Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History Info

Fan Club Reviews of best titles on art fashion, artists, history, photography. Check out our top reviews and see what others have to say about the best art and photography books of the year. Check out Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History Community Reviews - Find out where to download Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History available in multiple formats:Paperback,Library Binding Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History Author:Art Spiegelman Formats:Paperback,Library Binding Publication Date:Aug 12, 1986


The first installment of the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic
novel acclaimed as “the most affecting and successful narrative
ever done about the Holocaust” (Wall Street Journal) and
“the first masterpiece in comic book history” (The New
Yorker
).
A brutally moving work of art—widely
hailed as the greatest graphic novel ever
written—Maus recounts the chilling experiences of the
author’s father during the Holocaust, with Jews drawn as wide-eyed
mice and Nazis as menacing cats.
Maus is a haunting
tale within a tale, weaving the author’s account of his tortured
relationship with his aging father into an astonishing retelling of one
of history's most unspeakable tragedies. It is an unforgettable story of
survival and a disarming look at the legacy of trauma.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History:

5

Jul 10, 2014

4.5


Very very very powerful and I like that you see the relationship between Spiegelman and his father throughout.
5

Oct 22, 2017

I am extremely moved by this book, it is as relevant and important today as it was when it was first published over 30 years ago, possibly even more so.

Maus tells the story of Vladek Spielgeman, a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust. His son, Art Spiegelman, is an illustrator and wants to write the story of his father's experiences during World War II. The story is also of Art himself, the interviews and relationship with his father.

The story alternates between the present day interviews and I am extremely moved by this book, it is as relevant and important today as it was when it was first published over 30 years ago, possibly even more so.

Maus tells the story of Vladek Spielgeman, a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust. His son, Art Spiegelman, is an illustrator and wants to write the story of his father's experiences during World War II. The story is also of Art himself, the interviews and relationship with his father.

The story alternates between the present day interviews and shifts into the past through Vladek's recollections. The illustrations are straightforward and in a black-and-white style.

I highly recommend this book, it is a powerful and emotional story. I am starting the second volume right away.


FINAL NOTE: below is what I found to be one of the most powerful scenes in the book.

...more
5

Apr 11, 2013

The Maus books were just as incredible as promised. I was deeply moved by Spiegelman's story about his father's experiences in Poland and Auschwitz during World War II.

My ancestors are from Germany and my mother was a WWII buff -- our bookshelves at home were filled with hundreds of books about that war. When I asked her why she was so fascinated by that period, she said she was trying to understand how something like the Holocaust could have happened. Now I'm an adult and I often read books The Maus books were just as incredible as promised. I was deeply moved by Spiegelman's story about his father's experiences in Poland and Auschwitz during World War II.

My ancestors are from Germany and my mother was a WWII buff -- our bookshelves at home were filled with hundreds of books about that war. When I asked her why she was so fascinated by that period, she said she was trying to understand how something like the Holocaust could have happened. Now I'm an adult and I often read books about atrocities around the world. Even though they are depressing and soul-crushing, I guess I'm also just trying to understand how people can do such horrible things.

But I digress. Despite having already read a great deal about WWII, one of the things I especially liked about the Maus books was hearing how Spiegelman's father managed to survive. His father was gifted at quickly mastering skills and being able to talk his way out of tough situations. Those abilities helped him and his wife to survive the concentration camp.

Most reviews of Maus comment on Spiegelman's choice to draw the races differently: Jews are mice, the Germans are cats and other Poles are pigs. I liked the minimalist drawings because it kept the story moving and the focus was more on the words and the meanings.

I think this is a significant memoir of the Holocaust and would highly recommend it. ...more
4

Jun 01, 2015

This is one of those graphic novels that everyone is telling the world to read. Acclaimed as one of the best graphic novels out there. My take on it is that it was really enjoyable and informative, but not the best. While it was very enjoyable, I still had a few problems with it. Overhyped in my opinion, but still highly recommended for me.

I honestly have no problem with the plot. Straightforward and informative. I'm a huge history fan, and the topic of Nazis in general was nothing new for me. This is one of those graphic novels that everyone is telling the world to read. Acclaimed as one of the best graphic novels out there. My take on it is that it was really enjoyable and informative, but not the best. While it was very enjoyable, I still had a few problems with it. Overhyped in my opinion, but still highly recommended for me.

I honestly have no problem with the plot. Straightforward and informative. I'm a huge history fan, and the topic of Nazis in general was nothing new for me. It's been a while since my last read of this certain part of history. This graphic novel was a good way to refresh my memory. It's still very unsettling that the Nazis were this abusive back then. The way they tortured the Jews and such was very inhumane. I know that somewhere in the world today, people are still being abused like this, if not worse. Such a shame, and quite unthinkable how some people could be this cruel.

