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

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


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780394747231
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/28/1986
Series: Maus Series , #1
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 11,341
Product dimensions: 6.51(w) x 9.08(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 15 - 18 Years

About the Author

Art Spiegelman has been a staff artist and contributing editor at The New Yorker,as well as the cofounder/coeditor of RAW, the acclaimed magazine of avant-garde comics and graphics. In addition to Maus—which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and twice nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award—he is the author ofBreakdowns and In the Shadow of No Towers. He lives in New York City with his wife, Françoise Mouly . . . and a cat.

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Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 57 reviews.
KatieSpears on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maus I: A Survivor's Tale is a graphic novel by Art Spiegelman depicting his father's survival of the Holocaust. This book is a biography even if it is a graphic novel becasue Spiegelman is telling his father's life story as it happened. This book was written in 1973, but the majority of the action takes place during the flashbacks to the 1930's and 1940's during World War II and the events leading up to it. In this book, the Jews are portrayed as mice, the Nazi's are portrayed as cats, and the Poles are portrayed as pigs. Even with the people as animals, the story is still very human and real.This novel is about Art Spiegelman's father, Vladek, and how he survived the Holocaust. The story begins with Art coming to his father and saying he wants to write a graphic novel about his life during World War II. Vladek agrees, and Art continues to visit and record Vladek's tale. Vladek begins his story with how he managed to marry Anja his first wife. Vladek relates his story of how he had to fight in the war to keep the Germans out, and from there his experiences go down hill. He returns home to find it has been transformed into a world ruled by the Nazi's. From that point, life is about being smart in business and being smart in trusting people. He has to hide with his family in bunkers he made. Eventually, they are found out, but by that point, Vladek and Anja's family has dwindled down to only a few members. The remaining family members get split up, and Vladek and Anja go into hiding and try to escape to Hungary. The end of the novel is about their experiences in trying to be safely smuggled across the border to Hungary.This book is amazing. It is so interesting that basically a cartoon strip with animals as people can tell such a moving story. I think because the people are animals is what makes this tale so memorable. The subject matter is, of course, very interesting, but the way Art Spiegelman doesn't leave anything our or sugar coat his dad's ornery behavior while telling the story is what engaged me as a reader. It was very truthful even when the truth didn't show Vladek in a positive light, and I appreciated that Spiegelman kept it true to form. This book raises the issue of the controversies of the Holocaust. I think Spiegelman's opinion is that the Holocaust was horrific, but he feels it's his job to tell a true story so that younger generations can learn from history. I agree with Spiegelman. Had my family survived the Holocaust, I would feel obligated to raise awareness on such issues. I think this book is extremely similar to Night by Elie Wiesel. Night is a biography/fiction novel about Wiesel's own survival of the Holocaust. Even though the story is about Wiesel's personal experiences, the book is still considered a fiction novel. However, Night is brutally truthfull as well and show the horrors of the Holocaust in few words used in an effective way. I think this book raises the issue of modern genocides that should be made known and stopped. I feel more passionate now that awareness is a big step in actions against hate.Teaching ideas:-Watch Schindler's List, The Pianist, or The Devil's Arithmatic-Group project on modern genocide-Explore the meaning of mice, cats, and pigs as the people in the novelMaus is a moving graphic novel that keeps the emotion of such a powerful story very real. The way this serious topic is presented is still respectful and tasteful because it is to inform not to ridicule. The book's issues of hate and the Holocaust stir a need for action today against modern genocide. Maus's main point is of survival and love that can survive anything. I think this book would be a great book to read in the classroom because it is a difficult subject matter in an interesting a new way and because the story is so real and moving.
amygatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was the first graphic novel I ever read, and I really liked it. The Holocaust is very difficult to write about, and writing about it in this visual medium made this story even more powerful. The fact that Art Spiegelman kept his voice very strong throughout this text really enhanced it, because the story is so close to him - it is about his own family's struggle in the Holocaust. I read this book in college, but I might recommend this book even to a reader in late middle school, especially as they study the Holocaust in school. This book brings readers closer than ever to this difficult period in history and helps them to see that family members of those who survived the Holocaust still suffer because of it. Incorporating this text into a unit on the Holocaust would help students to relate to this subject on a more personal level.
kikione on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Artie goes to visit his father to find out more about his experiences during World War II and the holocaust. He wants to write a graphic novel about his life. This tale about his father is at times brutally honest and painful to read. Artie has issues with his father, but has great sympathy for what he has been through. Students will learn about the holocaust and the effect it would have on those who had to live through it. The fact that it is a graphic novel makes it very appealing.
