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The Complete Maus

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Combined for the first time here are Maus I: A Survivor's Tale and Maus II - the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler's Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation of survival - and how the Combined for the first time here are Maus I: A Survivor's Tale and Maus II - the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his


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Combined for the first time here are Maus I: A Survivor's Tale and Maus II - the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler's Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation of survival - and how the Combined for the first time here are Maus I: A Survivor's Tale and Maus II - the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler's Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation of survival - and how the children of survivors are in their own way affected by the trials of their parents. A contemporary classic of immeasurable significance.

20 review for The Complete Maus

  1. 4 out of 5

    Leonard Gaya

    The young Adolf Hitler applied twice for admission to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, and each time was rejected. One may dream, though: had he been successful, he might have had a different fate, and, as a result, Europe’s history might have taken some other shape… Sixty years later, on another continent, the young Art Spiegelman applied to the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan and passed the exam. His parents, Vladek and Anja Spiegelman, were two Jews from Poland who survived thro The young Adolf Hitler applied twice for admission to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, and each time was rejected. One may dream, though: had he been successful, he might have had a different fate, and, as a result, Europe’s history might have taken some other shape… Sixty years later, on another continent, the young Art Spiegelman applied to the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan and passed the exam. His parents, Vladek and Anja Spiegelman, were two Jews from Poland who survived through the Nazi ghetto of Sosnowiec and the extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Maus, a massive graphic novel, thirteen years in the making, depicts the complicated relationship between Art and his father, the very process of creating Maus, and, in an interlocked way, Vladek’s experience, living in Poland during the rise and fall of the Third Reich.In those days, Hollywood was producing some of its most celebrated films, and Mickey Mouse was quickly becoming the cutest little mascot on the silver screen. At that very same moment, the Allied troops carried movie cameras into the concentration camps. The films that remain from that time —the ones shown during the Nuremberg trial — are tough to watch, haunting, almost impossible to put into words. Art Spiegelman has managed to blend both pictures (Disney and the Red Army file footage) poetically, through flat, condensed and straightforward drawings. His old father, a bit soft in the head and speaking in a funny broken English, provides a deeply personal, honest, at times slightly Kafkaesque or Chaplinesque account of these dreadful years, of that constant fear and deprivation, such that we could make some sense of this inhuman, world-changing experience.There’s a quote by Samuel Beckett somewhere in this book: “Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness”. This visual masterpiece is a refutation of this sentence. And it has left me both moved and dumbfounded.Edit: Watched Roman Polanski's film The Pianist, based on Wladyslaw Szpilman’s harrowing experience, during the war, in the Warsaw Ghetto. Both Maus and Polanski’s movie share this sense of gradually rising horror and convey the same utter stupefaction.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alejandro

