About This Blog

This blog was started as a place to post book reviews. The books reviewed here will be mixed. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, General Fiction, NonFiction and more. Both positve and negative reviews will be posted, as well as reviews for books written for all ages and all reading levels.

Many of the books reviewed here are ones that I have purchased for my own reading pleasure. Some, I receive free in exchange for reviews. Beginning in December, 2009 you will know which are the free ones if you read the final paragraph of my reviews.

Also of note: I choose what I will read, attempting to avoid the books on which I would end up writing a negative review... but I have been known to make mistakes. Thus you see some one and two star reviews here. Since I don't enjoy writing negative reviews, I only write them if the review was promised, or if the book was so exceedingly bad, I just had to say so. Regardless of the percentage of positive to negative reviews on this blog, I give my honest opinion each and every time, and have never received financial compensation for posting my reviews.

Note that, except for fair use portions quoted from some of the books reviewed, all copyright in the content of the reviews belongs to Lady Dragoness.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Not To Be Missed!

Schindler's Ark    
by Thomas Keneally
and Tim Liang, illustrator
Folio Society, 2009
Hardcover, illustrated, 363 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible

Schindler's Ark
is partly the biography of Oskar Schindler, partly a story of war and atrocity, and still partly a story of humanity. In the latter part of the book, there are some very graphic scenes, making this book not for everyone. While Oskar Schindler achieved fame during World War II for his humane treatment of Jewish prisoners who worked in his munitions factory, the early part of the story makes clear that Herr Schindler was not the respectable type person you might expect... Outside the UK, this book was published as Schindler's List and also filmed under that alternate title.

As one reads through the story, one encouters some rough spots that indicate the author is not very skilled, or perhaps not too knowledgable about his subject.  Those incidents are accounted for in the introduction of this Folio Society edition where Thomas Keneally says he was not best qualified to write this story because, although he is of northern European ancestry, he was raised far away from the sights and sounds of Hitler's regime. While I am on the topic of this Folio Society edition, I must also add that it has been beautifully produced, cloth bound and the cover blocked in gold with an illustration created by the same artist who has done a wonderful job on the frontispiece and eight other interior illustrations. The publisher has chosen to use black and white illustrations inside the book. I feel this adds to the drama and helps indicate that the events depicted in the story happened long ago. The endpaper maps included in this edition help the reader unfamiliar with the locality gain some understanding of the geographical area.

The Folio Society edition follows the text of the first edition, which was published by another firm with only minor emendations, so I can't lay much blame on the Folio Society for this book being a little over-long. Still, I am deducting one star because the author or the editor employed by the original publisher could have reduced some of the less interesting parts of the story to condense it to around 250 or 275 pages; it would, at that length, have made a much better story and flowed more smoothly... Still, Poldek Pfefferberg (one of the many Jewish people whose name was on Schindler's infamous list) was right. This story needed to be told. Thomas Keneally has done a credible job, and Hollywood has actually improved the story with their strategic cutting. The film is better than the book. That's something I don't often say, yet in this case, it's so true.

Recommended, with some reservations. If you prefer a text presentation, possibly including some illustrations, to an audio/video presentation and if you're not overly sensitive to violence but interested in historical accounts, then this book could be for you. On the other hand, if you prefer visuals, the film is a must see item. Either way, Schindler's Ark, aka Schindler's List is not a story you should miss.

This review has been simultaneously published on Dragonviews and LibraryThing.

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