The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale

The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale


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THE DEFINITIVE EDITION: 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: 9780679406419
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/28/1996
Series: Maus Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 296
Sales rank: 19,865
Product dimensions: 9.36(w) x 6.72(h) x 1.15(d)
Age Range: 15 - 18 Years

About the Author

Art Spiegelman is a contributing editor and artist for The New Yorker, and a co-founder / editor of Raw, the acclaimed magazine of avant-garde comics and graphics. His drawings and prints have been exhibited in museums and galleries here and abroad. Honors he has received for Maus include the Pulitzer Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship, and nominations for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He lives in New York City with his wife, Françoise Mouly, and their two children, Nadja and Dashiell.

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Complete Maus 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 73 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Complete Maus was an amazing book to read! Art Spiegelman's description of his father's life during World War II gives the story a personal feel that completely draws you into the book. However, Spiegelman's somewhat blunt descriptions of the horrors that occurred in the Jewish ghettos and the concentration camps also make this a depressing read because Vladek, his father, witnessed so many tragic deaths. Additionally, Maus is filled with "present day" scenes in which Spiegelman shares his difficulties in extracting the story from his father and it also helps tie in aspects of WWII with current events. One of the most heartbreaking parts of Maus was the connection Vladek had with his first son, Richieu, who was killed when he was a very young child. Even after Vladek's wife, Anja, gave birth to Artie (the author of Maus) he still lamented the death of his first son, which is a key part of Maus and helps keep the reader engrossed with the story. One thing readers should be cautious about is the depth of the story. Although it is written as a comic book, Maus is filled with as much sadness and hope as any other Holocaust book. So, just make sure that if you pick up Maus, you don't begin reading it thinking it will be a "light read," because the truth behind Spiegelman's words will knock you over. Also, readers should know that there are brief references to suicide, hangings, and extreme violence within both Maus novels, so if you can't handle those topics, don't read Maus. However, The Complete Maus is also filled with Vladek's struggle for survival, and although it is over one of the most tragic periods of history, I highly recommend that you read it. I give The Complete Maus 5 out of 5 stars, easily.
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
The Complete Maus is a Pulitzer Prize winning graphic novel by American editor and comics artist, Art Spiegelman. It is a memoir in comic form that documents recollections of the holocaust, as told by Spiegelman’s father, Polish Jew Władysław (Zeev/Wladek/Vladek) Spiegelman. The story itself is one that has been told countless times, but Spiegelman’s treatment of it makes it unique. As well as his father’s recollections, he illustrates the passing of the story between father and son, thus inserting himself (including his impatience and ingratitude) into the story. Maus I (My Father Bleeds History) runs from mid-1930s to winter 1944 and details his parents’ courtship and their experience of the war, through the German occupation and being rounded up to live in the ghetto, up until they were taken to Auschwitz. Maus II (And here my troubles began) is divided into five chapters and runs from winter 1944 until the immediate post-war period, with Artie’s history taking finishing with his father’s death. It covers his parents’ time in Auschwitz, displacement camps and their eventual reunion. As with all graphic novels, it can be difficult to distinguish between characters, especially when most of them have the head of a mouse, and sometimes the speech balloons are so small that they make reading the dialogue a challenge, particularly for readers of a certain vintage. But it is immediately clear that a great deal of work has gone into this work, and Spiegelman is obviously a very talented graphic artist, telling an important story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book much like the first maus i could not put down the story boarding is very good. you won't find a better book that teaches both the horrors and hardships of the jews during the holocaust.
Mel-Loves-Books More than 1 year ago
This format of reading about the Holocaust, while it was still shocking and horrifying was easier to take in. The breaks where he showed his "current" relationship with his father was interesting and helped my brain to take a break and its probably how I made it through the book. I honestly think this is an important book to have. I borrowed this from a friend to read, but I intend to buy one for my home. I would like for my daughter to read this when she is a little older. I give it 5 stars.