The characters were not as amazing as I wanted them to be. Some weren't developed enough. I seem to have this problem with most of the graphic novels that I read. I'm not sure if it's the graphic novels itself, or the way the author describes them. The whole character thing is a huge problem for me to be honest, because i'm a reader who heavily depends on the characters for enjoyment. I like a well written set of characters. The plot thankfully made up for the not so great characters. Artie and Anja were really enjoyable, but the other ones felt a bit dull.

One more problem that I encountered would be the artwork. I'm very choosy when it comes to the artwork. I know this aimed to provide a historical feeling, but it didn't work that much for me. I didn't like the rough drawing and the way it was presented. It could've been done better. Not a huge problem, but still something that bugged me from time to time.

4/5 stars. It's a solid 4 for me. Hopefully the next volume would continue to be this good, or be even better. I'm going to rate the compilation of the two volumes separately after reviewing the second one. Great way to introduce history to aficionados and also beginners. Highly recommended. ...more
5

Oct 28, 2014

Extraordinary.....
If there was a Pulitzer Prize for the BEST ALREADY
winners of the Pulitzer .....Art Spieglman's books would be a very high contender.

Point is... The creation of Maus exceeds expectations... which you might have heard
through the grapevine.

Maus, Vol 1: "My Father Bleeds"....is painful, personal, brilliant ..,and needs to be experienced first hand...( as all his books do)....
Then we might have a discussion

still worse to come, is Vol 2. "My Trouble Begins"




5

Apr 01, 2015

I don't read much Holocaust Literature nowadays.

In my teens and twenties, I read everything I could get my hands on on the Third Reich and the Middle Ages, as I had an abnormal urge to seek out the darkness in human souls. I was repelled and at the same time, fascinated by it - like people drawn irresistibly towards gruesome road accidents.

As I matured, this urge to torture myself diluted, and I moved on towards more wholesome stuff. However, I decided I would make an exception with Maus I don't read much Holocaust Literature nowadays.

In my teens and twenties, I read everything I could get my hands on on the Third Reich and the Middle Ages, as I had an abnormal urge to seek out the darkness in human souls. I was repelled and at the same time, fascinated by it - like people drawn irresistibly towards gruesome road accidents.

As I matured, this urge to torture myself diluted, and I moved on towards more wholesome stuff. However, I decided I would make an exception with Maus because of one important reason - it is a comic, or to use the more accepted terminology nowadays, a graphic novel.

The comic is a seriously underutilised narrative format. Like the fairy tale and the animated movie, Disney has corrupted it and confined it to a corner where it can only babble and make baby talk. It is heartening to see it breaking out of that straitjacket and maturing - in books like The Complete Persepolis and the this one.

--------------------------------------------------------------

"The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but not human" - Adolf Hitler

Dehumanising the enemy is the first step towards eliminating them: which is what Hitler tried to do with Jews and nearly succeeded. In this book, Art Spiegelman tells us a story from that dark era - a very personal one, that of his father - yet distances us emotionally brilliantly by using Brechtian techniques. The Jews are portrayed as mice, Germans as cats, Poles as pigs and Americans as dogs.

The story is delivered brutally, pulling no punches. However, changing the characters into animals accomplishes two things - by taking away the individuality, we are forced to look at the big picture: and the race differences are emphasised so as to be insurmountable(a Jew and a Gentile are both human beings, but a mouse can never become a cat). So even when we are caught up in the story, the political subtext is never forgotten.

A brilliant, brilliant work.

BTW, a bigger review is up on my blog. ...more
4

Jan 03, 2014

Re-read September 5, 2015: I think I absorbed a lot more of the story and its power the second time around. It's really wonderfully crafted, and I can't wait to finally read the second volume because this one ends sort of abruptly.

First read January 3-9, 2014
5

Oct 12, 2012

When I was a kid I read comic books (mostly Superman). The Maus books are the only graphic novels I've read and I consider them masterpieces (Mausterpieces?). Like Spiegelman's alter ego, I was a middle class child growing up in Queens (NYC), the son of Holocaust survivors and couldn't communicate with my father when I was growing up. He got it down perfectly. It was spot on and ranks among the best of Holocaust related literature.
5

May 19, 2016

This is such an important and emotional story that brings a new dynamic to the well-documented World War 2 stories of the incarceration and mistreatment of the Jews, at the hands of the Nazi soldiers. As Spiegelman himself explains in the introduction, he wanted to bring meaning back to the stories that had lost all of their horror due to their notoriety.

This story would be a powerful one in any format, but the short speech, the simplistic and yet powerful illustrations, the shift between past This is such an important and emotional story that brings a new dynamic to the well-documented World War 2 stories of the incarceration and mistreatment of the Jews, at the hands of the Nazi soldiers. As Spiegelman himself explains in the introduction, he wanted to bring meaning back to the stories that had lost all of their horror due to their notoriety.

This story would be a powerful one in any format, but the short speech, the simplistic and yet powerful illustrations, the shift between past and present life, and the depiction of Jews as mice and the Nazis as cats made the traumatic and monstrous story that much more impactful. I never lost focus during the pages as the ever shifting perspectives, sizing of the artwork and presentation kept this feeling striking and shocking until the very end.