    Wonderful example of the power of a graphic novel! This is the “Complete” edition of “Maus: A Survivor’s Tale” collecting both parts: “My Father Bleeds History” and “And Here My Troubles Began”. OF MAUS AND MEN But these damn bugs are eating me alive! While it took long time of finally reading Maus,......I knew that it was a graphic novel referring about the Jew Holocaust, but using mice (Jews) and cats (Nazis) as the characters,......and even while I was sure that it will be a crude tel Wonderful example of the power of a graphic novel! This is the “Complete” edition of “Maus: A Survivor’s Tale” collecting both parts: “My Father Bleeds History” and “And Here My Troubles Began”. OF MAUS AND MEN But these damn bugs are eating me alive! While it took long time of finally reading Maus,......I knew that it was a graphic novel referring about the Jew Holocaust, but using mice (Jews) and cats (Nazis) as the characters,......and even while I was sure that it will be a crude telling, I didn’t expect that the only difference between “reality” and this graphic novel would be the choice of using “animals” as the characters in the story.I mean, while I agree that Jew Holocaust isn’t a humorous matter, I supposed that it would be some “imaginative” use of places, tools, terms, etc… taking in account that the story was full of mice, cats and even pigs (with some frog or dog, here and there).Actually, I don’t know why using “animals” as characters if everything else in the story will be keep as it happened. Even there are some odd moments of a “female mouse person” scared due the presence of regular rats.Again, the Jew Holocaust is not a matter to take in comical way, but then, I think that the graphic novel could plainly use human beings (not necessarily too realistic, some cartoon style could work) and the graphic novel will be the same as good, the same as relevant.You know, as in the movie Life is Beautiful where the horrors of the Holocaust are there, but still there is space for some humorous moments, that they help as tension relief without meaning any disrespect to the tragic historic event.However, definitely the graphic format of this story makes possible for readers to be witness from the begining until the end (and even further) of the whole tragic and cruel process of what Jews endured (and not many were able to get out alive from it) during the World War II. A titanic graphic story constructed during years of artistic effort to show, with detail and authenticity, one of the darkest episodes of human history. LET MAUS WHO IS WITHOUT SIN... Friends? Your friends?... If you lock them together in a room with no food for a week… then you could see what it is, friends! The success of Maus obviously can tied to the reason of being a Jew Holocaust’s story, and almost any suc story receive a wide positive acceptance, but I think that what makes different Maus from many of similar stories is its bold honesty.Here, you won’t have a partial view of the tragic event or spotless characters.Obviously Nazis and Polish collaborators/sympathizers are shown doing their evil stuff, BUT also you will watch how Jews behaved with their own, robbing food from their fellow people, not doing any favor unless get paid with something (gold, food, cigarrettes, etc…), true, it was an extreme situation, but usually movies and other books don’t hesitate to show Nazi’s inhuman actions, but you have to realize that those were prisons, and life in prisons is tough and people will lose any humanity from them in the urge to survive.Also, Art Spiegelman, the author, was bold showing how hard was to live with his father, Vladek Spielgelman (the main character in the Holocaust parts), Vladek wasn’t a saint (and after all, how many of us really is?) with not only crazy habits but even racist thinking against afro-american people. Art Spiegelman is a character in the story too, and while he is a whole better as person than his father, he doesn’t portrait himself as a saint and you can appreciate how even at some moments, he does some kinda unfair actions, since after all, he is human too. His family is as disfunctional as others, being Holocaust’s survivors didn’t turn it magically into “Norman Rockwell paintings”.Anybody can create perfect heroes, only true writers are able to show the dark moments of his/her own family, in the middle of the storytelling of a book.In this way, with boldness and courage, Maus exposes us with a harsh truth: Survivors from a war aren’t necessarily good people, saved by their faith or spared due the purity of their souls. No. Survivors from a war (in most cases) is just because plain luck. Even some survivors got such bad luck of dying after the war ended and by non-military personnel. War is a crazy thing (any war) and if you try to get some logic out of it,......you will end as crazy as it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    It didn’t dawn on me until later that this brilliant piece of graphic artistry and fiction is actually a very clever allegory. On the face of it, we’re led to believe that it’s a story of the terrible suffering perpetrated by the Nazis against the Jews in Poland and throughout Europe. But if you scratch beneath the surface, I think you’ll find that this particular holocaust story was made to symbolize something more pervasive and endemic. I speak of the horrific violence that persists to this da It didn’t dawn on me until later that this brilliant piece of graphic artistry and fiction is actually a very clever allegory. On the face of it, we’re led to believe that it’s a story of the terrible suffering perpetrated by the Nazis against the Jews in Poland and throughout Europe. But if you scratch beneath the surface, I think you’ll find that this particular holocaust story was made to symbolize something more pervasive and endemic. I speak of the horrific violence that persists to this day; that inflicted by cats on defenseless mice. Perhaps the most obvious clue that this is, in truth, the intended theme lies in the title itself: Maus. For those of you unfamiliar with German, this is their word for mouse. Beyond that, when you look carefully at the drawings, you see that the goose-steppers have distinctly feline features, while the persecuted Jews in the ghettos and camps have rodent-like proboscides and disproportionately small eyes. Cat on mouse violence is so old and pervasive that, in a way, we’ve become desensitized to it. Countless depictions of it in the arts have made it a stale, clichéd topic; almost cartoonish at times. That’s why I thought it was particularly effective to tell the story allegorically. When seen through the lens of the Jewish experience, and with Spiegelman’s masterstroke of personalizing the story by laying bare the difficult relationship he had with his father (the survivor), the residuum of cat brutality that can literally tear mice families apart is brought home to us in a very different way.Original: Mar 9, 2012------------------------Addendum: Aug 23, 2013This still ranks as my top graphic novel of all time, but I just finished Chris Ware's Building Stories which gives it a pretty good run for the money. The suffering in that one may not be as extreme, but it's every bit as real.