HokieGeek on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very powerful story of which there are many which are simultaneously just like this one and utterly unique and personal. The comic book format is very well used to convey more than mere words could. Brilliant!
nittnut on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Impossible to put down, Maus is the comic book style story of Art Spiegelman's father. His father and mother were Auschwitz survivors, his mother committed suicide, and his relationship with his father is strained. Spiegelman's very open and honest portrayal of his own weaknesses is just as compelling as his father's story.I have read many books on the Holocaust, and many books on the struggles children of Holocaust survivors have in understanding their parents' generation. Having never read a graphic novel before, I was amazed by the quality and depth of the story. The impact was just as strong as a traditional novel. Highly recommended.
ewyatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I just reread Maus, and was reminded of the power of using the graphic novel format to tell the Spiegelmans' story, both his dad's story of living through the Holocaust during World War II and his attempt to navigate their father-son relationship.
RebeccaAnn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Like any recount of the Holocaust, this story was both horrifying and heart-wrenching. There are two stories that occur simultaneously here. The first is Artie wrenching the story from his father, Vladek, over an unknown span of time. The second story, of course, is Vladek's life during the Holocaust. The story is told a bit differently, though. This a low brow graphic novel, not some artsy film or memoir. Spiegelman shows us the things his father experienced in a raw, gritty manner. The Jews are portrayed as mice and the Germans, their predators, are cats. I found this interesting. He stripped away the humanity and made the Jews, as thought of by Hitler, literally vermin. To the German cat, there was the American dog and the Polish pig. I think there are many meanings one can take from the nationalities being portrayed as animals. Is it just human nature to constantly torture each other? Were we just being our instinctual, animalistic selves? Or is this just a way to bring the Holocaust to a younger generation? Did Spiegelman just want to appeal to a younger audience and make the Holocaust easier for them to understand?The story itself isn't new. Most people are familiar with what went on and I don't feel like retelling it here. This graphic novel shows how the horrors that went on then affect us now. It shows how Vladek was affected because of the war, both his physical and his mental health. He suffers physically because of the torture he endured, but he also became a miser. He had nothing for so long that, it's almost become physically painful for him to throw anything away. It's an interesting take on a familiar subject. It's also a quick, powerful read that I highly recommend for everyone.
tjfranks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very engaging story of a Holocaust survivor. It is similar in so many ways to other survivor stories such NIGHT and FRAGMENTS OF ISABELLA, but it is told in a very unique and interesting way. The narrator tells the story of his father's struggle during the Nazi rule, based on the audio recordings he made for his son. The recordings tell of life before the Nazi's take over, life in the ghetto, and the horrors of the concentration camps. The son, who has always been interested in telling stories through pictures, creates his father's story in the form of a graphic novel. What makes this story even more interesting is that the author does not make his characters human. He uses different animals to represent the various ethnic groups invovled: Jews/mice, Nazis/cats, Polish/pigs.
LiterateHousewife on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read both Maus I and Maus II during a literature of the holocaust class. These were the first graphic novels I've ever read. These books left a huge impact on me. I would strongly recommend these books to anyone interested in the holocaust. They are educational and highlight the survivor guilt that followed World War II - and the impact that had on the children of holocaust survivors.
TheAlternativeOne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The strength of this story is the true account of the elder Spiegelman¿s struggles to survive the Holocaust as a Polish Jew in Warsaw. It is interspersed with the author¿s troubled relationship with his father and the strength of the two to tell the story. The father because he has never before spoken of his experiences and the son to understand the pain and suffering his father endured.All the characters in this work of art are represented as ethnological animals, an insightful and creative machination on the part of the artist. The Jews, for example, are depicted as scrawny mice (thus Maus, German for ¿mouse¿), the Nazi¿s as plump over-fed cats, and the Polish military officers as prodigious pigs. The only humanistic renderings in the book take place during the back story of the suicide of the author¿s mother. But these graphic depictions do not distract from the powerful demonstrative story of the struggle to survive not only the worst war of our time but the worst moments in human history. In fact, they serve only to enhance it.Wonderful storytelling and exceptional art make this a must read for the historians as well as the emotionalists among us. This book is a unique combination of docu-drama, biography, and comic-strip all rolled into one and it works on a grand scale.