The story is of Art himself, interviewing his father about his war-time experiences and actually starts in the present day before shifting subtly into past recollections. Seeing the former and present figure of his father and the alterations in his attitude towards life was saddening, but what shocked me more was Spiegelman's overwhelming honesty to the story. This is, in part, an autobiographical piece, focusing on his own relationship with his father, and he is unapologetic in the raw and painful description of both his father and himself. I believe that all autobiographical writers are, to some extent, unreliable as there is a tendency to sugarcoat and protect one's self. Spiegelman breaks my preconceived conceptions with his raw and honest approach to every aspect of this brilliant work.

I believe that this is an important story that everyone should read, but this would be of special benefit to a teenage age range. It brings a new element to the often dry stories taught in schools, that can lead to a disconnected and unempathetic audience. This modernizes the story and yet manages to bring the pain and trauma in sharp relief and relieve none of the horror.

This was every bit as heart-breaking as I anticipated it would be and I can't wait to devour the next volume. ...more
5

May 20, 2007

When I switched my major to English in my senior year, I had a lot of back classes to take, especially intro classes with freshmen and sophmores, though my last intro class was a night class with primarily older women, who worked full time jobs in Edison or the Amboys and a bushel of kids waiting at home. Basically, they were there to learn more about literature, sort of as a self-improvement class for the non-literary. The class was taught by a flame hair TA, who had the personality to match. When I switched my major to English in my senior year, I had a lot of back classes to take, especially intro classes with freshmen and sophmores, though my last intro class was a night class with primarily older women, who worked full time jobs in Edison or the Amboys and a bushel of kids waiting at home. Basically, they were there to learn more about literature, sort of as a self-improvement class for the non-literary. The class was taught by a flame hair TA, who had the personality to match. Yet as time went by, those last descriptive sentences I wrote became complete crap. We became a class of studious literary scholars on par with any graduate program. Our TA took on a Robin Williams in Dead Poet's Society aura. Why, when did this happen? Well, we read Maus. It rocked all our socks. Besides our TA was a serious woman, not to mention awesome and intelligent. She used to write music reviews for the Village Voice when it was credible, and now she's working with Art Speigelman and has a sexy fellowship at Harvard. And me what do I have? Well, I have this book. I thank her for the introduction. ...more
3

Jul 13, 2014

It just didn't do what I wanted.

I had high expectations, my friends, I had high expectations. That might not be fair, but there you go.

My biggest problem was the misused animals. The book is called Maus. The characters are mice and cats and pigs. BUT NONE OF THEM ACT LIKE MICE OR CATS OR PIGS. WHATS THE POINT? In conversation with my friend Barry* it came up that "It's just cats chasing mice. That's the extent of the metaphor." He disagrees, on the whole.. he actually quite enjoyed this (we're It just didn't do what I wanted.

I had high expectations, my friends, I had high expectations. That might not be fair, but there you go.

My biggest problem was the misused animals. The book is called Maus. The characters are mice and cats and pigs. BUT NONE OF THEM ACT LIKE MICE OR CATS OR PIGS. WHATS THE POINT? In conversation with my friend Barry* it came up that "It's just cats chasing mice. That's the extent of the metaphor." He disagrees, on the whole.. he actually quite enjoyed this (we're budding reading again, I never want to stop buddy reading with this boy), but regardless he saw my point of view. I feel that there was great potential to use the animal characteristics to do interesting and inventive things, but basically they're just humans that look like animals.

I have a few other issues: I don't like the way the son treats the father (that won't make sense unless you've read this, sorry), and I haven't really been able to feel emotionally attached to anything (apart, of course, from the normal sense of sadness that comes from thinking of the holocaust).

It's not terrible, by any means. The illustrations are interesting, the story is interesting, and I flew through it. I very much look forward to reading Volume II, but this just wasn't good enough.

*Barry: https://www.youtube.com/Bazpierce! ...more
5

Nov 26, 2015

Oh my! This book makes me want to read every interview with the author that I can find. One article I read credits this book (and two others) with changing the public's perception of comics and potentially starting the use of the term "graphic novel." I have read only one other graphic novel (the beautiful and brilliant Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast) so I am tremendously under-qualified to review this. I'm not sure what I expected when I picked this up but what I got Oh my! This book makes me want to read every interview with the author that I can find. One article I read credits this book (and two others) with changing the public's perception of comics and potentially starting the use of the term "graphic novel." I have read only one other graphic novel (the beautiful and brilliant Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast) so I am tremendously under-qualified to review this. I'm not sure what I expected when I picked this up but what I got was a deeply moving story of one man's Holocaust experience that was masterfully written and drawn by his son. Deceptively simplistic, the drawings allow the reader to be in the story...to see life as it was and then the changing conditions, the confusion, the horror, the bunkers. As father and son meet and talk, the drawings seamlessly transition from present day into the past throughout the book, giving a sense that those memories were always near to and part of him. I found it amazing how a well-placed line or dash on the face of a mouse could convey age, joy, sorrow, defeat. The drawings were incredible. I'm certain there are treasures to be found with each reading of this incredible tale.