  4. 4 out of 5

    F

    LOVE

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lea

    Such a creative and innovative way to write a memoir. Loved the animal metaphor with mice and cats but evermore I adored the writer's honesty about his father's personality and its effects on his mental health. Even though his father was a Holocaust survivor, even before such trauma it is very likely he had what we call personality disorder, and the graphic novel does the raw unpacking of emotional pressure that Spiegelman grew up with having the kind a father he had; rigid, adamant, neurotic, d Such a creative and innovative way to write a memoir. Loved the animal metaphor with mice and cats but evermore I adored the writer's honesty about his father's personality and its effects on his mental health. Even though his father was a Holocaust survivor, even before such trauma it is very likely he had what we call personality disorder, and the graphic novel does the raw unpacking of emotional pressure that Spiegelman grew up with having the kind a father he had; rigid, adamant, neurotic, demanding, stingy, always deeply unsatisfied. Spiegelman has a clear distinction of what is an aftermath of the trauma and what were his father's personality traits even before tragic events. The reflection on his relationship with his father and the way it affected him in later life I find as being as valuable part of the story as the recollection of his father's memories of the Holocaust. The world isn't black and white and victims in one situation can be the same people that deeply hurt others. This graphic novel shows the transgenerational suffering, of both Arts parents and him as their child, dealing with his mother's mental illness (view spoiler)[(and later suicide) (hide spoiler)] and his father's personality being even more distorted as a consequence of trauma. I applaud Art for his courage to speak about these sensitive subjects and hope that writing his father's memoir with autobiographical elements had a cathartic effect for him.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Maus was more than I expected. I knew it would be about World War II and the Holocaust with the charaters being anthropomorphic mice, cats, pigs, dogs, etc. What I didn't realize was it would expand even farther in to the specific lives of the Spiegelmans before, during, and after the war.Throughout the book the artist/author is a featured character struggling with his curmudgeonly father while he tries to document the story of his father's time in 1930s and 40s Poland and Germany. His experienc Maus was more than I expected. I knew it would be about World War II and the Holocaust with the charaters being anthropomorphic mice, cats, pigs, dogs, etc. What I didn't realize was it would expand even farther in to the specific lives of the Spiegelmans before, during, and after the war.Throughout the book the artist/author is a featured character struggling with his curmudgeonly father while he tries to document the story of his father's time in 1930s and 40s Poland and Germany. His experiences with his father are as much a part of the book as the stories he is trying to document.Another viewpoint of life under Nazi oppression is always riviting. I have read and seen both fiction and non-fiction accounts of life during WWII. I have been to the Dachau concentration camp. These stories are important, but are not always easy to read or tell. I applaud Spiegelman for this creative approach that hopefully brings these stories to those who might not be inclined to read a big novel or watch a documentary.Basically everyone should read this or at least some stories of the war. They say those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Fabian {Councillor}

    Until just a few weeks ago, the only reason for why I read graphic novels now and then was because of people's constant recommendations about the beauty and the value of those kinds of books. I will be honest; I am guilty of never believing those words. Most likely did I read graphic novels which didn't suit my personal tastes, but Art Spiegelman was capable of shattering my expectations and completely stunning me with the art of his writing and his illustrations.But let's start at the beginning Until just a few weeks ago, the only reason for why I read graphic novels now and then was because of people's constant recommendations about the beauty and the value of those kinds of books. I will be honest; I am guilty of never believing those words. Most likely did I read graphic novels which didn't suit my personal tastes, but Art Spiegelman was capable of shattering my expectations and completely stunning me with the art of his writing and his illustrations.But let's start at the beginning. Maus is a collection of two graphic novels with autobiographical background about the author, Art Spiegelman, and his father's recollections about his experiences in the Second World War. Spiegelman constantly switches between present and past, between the time when he writes down what his father tells him and the time when all the horrible events in the concentration camps took place. But he doesn't only include information about his father Vladek Spiegelman's tale of survival; the personal and very conflicted relationship between Art and Vladek also turns out to be a central part of the story, including controversy about Vladek's second wife and Art's personal approach to the success he had as an author when the first installment in his series of graphic novels was published.Obviously, memoirs or autobiographies always include potential to let their author shine in a bright light, to let them appear heroic and exemplary. You have to rely on what the author tells you about himself and the people surrounding him, on which layers of his own character he presents. Art Spiegelman did so in a very convincing way, pointing out not only the horrible crimes which were committed during the Nazi period, but also the flaws he and his father had themselves, as human beings with all their faults and mistakes. Art and his father appear in such a realistic way that you can't help but care for them; something which never happened to me before in a book with autobiographical content. Of course, some parts of the novels were shocking, which you need to expect before reading something about such an important subject. Feelings of despair and fear overshadowed Vladek Spiegelman's recollections of his experiences during the Second World War, from his family's decline and his marriage to his transport to Auschwitz.Perhaps the most memorable thing about those graphic novels is the way Art Spiegelman used animal heads in the place of recognizable human ones. The completely black-and-white illustrations vividly underline the feelings Spiegelman wanted to express with his books. And still now, almost two months after finishing them, am I stunned.Do I need to mention that I'd recommend these graphic novels to everyone?