lit_bitten on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This graphic novel detailing the experience of a Jewish man during the holocaust was a powerful and addicting read. I loved the illustrations as well as the way that Art Spiegelman made the story of the holocaust something more than just what you read in history books. It is also an interesting book because it brings light to the relationship that children had with parents who survived the holocaust (few that there were) and how their parents experience weighed onto them as well. Overall one of my favorite books of all time.
gkuhns on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This graphic novel intertwines a story of the Holocaust with another tale of a Jewish man¿s relationship to his aging father. The graphic artist interviews his father to learn of his past in Eastern Europe and then depicts the tale with black and white images. He also illustrates the problems and pressures inherent in being the child of Holocaust survivors by sharing pieces of his interactions with his father. This graphic novel works on several levels. First, by using symbolic animals to play the parts of the characters in the Holocaust story, it provides a degree of separation for the reader, slightly blunting the effect of the horror of WWII. Jews are drawn as mice, Germans are depicted as cats, Poles are pigs, the French are frogs and Americans are dogs in this graphic universe. The use of images, however, also forces the reader to imagine more vividly the reality of the terrible genocide. The use of dialect in speech makes the characters more believable. Vladek Spiegelman, the survivor in question, speaks in the broken English expected of an American immigrant. The conflict in his somewhat grumpy interactions with his son and second wife also provides a coating of realism to the tale as well as adding a bit of much needed comic relief. The story skips around in time, beginning in the present and moving to the past. This could be confusing at first, especially to readers not familiar with graphic novels. Soon, however, the rhythm of the book begins to flow and the jumps are neither so abrupt nor so jarring.
sasshayb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was about the holocaust. It showed how the life of a Jew was before during and after. I think this is a good book to read while learning about the holocaust. I rate this book 5 stars because it was very good. I think all teachers should read this graphic novel while teaching about the holocaust. I cannot wait to read the second Maus.
aagpalo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Powerful personal story of a man's self discovery. Mr Speigelman's touching story of recollecting he's family's history during the holocaust told in the form of a graphic novel is truly touching. His use of the graphic novel format to tell such a story is brilliant. Regardless of your thoughts and feelings on graphic novels / comics, this is a must read.
Cecilturtle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An incredibly powerful story; the drawings and writing are superb
bell7 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This graphic novels chronicles the Holocaust experiences of the author's father, Vladek Spiegelman. The action moves back and forth between the present, with Art and his father talking and bickering, and the story Vladek tells his son about living in Poland during World War 2. The art complements and extends the meaning of the conversations, often playing off stereotypes (for example, the Jewish people are represented as mice, the Polish people as pigs) that bring home the events described all the more powerfully.Absolutely deserving of the 1992 Pulitzer Prize it received, Maus is not an enjoyable story, but an absolutely necessary one to remember. I highly recommend this sobering, powerful work and would definitely read it again.
hippieJ on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
these books are sad, heartfelt, and creepy. its one thing to hear about what happened in concentration camps but its another to actually see illistrations. even if they are cartoons. nevertheless, these books are some of my favorites
go_devils006 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Part I of a clever graphic novel telling the story of the author's father who was held in a concentration camp during World War II while simultaneously examining the effects that the author's curiosity in researching the story has on his relationship with his father. Jews are mice, Nazis are cats. While the artwork sometimes makes it a little difficult to follow (all the mice look the same), this is an interesting true story of survival under horrible curcumstances. I highly recommend purchasing volume II at the same time as part I will leave you wanting more.