More than a story of atrocity and survival, this story reveals much about the author's relationship with his dad. An old-fashioned man whose entire history is heartbreaking and his son are divided by cultural and generational differences, estrangement, and misunderstanding of one another, yet they share the devastating loss of Anja and the need to understand her suicide. The author's father, Vladek, is presented in a way that seems unquestionably authentic with character traits both endearing and frustrating. Vladek's syntax and word choices make it so the reader can actually hear his accent, feel his escalating anger at times, understand the disconnect between father and son. What a touching tribute to his father that Art Spiegelman has created in this (presumably) honest portrayal. I cannot begin to imagine the atrocities the elder Spiegelman had endured, nor do I imagine it was easy to live with this man. I fell in love with page 133, on which Vladek tells Artie he will be famous like Walt Disney. There is so much conveyed in those few frames.

I was a junior in high school when this book was published. We were required to read Night by Elie Wiesel (which I re-read and reviewed recently) but up until now, I had not heard of Maus. This was recommended to me by our librarian. When I saw the cover I honestly thought she had lost her mind. I stand humbly corrected. I am running to get the next book, which is the conclusion. I cannot effectively put into words how ingenious this book is.
5 stars. ...more
4

Apr 11, 2013

Some books will leave a sour taste in your mouth. Some will uplift your spirits. Some will even touch your heart. And some…some have the power to rip your soul into tiny little pieces and leave nothing but a shell in its place.

Who knew a graphic novel could hold such power? But that’s exactly what happened.




Having finished Maus I: My Father Bleeds History, I feel like I just sparred against a two-tonne elephant with no means of escape. Each hit was worse than the last until I reached the end Some books will leave a sour taste in your mouth. Some will uplift your spirits. Some will even touch your heart. And some…some have the power to rip your soul into tiny little pieces and leave nothing but a shell in its place.

Who knew a graphic novel could hold such power? But that’s exactly what happened.




Having finished Maus I: My Father Bleeds History, I feel like I just sparred against a two-tonne elephant with no means of escape. Each hit was worse than the last until I reached the end feeling numb.

In this novel, Spiegelman’s father recounts all his experience and near misses with death during Hitler’s reign. He talks about his life before the war; his life as a successful businessman; how he found his wife and the birth of their son.

He then talks about the start of war and being recruited to fight on the front line. He talks about what he had to endure not only as war prisoner but a Jewish war prisoner. He manages to escape one nightmare only to be thrust back into another one. He witnesses/hears about the deaths of many of his friends and relatives until the cliffhanger at the end when he finally arrives at Auschwitz concentration camp.

I’ve studied history, particularly German history throughout my childhood. I’ve learnt key dates, facts and figures but that’s all it is – facts and figures. Hitler became the leader of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei in 1921 and chancellor in 1933. After this time, Germany began to transform from a representative democracy under the Weimar Republic to a single-party dictatorship under the rule of Hitler. Then came the onslaught of his anti-semitic policies. Studying this period brought a sour taste in my mouth but reading this novel made everything more real. I felt like I was right there; in constant fear of what might happen if the Gestapo found me and not knowing if I would survive the next hour let alone the next day. The author does a brilliant job depicting each of these events. The Jews are illustrated as rats, the Poles as pigs – only willing to risk their lives to save the Jews if money was involved and the Germans as cats.

This novel is truly great at depicting the horrific events that happened during the Holocaust but it’s not the only reason I would recommend it. This novel is also about a broken relationship between a father and son, and how they try to reconnect together after many years. It also shows the long-term effects a war can have on a person who endured so much in their life. It really puts things into perspective. The next time someone tells you how hard their life is. Tell them it could be worse.

Extra:
This is completely different but this story also hit home a little. Although what my father’s family went through is in no way proportional to what Spiegelman’s father went through, I can’t help but be saddened by the atrocities peppered throughout our history. What my father’s family went through happened in the 1970s, when the Ugandan President decided to have an ethnic cleansing of all Indians from Uganda. My father and all his siblings were born and brought up there. My grandfather ran a large successful family business there and having listened to my father’s story many times, he talked about how they were forced out of their businesses and homes. Everything they owned was reallocated to Ugandan nationals. He talked about how my uncle tried to save our belongings but was beaten to a pulp by the police. My dad talked about how they left with only the clothes they were wearing and one or two items. Years of hard work went down the drain. They couldn’t even access any of the savings in banks. A place they called home vanished within seconds. My dad’s family moved back to India but things just weren’t the same, especially for my uncle. He became mentally unstable and after only a few days he left. To this day, we don’t know where he is and whether he’s alive or not.