  8. 5 out of 5

    Baba

    Spiegelman winning a Pulitzer Prize (and Guggenheim Fellowship) for this work, was a first for a graphic novel. Spiegelman captures the story of his Polish Jewish father's life before and after the second world war, but it could be said as importantly gives episodic accounts about his relationship with his father as he recorded his history; and as a result gave examples of the reality of how the horrors of occupied Europe and Auschwitz not only impacted on the survivors, but also their children' Spiegelman winning a Pulitzer Prize (and Guggenheim Fellowship) for this work, was a first for a graphic novel. Spiegelman captures the story of his Polish Jewish father's life before and after the second world war, but it could be said as importantly gives episodic accounts about his relationship with his father as he recorded his history; and as a result gave examples of the reality of how the horrors of occupied Europe and Auschwitz not only impacted on the survivors, but also their children's lives. A powerful book, made strangely with more impact because all the Jews are portrayed as mice, the Germans' cats, Poles' pigs, Americans' as dogs etc. 9 out of 12.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Hamad

    This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷Actual Rating: 3.5 stars💉 This cover has been on my radar for a looooong time and it usually is on the most bought books in my country when I check the online bookstores. I am not a fan of history and so I avoided it for the longest time possible. A book I was reading did mention that it was a graphic novel about Jew people and what they went through and I became interested and found myself a copy!💉 I like what the author did, he is very smart, Jew peop This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷Actual Rating: 3.5 stars💉 This cover has been on my radar for a looooong time and it usually is on the most bought books in my country when I check the online bookstores. I am not a fan of history and so I avoided it for the longest time possible. A book I was reading did mention that it was a graphic novel about Jew people and what they went through and I became interested and found myself a copy!💉 I like what the author did, he is very smart, Jew people are the mice and the Germans are the cats and this is a sneaky way to reduce tension! The author tells us what happened IRL through his father and the book is divided into 2 parts. I loved how the author stayed genuine and showed us positives and negatives and he was not biased! I think this rawness and honesty added a lot to the story.💉 The graphics were not the best and there was much dialogue and it was a bit crammed and a bit hard to read! But at the end of the say, I learned from this book more than years in school did to me!You can get more books from Book Depository

  10. 4 out of 5

    Svetlana

    “The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human.” - Adolf HitlerThis a graphic novel told from two timelines. In the narrative present, Art Spiegelman (author) is interviewing his father Vladek about his experiences as a Polish Jew and a Holocaust survivor. The narrative past depicts these very experiences from the mid 1930s to the end of the Holocaust in 1945. Spiegelman has utilised different species of animals to portray different nationalities and races - Jews as mice, Germans a “The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human.” - Adolf HitlerThis a graphic novel told from two timelines. In the narrative present, Art Spiegelman (author) is interviewing his father Vladek about his experiences as a Polish Jew and a Holocaust survivor. The narrative past depicts these very experiences from the mid 1930s to the end of the Holocaust in 1945. Spiegelman has utilised different species of animals to portray different nationalities and races - Jews as mice, Germans as cats, Poles as pigs and French as frogs.I was actually inspired to read this after visiting a war museum with my friend. Though I had a lot of fun that day, the Holocaust Exhibition was one of the most harrowing and tragic things I have ever seen. During the exhibition, I realised how ignorant I had been to the extent of brutality, inhumanity and pain that was inflicted on Jews during WW2. “And we came here to the concentration camp Auschwitz. And we knew that from here we will not come out anymore... We knew the stories - that they will gas us and throw us in the ovens. This was 1944... we knew everything. And here we were.” Maus is an incredible tale that has so much to give to its reader. It was both insightful and addictive with its illustrations and style of storytelling. It allows the reader to gain a deeper understanding of how the camps were run and what it was like for the prisoners. I am so glad that this is how Mr. Spiegelman chose to write his father’s story and the story of those who didn’t live to tell it. “The biggest pile of bodies lay right next to the door where they tried to get out.” (from the gas chambers)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I feel like anything I could say about this book is going to sound woefully inadequate, but I guess I'll give it a shot anyway. Maus had obviously been on my radar for ages as a critical piece of Holocaust literature as well as being the only graphic novel to ever win the Pulitzer Prize, so I was certainly expecting it to be good, but I don't think anything could have prepared me for how utterly harrowing of a read this ended up being. And again, yes, I did know that its subject matter was the H I feel like anything I could say about this book is going to sound woefully inadequate, but I guess I'll give it a shot anyway. Maus had obviously been on my radar for ages as a critical piece of Holocaust literature as well as being the only graphic novel to ever win the Pulitzer Prize, so I was certainly expecting it to be good, but I don't think anything could have prepared me for how utterly harrowing of a read this ended up being. And again, yes, I did know that its subject matter was the Holocaust, but I also knew that Spiegelman made the famous stylistic decision to depict Jews as mice and Nazis as cats in this book, so I guess I was expecting something altogether more abstract? Instead it's a rather literal depiction of Spiegelman's father's experiences throughout WWII, culminating in his release from Auschwitz in 1945.There's also an added dimension where Spiegelman chooses to depict the scenes in which he interviewed his father and came to hear these stories. In this present-day timeline we learn about Spiegelman's complex relationship with his father, and all the tension and resentment that's built up between them through the years, often due to the fact that his father's life was shaped so significantly by this atrocious thing that Spiegelman struggles to make sense of, as he was born after the end of the war. Spiegelman also lost his mother to suicide decades earlier, a tragic event from which his father had never fully recovered, though he did go on to remarry. In one particularly devastating panel, Spiegelman laments to his wife that he wishes he could have been in Auschwitz with his parents so he could understand what they had to go through, so he could bridge that gap between generations. That's this book in a nutshell: raw, unfiltered, uncompromising. It takes a strong stomach to get through this, and I think I spent the better part of it in tears, but if you're able to read this, I cannot recommend it highly enough. This is the best graphic novel I've read, the best piece of Holocaust literature that I've read, and strangely enough, the best love story that I've read. The final panel shattered me.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jon Nakapalau

