beautifully written, translated by his wife, and movingly read by George Guidall. Around three hours long it is a compelling and unforgettable audience with Elie Wiesel: haunting, disturbing, moving, human, insightful and lingering in the memory.
"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp that turned my life into one long night, seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the small faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky. Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence that deprived me for all eternity of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my god and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes. Never shall I forget those things even were I condemned to live as long as god himself"
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
moving to the point of tears. we all know the stories but this personal account is heartrending and unmissable
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Spellbinding, tragic, harrowing, beautifully written and read. Some valuable extra material at the end helps put it into a context (if that's possible)
This is an absolutely heartbreaking recollection of crimes against the Jews during WWII. My only "criticism" is not against the excellent reading by the narrator, but as the story is told as per the eyes of a 15 year old, the aged voice of the narrator distracted a bit. The world should be learn from the horrors of the second world war, but we can see we haven't turning a blind eye to genocide around the world happening to peoples unimportant to the west or within own regions. "Never again" rings hollow and the "easy" resettlement isn't the answer.