Although what happened in Germany is not the same as this, I couldn’t help but think of my own father’s experience. Imagine being forced out of your homes, businesses within seconds and being beaten. Imagine a nation targeting you and only you for what you are. It’s just despicable and makes me not want to live on this planet anymore. What gives someone a right to treat you inferior to them?


Review of Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began
...more
4

Jan 01, 2018


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I didn't intend for my first book of 2018 to be so depressing, but MAUS is such a creative, important book. In MAUS, Art Spiegelman uses the medium of graphic novel to tell the moving, and sometimes hair-raising story of his father, Vladek: a holocaust survivor from Poland.



Juxtaposed against scenes where a now middle-aged Art is chatting with his elderly father in his home in Queens are scenes of the gradual chokehold that that Nazis
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I didn't intend for my first book of 2018 to be so depressing, but MAUS is such a creative, important book. In MAUS, Art Spiegelman uses the medium of graphic novel to tell the moving, and sometimes hair-raising story of his father, Vladek: a holocaust survivor from Poland.



Juxtaposed against scenes where a now middle-aged Art is chatting with his elderly father in his home in Queens are scenes of the gradual chokehold that that Nazis formed around what later became Nazi-controlled territories. Vladek Spiegelman married into wealth with his first wife, Anja, and their lives before the war were rather luxurious. Slowly that all dwindled as their predominately Jewish area became one of the ghettos, and they were forced to run and hide for many years, until at last, someone promising to smuggle them both into Hungary betrayed them to the Nazis, and they ended up at Auschwitz.



Even though this is told biography-style, MAUS reads as being a little surreal, because Art chose to draw all of the "people" in his book as animals: the Jews are mice, the Nazis are cats, the neutral Poles are pigs, and the Americans of the present day are dogs. It was a really interesting choice stylistically, and I'm not completely sure why he did it - maybe to remove the reader one step from the horrors contained within the comic? There's a scene in here, one of the modern parts, about what happened when Vladek found a comic strip he did about his mother's suicide, which is included as an excerpt. This comic, "Prisoner on Planet Hell" is done with real people, which adds an extra layer of surrealism: a mouse, writing his memoir as a human.



If you're interested in WWII history and enjoy those "literary" graphic-novels that are about more weighty topics than capes and superheroes, I really recommend MAUS. Vladek is such an interesting man, and his firsthand account of survival is just that: firsthand. Really exceptional read.



4 to 4.5 stars ...more
4

Feb 08, 2013

So so sad. What a truly shameful part of our history the Holocaust was. To think that a group of people would be treated so abysmally for no good reason just hurts my heart.

Despite the fact that this was a graphic novel that had the characters portrayed as mice (Jews), pigs(Poles) and cats (Germans), it did not lessen the disgust I had against the Nazi system that condoned, encouraged and justified this mistreatment of Jewish people; Jews were given curfews, forced to wear armbands, forced to So so sad. What a truly shameful part of our history the Holocaust was. To think that a group of people would be treated so abysmally for no good reason just hurts my heart.

Despite the fact that this was a graphic novel that had the characters portrayed as mice (Jews), pigs(Poles) and cats (Germans), it did not lessen the disgust I had against the Nazi system that condoned, encouraged and justified this mistreatment of Jewish people; Jews were given curfews, forced to wear armbands, forced to use ration coupons etc. I was truly sickened by it all.

This graphic novel is biographical; Spiegelman's father recounted his personal experiences as a Polish Jew during WW2 to him. It's difficult to imagine that there are many similarly horrific stories out there. ...more
5

Apr 25, 2016

I am speechless and in awe, but I'm going to try to write something coherent here. I was spellbound when reading this book. It represents the best of what anyone can hope for in a graphic novel. The illustrations and narrative text formed, in essence, an audiovisual presentation of experiences so personal and unapologetically honest that sometimes I couldn't believe the author included them since they cast his father and himself in an unfavorable light, at times.

This is a true life account from I am speechless and in awe, but I'm going to try to write something coherent here. I was spellbound when reading this book. It represents the best of what anyone can hope for in a graphic novel. The illustrations and narrative text formed, in essence, an audiovisual presentation of experiences so personal and unapologetically honest that sometimes I couldn't believe the author included them since they cast his father and himself in an unfavorable light, at times.

This is a true life account from a Holocaust survivor, a story that slides into your veins as you read it. It is Vladek Spiegelman's story as told to his son Art who had a tumultuous relationship with him detailed in scenes spliced in between the Holocaust story segments. Just reading about father and son butting heads made me uneasy as did the tension-filled story the father shared. A story made all the more compelling by the illustrations depicting the Polish Jews as mice and the Nazis as cats. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this before reading the book, not knowing if it would distract or detract from the seriousness of the story. But my fears were groundless since the illustrations only enhanced and underscored the dramatic story elements. And the drawings of the people as mice and cats were as expressive as any depicting humans, both facially and in body language, beautifully conveying thoughts and emotions.