    One of the most influential literary works ever...in or out of comics.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kat Kennedy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Reading this book was like having an echo of a conversation with my husband's grandfather. Dziadek could be Vladek's twin brother if any of Vladek's poor family had survived the war.This book's most horrifying moment came, for me, at the loss of their two year old son, Richeu. I tried to imagine a world where my decision to keep my son with me and hope for a better future, cost him his life and considered how I would live with that for the rest of my life.I don't have the answer to that. All I k Reading this book was like having an echo of a conversation with my husband's grandfather. Dziadek could be Vladek's twin brother if any of Vladek's poor family had survived the war.This book's most horrifying moment came, for me, at the loss of their two year old son, Richeu. I tried to imagine a world where my decision to keep my son with me and hope for a better future, cost him his life and considered how I would live with that for the rest of my life.I don't have the answer to that. All I know is that my son got away with a helluva lot more bad behaviour that day then he normally would.I have no commentary to make on the war, the holocaust, the devestation or destruction because I have nothing intelligent or worthwhile to add other than the recognition that the crimes committed there were truly horrifying and disgusting.Though I hardly want to consider the type of human being I would be if I didn't feel that way.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    THE COMPLETE MAUS is, to date, the hardest, most emotionally draining novel I have read in my adult life. It was a heart-wrenching, but really necessary read for me, and I’m proud of myself for deciding to read something so far outside my comfort zone (I tend to shy away from both history and memoir/true story novels).The book is a story within a story. Art shows himself interviewing his father, Vladek, and his time spent with his father for part of this book, and the rest of the story is Vladek THE COMPLETE MAUS is, to date, the hardest, most emotionally draining novel I have read in my adult life. It was a heart-wrenching, but really necessary read for me, and I’m proud of myself for deciding to read something so far outside my comfort zone (I tend to shy away from both history and memoir/true story novels).The book is a story within a story. Art shows himself interviewing his father, Vladek, and his time spent with his father for part of this book, and the rest of the story is Vladek's experiences and survival of Auschwitz and how he survived throughout all of the invasion of Poland by Germany and the Nazis. Both sides shown in this felt completely honest and real.The art, while definitely not my favorite style, worked incredibly well for this story. There were times where it was just the art in panels, and I really felt like those were some of the stronger panels. The art was black and white, thick lines, and just overall felt really heavy. Most of the time, the panels felt really cramped, but I have a feeling this was intentional.I absolutely loved Art Spiegelman’s decision to depict the different people within this story as animals (Mice=the Jewish people, Pigs=the Polish people, and Cats=the Germans/Nazis). Also intentional, and something I really appreciated, was how honest and true to Vladek’s narration Art Spiegelman seemed to stay. In the book, you find out that Art recorded his father’s story, and I think he wrote Vladek’s words verbatim. There were times where the sentence structures were just a little off, and I could hear Vladek's voice so strongly during those times. It just really added another depth to this book.I wasn’t able to read this in one sitting and I also wasn’t able to pick up another book while taking a break from THE COMPLETE MAUS. But I’m really OK with that. I was able to really digest and contemplate on what I was reading, and I think taking my time helped me understand and fully immerse myself in Vladek’s experiences. If you decide to read this, just know that it didn’t seem like Vladek held back telling Art anything that he experienced. All the pain and loss that he went through at the hands of the Nazis was extremely haunting to read about. Vladek’s story will definitely stick with me for the rest of my life.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kirk