MrsLee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought the crafting of this story was very good. I enjoyed the dynamics of the relationship between the father and the son, the elements of the personalities of survivors of atrocities. I suppose it is a good way to tell the story to people who are not interested in reading about it otherwise, but for me, the mice with human bodies was weird. Possibly my age has something to do with it? It seemed an odd way to present it, and I found myself wondering if the author just wasn't good at drawing human heads the whole time I was reading it, so it was a distraction to me. The story was well worth the distraction though, I'm looking forward to reading the next one.
mary3s on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A tough read but the best graphic novel I've ever read.
ahooper04 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Riveting story of the author's parents experience in Poland during WW II. Yet it's told with humor and love. Amazing!
messelti on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maus: A Survivor¿s Tale is Art Speigelman¿s graphic homage to his father¿s memories of the Holocaust. Speigelman¿s use of different animals to represent Jews and non-Jewish Germans, Poles, French, Americans, etc. enriches each drawing while also providing a space for subtle nuances in the narrative. Speigelman¿s direct use of his father¿s rearranged English to narrate gives the reader a sense that they are not only reading, but also listening to Vladek Speigelman¿s story. He sets himself up not as the narrator, but as the moderator of his father¿s story-asking questions to clarify and allowing readers to wade through cultural, generational, and historical differences in values and actions-challenging the reader to make these same judgments for themselves. His illustrations add another dimension to his father¿s storytelling, they hint to situations that his father¿s words brush over, serving not to complete Vladek¿s story, but to complement it nonetheless. Dark and sometimes violent situations are addressed, but as this is a Holocaust resource this can be expected. Maus provides a wonderful resource for teens (and adults) who wish to learn more about the Holocaust, and is recommended for both school and public library graphic novel (or non-fiction) collection.
DanaJean on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
MAUS I; My Father Bleeds History is a graphic novel by Art Spiegelman. Dealing with the rise of Hitler and the holocaust, I found the graphic art format an interesting way to bring this story to a new audience. An art form that might appeal to people that may not pick up a history book about the period. The characters are portrayed as mice (Jews) and cats (Nazis) and is told through the eyes of Art's dad through flashbacks as told to his son. Graphic novels have never been anything I have been interested in, but I love the artwork mixed with the words to bring this story to life. I think Mr. Spiegelman did a fantastic job.
knittingfreak on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's a graphic novel in two parts, which deals with one family's ordeal living through the Holocaust. I have had very little experience with graphic novels, so I wasn't sure what to expect. This book is actually based on the true story of the author's family, Vladek and Anja Spiegelman who both ended up in Auschwitz during WWII. Unlike most of the rest of their family, including their oldest son, they survived the war and emigrated to the U.S. afterwards. The book is very well-done and documents a well-known yet little understood event in history. I don't know how anyone can ever truly come to grips with what happened to so many people under the Nazis. In fact, in addition to the story of what happened to Art's family, the book is also about his difficult relationship with his father. Obviously the living hell that his parents endured changed them irrevocably. Art didn't always understand why his father was the way he was. So, writing this book served to help heal their strained relationship, as well.As I said, I haven't had much experience with graphic novels. In the beginning, I was a little distracted by the drawings. But, after the first third of the book, I got into a rhythm, which allowed me to read and look at the drawings without being distracted. The book actually went very quickly. I'm glad I read it, and I'd be willing to read more graphic novels in the future.
writestuff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Art Spiegelman won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize under the category of Special Awards and Citations - Letters for his amazing graphic books Maus I and Maus II. The books comprise a powerful memoir which recount the lives and survival of the author¿s parents Vladek and Anja Spiegelman¿s during WWII in Poland where they were eventually captured and transported to Auswchitz. But it is also a story about Art Spiegelman¿s difficult relationship with his father, and the impact of survival on the survivor¿s family.Told in a cartoon format where the Jews are portrayed as mice and the Nazi soldiers as cats, the story gains much of its power from the form in which it is written.Spiegelman alternates between Poland during the war (where Vladek recounts the terrible and terrifying days of the Nazi occupation) and Rego Park, New York in the 1980s (where Art and his aging father struggle to establish meaningful lives together).The result is a story which compels the reader to keep turning the pages while terror comes to life through vivid illustrations. It is a story of survival and finally of love - love between a man and a woman which the German camps could not destroy, and love between a father and son. Maus I: My Father Bleeds History and Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began are powerful documentaries of a family who survived the Holocaust and its impact on their future and the child who was born after the war.This was my first foray into Graphic Art as story and I was moved and touched by it. If you decide to read Spiegelman¿s work, you must read both books, back to back without a rest in between.Highly recommended.