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources....

This is the first book in a two volume series that begins in the present with Art visiting his father whom he doesn't see often. He explains that he wants to tell in comic form his father's story as a Jew in Poland when Hitler came into power and changed life as he and others knew it. His father agreed to share what he went through beginning shortly before WW2 when he was a young man of thirty who would soon meet his first wife and father a son. He takes Art through a step by step account of a life Vladek dreamed of turning into a nightmare, and how he and his wife survived until the point at which this book ended when they were sent to Auschwitz.

I can't recommend this graphic novel enough for anyone wanting to read not only an unflinching personal account of the Holocaust but also one of a father and son relationship that's so candid it sometimes hurt to read about it. I found myself uttering exclamations in response to certain events in both accounts a number of times. I'm eager to continue with the second volume of Vladek's important story even though a part of me dreads reading what happened next.

...more
4

Oct 03, 2011






The story of a Jew's survival.

Jews as depicted as mice and Germans as cats. A poignant story; really good, the character Vladek (the survivor): can you imagine him on a German prisoners camp, a freezing Autumn, birds falling from trees due to cold...and Vladek taking a shower at the river: to stay clean and warmy the day onward? or his wife (a mice too) complaining about rats!?...

True facts underly the story.



2

February 9, 2003

While misunderstood, it still warrants a lot of criticism.
Before I begin, let's get one thing straight. "Maus" is, first and foremost, a biography; the story of it's author's father, holocaust survivor Vladek Spiegelman. If those who've chastised it's subject's prejudice towards Poles and it's "not telling the whole story" ever had sight of this in the first place, they lost it somewhere between the beginning and the end of their read. Perhaps the fact that the true faces of Mr. Spiegelman and the men and women he crossed paths with were replaced by those of cartoon mice, cats, pigs, dogs and frogs caused these amateur critics to forget that the graphic novel they held in their hands told a true story, nonetheless. Whatever the case, their comments hold no relevance, and do not belong, in the critiquing of a biography. "Maus" never claims to be "the whole story", only Vladek's, and while one can criticize a writer for creating fictional characters that are too much or too little of, or just are, almost anything, the only criterion that writer need meet in a work of nonfiction is truthfulness. By portraying his father as prejudiced, Art Spiegelman is not only portraying him truthfully, but also revealing one of the many indelible marks left on him by the holocaust. Art has also taken a lot of heat for the specific species of animals he chose to represent different ethnicities in the book, as some have called them racist and demeaning, but there are good reasons behind his choices; reasons that should be obvious to anyone with the slightest knowledge of the specific ethnicities in question and the nature of their relationships with one another historically, and it would've been to the detriment of "Maus" had he compromised his art for the sake of political correctness. As much as I've just defended him, however, Spiegelman may have bitten off a little more than he could chew with this undertaking. I'm a huge fan of graphic novels, and recognize the flexibility they lend to the telling of a story, but there's a reason why most graphic novelists delegate the illustration of their books to more able hands. Art decided instead to expose an otherwise sound and intimate tale to his artistic inadequacies by shouldering the whole load himself. His cartoon animal faces, aside from being difficult to tell apart, lack expression and emotion, the latter, of course, vital to any attempt at depicting Nazi Germany's subjugation of the Jews from his chosen side of the fence. What hurts "Maus" the most, though, is it's absence of a proper conclusion. While I have no problem with sequels, any installment in a series of novels, graphic or not, should be able to stand alone as a complete work, especially if, as is the case here, it's all that's being reviewed. A sequel was released a number of years later, and the resulting two-volume "Maus" boxed set was subsequently awarded the Pulitzer Prize, but, just like the comments of those afforementioned critics, talk of that sequel and that set holds no relevance in this critique, which is one of a work that will ultimately leave it's audience unsatisfied if purchased outside of the box.
5

Dec 20, 2015

Wow. This is a very powerful book--more so than anything else I've read in a long time. Absolutely amazing storytelling. I need a quick break before jumping into the next volume, because it's just so dark. But I definitely recommend this to everyone, even if you don't normally read comics or graphic novels.
4

Jul 10, 2015

Read for the 2015 Reading Challenge: #40 A graphic novel.

A very realistic story. Not just for the Nazi information but the personal story of the author’s father. He didn’t ease off anything, not their relationship, not with his father’s thoughts and that gives the story a special detail. The novel is very direct and powerful, and the characters portrayed by animals (mice, cats, pigs) sound very human. You might not found that much of new information if you are a WWII hardcore reader or viewer Read for the 2015 Reading Challenge: #40 A graphic novel.

A very realistic story. Not just for the Nazi information but the personal story of the author’s father. He didn’t ease off anything, not their relationship, not with his father’s thoughts and that gives the story a special detail. The novel is very direct and powerful, and the characters portrayed by animals (mice, cats, pigs) sound very human. You might not found that much of new information if you are a WWII hardcore reader or viewer but this story is so personal it will inevitably reach your feelings.