    This was our second book in the local library's discussion of Jewish graphic novels. It is, of course, the most famous and most celebrated exemplar of the genre (if you don't count the superhero stuff). What is amazing about the book is the emotional resonance Spiegelman manages to pack into his panels. In telling the story of his father's experience in the Holocaust, the author refuses to sentimentalize or pander. The most striking innovation is the use of mice for Jews, an appropriation of the This was our second book in the local library's discussion of Jewish graphic novels. It is, of course, the most famous and most celebrated exemplar of the genre (if you don't count the superhero stuff). What is amazing about the book is the emotional resonance Spiegelman manages to pack into his panels. In telling the story of his father's experience in the Holocaust, the author refuses to sentimentalize or pander. The most striking innovation is the use of mice for Jews, an appropriation of the racist anti-Semitism of vermin found throughout German propaganda. Other startling moments: the insertion of one of Spiegelman's early comic books to illustrate the lingering grief of his mother's suicide (he was barely 20 when she took her life), and the occasional use of a real picture---Spiegelman's father in his Auschwitz uniform on the final page---to break the continuity of the drawings. Best of all are the characterizations: Spiegelman depicts himself (Artie) as ambivalent but committed to his father, while Vladek is aloof, intense, but ultimately heroic for the mere fact of his survival. A classic, through and through.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    This is not an easy graphic novel to read. The illustrations are beautiful, but the simple black and white style reminds the reader that the subject matter is one of the darkest periods of modern history. This very personal glimpse into the horrors of the Holocaust touch on many complex emotions: loyalty, fear, survivor’s guilt, anger…Art Spiegelman’s father Vladek is a Holocaust survivor, who grew up and lived in Poland, was drafted into the Polish army, lived in a P.O.W. camp, the Jewish ghett This is not an easy graphic novel to read. The illustrations are beautiful, but the simple black and white style reminds the reader that the subject matter is one of the darkest periods of modern history. This very personal glimpse into the horrors of the Holocaust touch on many complex emotions: loyalty, fear, survivor’s guilt, anger…Art Spiegelman’s father Vladek is a Holocaust survivor, who grew up and lived in Poland, was drafted into the Polish army, lived in a P.O.W. camp, the Jewish ghettos, was eventually sent to Auschwitz and saw countless family members and friends die before the end of the war and his eventual relocation in America. The graphic novel tells the story of Art getting his father to open up about his life and tell him what he went through, as he himself tries to understand why he struggles to connect with Vladek.I hadn’t expected that roughly half of this book is actually about Art coming to terms with what his parents endured, with his issues making art about the Holocaust and making money (not to mention getting famous) off this work he feels incredibly uneasy about. There was a history of depression and possible mental illness in his family (you learn early on that this mother was depressive and committed suicide) that their history probably amplified. He uses an interesting meta approach to discuss this, illustrating conversations with his wife and therapist, to illustrate that the experience of creating this graphic novel was a struggle on many different levels. This harrowing portrait of the multi-generational consequences of war is probably what gutted me most as I read this: even long after the bombs stopped dropping, damage continues to be inflicted on people who weren’t even born during the war because of the unimaginable reality their parents had to survive.This book has historical significance both from its subject, but also because it was one of the first graphic novels that got serious academic interest, and the first to ever win a Pulitzer Prize: the medium had often been dismissed as comic strips before, but Spiegelman’s use of metaphor and the very intimate story he chose to tell showed that graphic novels were not limited to Superman and Archie stories. This makes “Maus” an important and seminal work that’s worth a read if only on that basis (and yes, I am aware that underground comics had touched non-traditional topics before and used a post-modernist approach, but I am strictly talking about more mainstream publications).The representations of different groups of people as different animals bothered me at first, because it felt like an easy generalization. But I read an interview with Spiegelman where he discusses where the idea comes from (old German propaganda films that depicted Jews as vermin, for instance) and also that he wanted to underline the absurdity of dividing people by assuming that each ethnicity has a uniform look or set of physical traits that defines them as human beings. I get the point he is trying to make: the anthropomorphic animals also make the incredibly difficult subject a little easier to absorb. I’m not sure I could have read the whole book in a couple of sittings had the drawings been more realistic.Imperfect but highly recommended.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Barry Pierce

