The long anticipated memoirs of the novelist and Nobel Peace Laureate open with a child's entry into hell. We see the boy, Elie Wiesel, torn from a traditional and loving Jewish family life in a Carpathian village and dragged through the horrors of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. We see him emerge a bloodless adolescent, a mute spirit, with no homeland. In his passionate, poignant, and moving account of those years, and the amazing years that followed, a remarkable life unfolds. At war's end, parents and youngest sister vanished, life begins anew in a French orphanage. The boy has to speak a new language, navigate in a new culture, find within himself a way to embrace his fellows. Wiesel recalls his struggle with his G-d, and his intense sorties into the study of philosophy, the Jewish Scriptures, and the lore of the mystics. He remembers the gradual rekindling of old dreams. He is comforted by the survival of two of his sisters. And we see him becoming once again fully alive. Here is Wiesel at seventeen, a young man of Paris, exploring a new universe. Adolescent love claims him. The birth of Israel exalts him. He becomes an apprentice journalist. He encounters great Yiddish writers. He discovers his metier. We see him beginning to travel the world, covering the tangled Mideast conflicts that followed Israel's coming to Statehood, the early days of the United Nations, the Eichmann trial. He forms friendships with Golda Meir and Francois Mauriac and the deepest of attachments to Israel. He speaks out on the plight of the Soviet Jews. And in the late 1950's, inspired to write his first book, Night, he finds at last his voice as witness. His work is thereafter consecrated to the remembrance of the victims and the defense of the survivors and of all oppressed people. His life becomes a combat, powered by love, compassion, and sometimes rage, between doubt and faith, despair and trust, forgetting and memory. He has written a profoundly moving and brilliant memoir.
by Elie Wiesel
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