Tengo cero experiencia con novelas graficas y/o comics, así que Maus la tenia bastante difícil. Pero debo decir que me sorprendió mucho. Cuando veía fotos de las ilustraciones en otras reseñas lo primero que se me venia a la mente era “son bastante simples” pero ahora que lo he leído de verdad que puedo decir que una imagen dice mas que mil palabras. El uso de los animales estuvo perfecto: Ratones para los Judíos, Gatos para los Nazis y Cerdos para la gente de Polonia.

Los diálogos eran sumamente rápidos de leer, la verdad me detenía mas en ver las ilustraciones que tenían mas feeling de lo que creí. Un gran acierto de la historia para mi fue que no pierde tiempo. Explica las cosas bien y rápido. No tenemos mucho build up para lo que ya todos conocemos sobre la WWII.

Así, que empieza de lleno con los dos temas principales, que es conocer la historia de supervivencia real que vivió el padre del autor y conocer su relación padre-hijo. Ambas se manejan muy bien, y las interacciones se leen bastante realistas lo cual expone al padre del autor como no necesariamente un hombre ejemplar pero si alguien capaz de sobrevivir e intentar que la mayoría de su familia lo haga también.

Realmente te llegas a preguntar como es que una persona pasa por tanto y algunas de sus escapadas te dicen lo imaginativa que se pone la gente cuando es arrojada a una situación de supervivencia. Incluso me atrevería a decir que se reirán con ciertos comentarios que hay en la novela, me gusta mucho la personalidad del papa en la actualidad cuando le cuenta su historia a Art, es justo como alguien que sobrevivió al Holocausto seria, a mi parecer.

Un punto a resaltar es que el autor usa mucho eso de “Y entonces fue a su trabajo, y esa fue la ultima vez que lo vimos.” No necesariamente esa frase, pero ya sacan no? O también te dice que alguien muere antes de que muera y entonces cuando pasa ya no hay tanta sorpresa. Hay autores a los que les sale muy bien ese tipo de escritura pero creo que en esta historia necesitábamos la mayor emoción y se medio perdía a veces por eso.

Fuera de eso, fluye muy bien la trama, y a pesar de ser muy rápido, tiene profundidad cuando debe y es ligera pero con significado en cuestiones graves. Muy recomendado. Espero leer la segunda parte pronto. ...more
4

Dec 31, 2016

2017: I appreciated this just as much as last year. This second reading really drove home for me the loss of his mother's narrative (she committed suicide years before Spiegelman wrote this book, and his father burned her war journals in a fit of depression one day). Looking forward to finally reading the second part.

2016: 4.5 stars. This really gives you an idea of what a roll of the dice surviving the Holocaust was, and the relationship between the father (the story's subject) and the son 2017: I appreciated this just as much as last year. This second reading really drove home for me the loss of his mother's narrative (she committed suicide years before Spiegelman wrote this book, and his father burned her war journals in a fit of depression one day). Looking forward to finally reading the second part.

2016: 4.5 stars. This really gives you an idea of what a roll of the dice surviving the Holocaust was, and the relationship between the father (the story's subject) and the son (the author) adds so many layers to what could be a basic war memoir. (Random, but as someone who's taught English to Czech and Russian students, I also loved the way Spiegelman perfectly captured the grammatical mistakes that Slavic-language speakers make in English.) I would recommend this to pretty much everybody. ...more
5

Mar 17, 2009

Spiegelman does the most fantastic job showing us his parent's story in a truthful way. I cannot stand his father Vladek, or Spiegelman himself for that matter, but maybe that's part of the point. People are people and should be treated as such. Even is they are assholes.

I am pretty close to this subject since I work in a synagogue and we have a group called New Life Club, comprised of Holocaust survivors and their children. They meet for a catered lunch and some form of entertainment each Spiegelman does the most fantastic job showing us his parent's story in a truthful way. I cannot stand his father Vladek, or Spiegelman himself for that matter, but maybe that's part of the point. People are people and should be treated as such. Even is they are assholes.

I am pretty close to this subject since I work in a synagogue and we have a group called New Life Club, comprised of Holocaust survivors and their children. They meet for a catered lunch and some form of entertainment each month in our facility. My third day on the job here was the first time I saw a numbered Holocaust tattoo on an arm in real life and it really, really hurt to see it. Stamped into flesh forever. I live in Southern California and it gets hot. You can't wear long sleeves your whole life here, and why should you have to. It still hurts to see them, but they have become less jarring in the eight years I have been exposed to them.

This book (I won't call it a comic) should be required reading in middle or early high school. There are children who are generations enough removed from the subject to hear these stories and think of them as exaggeration. They are not.