    I really, really loved this. It's a fascinating and fresh portrayal of a (yet another) victim's experience of the Holocaust. I loved the meta aspect of this as well, the actual presentation of how the novel was written is fascinating. However, my one criticism is that I feel Spiegelman didn't use the whole mice and cats metaphor as well as he could. This novel would have had the exact same impact and tone if he just drew everyone as humans. I feel like the anthropomorphism was... pointless. Ther I really, really loved this. It's a fascinating and fresh portrayal of a (yet another) victim's experience of the Holocaust. I loved the meta aspect of this as well, the actual presentation of how the novel was written is fascinating. However, my one criticism is that I feel Spiegelman didn't use the whole mice and cats metaphor as well as he could. This novel would have had the exact same impact and tone if he just drew everyone as humans. I feel like the anthropomorphism was... pointless. There is no point in the Jews being mice and the Nazis being cats. It just didn't work in my eyes.This is still however one of the best WWII narratives out there and an essential pillar in the art of the graphic novel.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kylie Amber

    Such an intense and strong graphic novel

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    This was an amazing read.This was so good. I've known about it for a long time but somehow never sought it out. Maybe it was a bias against graphic novels? Not sure. I'm so glad I finally read it. This is a picture of human strength and frailty, humane and savage behavior, done in a novel way that seems to make it even more immediate and real. This was an amazing read.This was so good. I've known about it for a long time but somehow never sought it out. Maybe it was a bias against graphic novels? Not sure. I'm so glad I finally read it. This is a picture of human strength and frailty, humane and savage behavior, done in a novel way that seems to make it even more immediate and real.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Vikas Singh