Spiegelman does a fantastic job of showing, in the frame of conversations with his irritating father, what really happened. His parents were able to avoid a camp for a few years and I think most Holocaust fiction avoids this story. It needs to be told. Even Vladek, who was not a great guy, never, ever deserved anything he got. His lovely, nervous wife, no less so for her loveliness. People could never deserve what happened and we should never forget. ...more
3

Jun 23, 2015

2.5 stars

I guess i'm just really not in the mood for serious topic-ed books this summer. I went into this knowing it was so popular, and being on the topic of the Holocaust, I was expecting to be really moved by this. But I didn't like the way that the narration was done-- it follows the son of a Jew asking his father to recite the tale-- and strangely I found myself enjoying the parts that weren't about the 1940s flashbacks more than I enjoyed the story about the war. A lot of it bored me, 2.5 stars

I guess i'm just really not in the mood for serious topic-ed books this summer. I went into this knowing it was so popular, and being on the topic of the Holocaust, I was expecting to be really moved by this. But I didn't like the way that the narration was done-- it follows the son of a Jew asking his father to recite the tale-- and strangely I found myself enjoying the parts that weren't about the 1940s flashbacks more than I enjoyed the story about the war. A lot of it bored me, strangely, and I don't know if it's because I wasn't in the mood for it, or because the writing just wasn't great. The mouse vs. cat metaphor didn't really speak to me like I was anticipating it would, either. Half of the time, you couldn't even tell who was cat and who was mouse because the art is so simple.

Honestly it wasn't a bad book, i'm just struggling to collect my thoughts about it because I honestly can't think of one compliment I have for it. If I hadn't already bought the sequel, I would probably not read volume 2 ...more
5

Sep 22, 2017

This is a powerful story. It doesn't seem like these horrors could be possible and yet they are. This is a black and white comic with mice as Jews and cats as Nazis. I can only hope that this history remains a reminder of why compassion toward all people is so very important. When we lose our compassion, we lose our humanity. It is also a reminder of the darkness people are capable of and the strength of the human spirit. This is not a fun story or a comforting story; it is a tough story about This is a powerful story. It doesn't seem like these horrors could be possible and yet they are. This is a black and white comic with mice as Jews and cats as Nazis. I can only hope that this history remains a reminder of why compassion toward all people is so very important. When we lose our compassion, we lose our humanity. It is also a reminder of the darkness people are capable of and the strength of the human spirit. This is not a fun story or a comforting story; it is a tough story about survival and after you do survive, what is life like then. I'm glad I read this story. ...more
5

December 15, 2015

Oddly Effective and Emotional Presentation …
I made the “mistake” of purchasing Maus II over 20 years ago (simply because the bookstore didn’t have the first volume). Regardless, I found the comic book presentation of the Holocaust surprisingly effective in generating such an emotional read. It took a while, but seeing Maus II sitting on a book shelf without it preceding volume finally bothered me enough to get MAUS – MY FATHER BLEEDS HISTORY. While the second volume (MAUS II) stands fine on its own, MAUS certainly serves as the glue that holds the entire story together.

For the most part, I’m am not a fan of comic books, but Art Spiegelman’s art captivated me at an early age. Spiegelman is one of the original artists that contributed to my first childhood passion: Wacky Packages (trading cards/stickers that satirized common household products). While I didn’t initially connect the dots between the 70s fad and Holocaust-themed comic book, I now see the way Spiegelman attracts me to his work. There is a subtle complexity to his rather simple drawings that made reading MAUS both thought-provoking and memorable.

I found MAUS to be two stories presented as one. The main storyline is the story of his father Vladeck’s plight as a Jew living in Poland before and during World War II (just before he and his wife Anja are sent to Auschwitz). The second storyline is about the author’s relationship with his father, which is revealed as the son presses his father to talk about surviving the Holocaust. While the story of Spiegelman’s parents is certainly compelling, the metaphorical manner in which it is illustrated is what sticks. Spiegelman uses animals to represent groups/races of people in a way that reminds me of Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. Jews are presented as mice … meek pests/vermin that are easy to kill. Nazis/Germans are depicted as rather vicious cats (that kill the vermin) and Poles are shown as pigs (perhaps a reference to the fact that many Poles betrayed Jews in their country to the Nazis … in other words, swine). I found graphic metaphors ingenious as they add a significant emotional tone to the story being told. The Holocaust storyline comprises the bulk of the book’s illustrations with the father/son moments serving as bridges in between events. As we come to understand the suffering of Spiegelman’s parents, we learn that his mother (Anja) killed herself in 1968, leaving a large void in his life. There is an obvious yearning for Spiegelman to learn more about his mother through his father, yet the task proves to be challenging.

On the surface, the concept of a Holocaust-related “comic book” seems awkward, but I found MAUS to be a magnificent and poignant read. It is also hard to put down … I read the entire book without stopping in short order. I would highly recommend MAUS (and MAUS II, for that matter) for providing a provocatively unique perspective of the Holocaust. This series intrigued me enough to pick up a copy of “MetaMaus”, which meticulously (and exhaustively) explores the author’s motive for MAUS/MAUS II, as well as detailing more of his parents’ lives.

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