    This is the longest review that I have ever written but then you cannot do justice to a book that has won a Pulitzer and Eisner award if you do not dissect it well enough. I look forward to your feedback on the reviewSpiegelman was born in Stockholm in 1948. His parents, Wladyslaw and Andzia Spiegelman (Vladek and Anja in Maus) were Polish Jews and Holocaust survivors. They had come to Sweden as refugees after World War-2 and later immigrated to the United States in 1951. They settled in the Reg This is the longest review that I have ever written but then you cannot do justice to a book that has won a Pulitzer and Eisner award if you do not dissect it well enough. I look forward to your feedback on the reviewSpiegelman was born in Stockholm in 1948. His parents, Wladyslaw and Andzia Spiegelman (Vladek and Anja in Maus) were Polish Jews and Holocaust survivors. They had come to Sweden as refugees after World War-2 and later immigrated to the United States in 1951. They settled in the Rego Park neighbourhood of Queens, in New York City. In 1980, Spiegelman and his wife Françoise Mouly founded Raw magazine in 1980. By this time, Spiegelman had begun to interview his father about his experiences in the wartime Poland and Germany, and to draw comics based on their conversations. He published the first of the comics that would eventually become Maus in the second issue of Raw, in December 1980. Over the next several years, until the magazine ceased publication in 1991, he continued to publish segments of Maus in each issue. The comics were published in novel form “My Father Bleeds History” in 1986 by Pantheon Books. A second volume, which continued Vladek and Anja’s story through Auschwitz and Dachau, “And Here My Troubles Began” was published by Pantheon books in 1992. In 1996 Pantheon published both the volumes in one edition- The Complete Maus in US. Penguin published the same in 2003 in British Commonwealth countries. The book has won a number of awards including Pulitzer in 1992 and Eisner award in 1991.I would like to look at the four broad aspects of Maus:1. Memorialization of HolocaustThe Jewish Holocaust produced great body of work in Novels, Short stories, Poetry, Drama, Memoirs Diaries and Comics. Elie Wiesel's Night, Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz and Diary of Anne Frank are some examples of work that aims to memorialize this human tragedy. MAUS is a graphic novel, drawn and written by Spiegelman, that narrates his father's life (Wladyslaw called Vladek in Maus) during the Holocaust. Written by a second-generation Holocaust survivor, MAUS fuses the story Holocaust survivor with portrayal of the life and struggles of a second generation of Jewish people whose lives are influenced by the Holocaust despite not being born during its occurrence. Instead of a linear perspective, from that of the Holocaust survivor that can be seen in most works, Maus is unique because it offers a two-way perspective. a) An excellent example of memorialization is found in the segment of Vladek’s story in which he and his fellow prisoners were being led on a “death march” towards other concentration camps, Gross-Rosen, and an eventual final destination, Dachau. These death marches were implemented by SS chief Heinrich Himmler in 1944 after a crushing defeat on the Eastern front. Numerous concentration camps were evacuated, and prisoners were relocated to camps on the interior of the German Reich’s territory to prevent the advancing Soviet soldiers from discovering their crimes. “All night, I heard shooting. He who got tired, who can’t walk so fast, they shot. The more we walked, the more I heard shooting… When I was young, our neighbour had a dog that got mad and bit. The neighbour shot. The dog rolled around, kicking, before he lay dead. And now I thought: “How amazing it is, a person is the same like this neighbour’s dog,” (Pg. 242). b) Another horror experienced by Vladek and memorialised here is the outbreak of Typhus at Dachau, and Vladek’s brush with death at the hands of the plague. Typhus spread throughout prisoners like a wildfire due to poor hygiene and an abundance of infection. “…I was too sick to move on my own… Typhus! I got a horrible fever and I went sleepless. Typhus! At night, I went to the lavatory. The corridor was always full with the corpses in piles… the skin was slippery… I thought, “It will be my time. I will be laying dead and someone will step on my head as well!” (Pg. 255). c) The horrors of Auschwitz’s gas chambers are memorialised in section where Vladek spoke with a crematorium worker, discussing the sheer monstrosity that was Auschwitz’s infamous gas chambers. Those deemed unfit for work were marched to an antechamber, in which they were forced to undress and enter the gas chamber. Those fated to die were told they were about to enter the camp, but needed to bathe before entering. Once they entered, they were locked in, and murdered using Zyklon B gas. Vladek Spiegelman’s account confirms the utter atrocity of these events. “It was between 3 and 30 minutes- it depended how much gas they put, but soon was nobody anymore alive… We pulled the bodies apart with hooks… Their bones had broken from trying to climb in desperation… and their arms were sometimes as long as their corpses, contorted… Those who did not die were made to jump in the grave pits… Prisoners what worked there poured gasoline over all of them, alive and dead. The fat and excretion from the burning ones they poured over them again so they all could burn better,” (Pg. 232). 2. Anthropomorphic depiction of different races Rather than drawing the characters in standard accepted forms and shapes, Spiegelman draws them as animals. The most difference between humans and animals is man's ability to understand, reason, and think. Since humans possess such qualities, it is often hard to understand how the Holocaust could have been conceived, implemented and even tolerated! Hence by depiction of characters as animals Spiegelman gets the reader to abandon any preconceived notions of human nature.The Germans and Jews, are represented by cats and mice, respectively. Natural sworn enemies, the Nazi cats find no fault in the systematic killing of Jewish mice. The imagery is also based on prejudice where Jews were called the "vermin of society" by the Nazis. Images of pig pigs evoke dirt, laziness, a liking for comfort, and indifference. For Jews, pigs are “unclean” animals. Spiegelman choses this supremely un­kosher animal to depict the Poles rather than the Germans. This imagery is driven by the fact that all the six extermination camps were located in Poland. More often than not, local Polish population, deeply anti Semite helped the Nazis in ‘final solution’.The Americans are depicted as dogs because dogs chase cats. The imagery is driven by the fact that the Americans chased Germans, many of whom went into hiding and flushed them out.The gypsies are depicted as bees since it goes with imagery of gypsies flitting from place to place, but never stopping for long at any one place.The French are depicted as frogs. This imagery has its origins from the French revolution when the French nobility that would visit Versailles apparently tended to refer to Parisians as frogs because of the swampy surrounding. Later did the term get picked up to describe the French in general.The Brits are depicted as fish drawing possibly from the British favourite fish and chips.The Swedes are depicted as reindeers inspired from their friendly nature. After the war Vladek and his wife had found refuge here.3. The unusual format of MausMaus is the first attempt to describe the first hand experiences of a holocaust survivor using the tool of a graphic novel. Before this people have written accounts or recorded narratives but none attempted this genre. Again, despite dealing with such an emotional topic there is no real photographs. Only at the end of the second volume, we get to see a “real” photograph of the man whose experience led to the creation of Maus, Art Siegelman’s father, Vladek Spiegelman. (Pg.294). The format perfectly justifies popular maxim, "a picture is worth a thousand words”.4. Anti- Semitism and the setting for the HolocaustFor years before the Holocaust took place, anti-Semitism ran rampant in Europe. Prejudice against Jewish people has been prevalent for nearly 2,000 years. This history of xenophobia was utilized by Hitler to engender a widespread hatred and intimidation for Jewish people, culminating in the Holocaust. The Spiegelman family and their community experienced this first-hand, as is stated in a quote in the text. “One comrade of ours told us of his cousin living in Germany… He sold his shop to a German and got run out from his home… Another friend told us of a relation in the city of Brandenberg- The Gestapo came, and none heard from him. There were many stories… each story worse than the other,” (Pg. 35). The tone in which these events unfold in Vol-1 set the scene for atrocities to come in Vol-2Indifference, Selfishness and KindnessGerman soldiers and hostile Polish civilians are obvious antagonists for the Jews who are struggling to survive amidst persecution. However, the story also explores the many ways in which Jewish people and others were who suffered alongside them in concentration camps and in war-torn Poland harm and undermine one another in moments of desperation. Though Vladek and Anja are beneficiaries of amazing acts of kindness and humanity, and often do their best to help others in return, Maus shows clearly how danger and privation breed selfishness and callousness.

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