MonicaAella on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was one of the first graphic novels I ever read, and it still remains one of my favorites. Incredibly compelling, I have to prevent myself from taking it off the bookshelf unless I have a large swath of hours to devote to reading. I remember first thinking the visuals seemed too stark, but I was mistaken; they are perfect. Terrible, wonderful, and unflinchingly honest, I have and would recommend Maus to anyone.
peajayar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the book that got me interested in graphic novels. Now I am re-reading it and finding it every bit as compelling and moving as when I first found it. The difficult relationship between art and his father in the present-time of the book is beautifully counter-poised with the father's story of survival. Neither is easy, both are dealt with - I want to say fearlessly, but suspect there was quite a lot of fear involved in the telling of the stories in this book. I guess what I mean is that the fear didn't interfere with the telling of the story, there is a feeling that the author is doing as honest a job as he can.I admire this book on so many levels. The drawing is almost crude, but carries huge emotions and meanings. The arrangement of frames on the pages creates telling emphases. Moving in and out of the present and the past is managed in ways that reinforce both.
JusticeEvans on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An amazing story of the Holocaust told through anthropomorphic mice who are Jewish and cats who are the Nazis.Great for older readers with an interest in the Holocaust or to create an interest in that sad piece of history. Useful for demonstrating that even comic-book format of writing is valid and important.
Peter_Forster on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Absolutely devastating; I never thought I'd cry so much reading a comic! However, ultimately the most interesting aspect of this book is the frame narrative itself--his father is a racist despite everything he has been through.
Nicole_16 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Artie, the son, wants to retell the events of the holocaust from his father Vladek's, a Jew, point of view. Artie begins recording the story with pencil and paper and later figures out that it would be easier to record the story on tape. Artie's father Vladek reminisces on when life was good for he and his family up to the time when Hitler wanted to clean Germany of the Jews and they were taken captive. This is an excellent story that takes you back in time to the horrible holocaust.This will be a good book to use during history class. While studying the holocaust in history, a teacher could take parts of the book and make copies and ask the students how accurate the information is based on what they have learned. Most students will like this activity since the book is written with the use of comics. The pictures in the book will help the students comprehend the story better. On the other hand, this book can be used as a text-to-text connection. The teacher could use this book to compare it to the book "The Diary of Anne Frank". The students could be assigned to read both books and see what story they liked best and find the differences in each story while studying the Holocaust. As a reader, I did not particularly like this book. The story line was good and informative, but I did not like reading the whole book in comic form. I would rather read this same book, but in a regular written book form. I believe Vladek was a very wise man and did all he could do to keep his family alive. Since only Vladek and his wife, out of his immediate family, survived, I believe this is the stress that eventually led to his wife's suicide. Also I think the author/ illustrator was very creative when he used the mice to represent the Jews, the cats to represent the Germans, the pigs to represent the Polish, and the dogs to represent the Americans. I feel that by using these animals he portrayed the totem pole of the races during this time. Overall the book was good, but I did not like ready a novel full of comics.
cindysprocket on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Such an engrossing read. At times I forgot that it was a Graphic Novel. Had to stop reading to look at the graphics,which were very good.
fyrefly98 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: Maus is part memoir and part history lesson; about half Holocaust story, and half a tale of Spiegleman's relationship with his aging father, a Holocaust survivor. Art spends most of the book coaxing his father Vladek to talk to him about his life in Poland before WWII, his time in the Jewish ghetto, and how he survived the concentration camps. All the while he must deal with not only the normal storm of emotions that come with having an aging, fallible parent, but also the added guilt that comes from knowing that parent survived one of the worst horrors of human history, when so many others did not. Review: There are two things that, in my mind, elevate Maus from being just another Holocaust story to really being something unique, and something special. First, the decision to present the story in comic form, and second, the inclusion of the framing story of Art and his father. Both of those were risky choices that could easily have backfired, but in the end, I think both of them worked to Spiegleman's advantage.On the first point: if nothing else, Maus deserves a huge amount of credit for proving that just because it's a comic does not necessarily mean that the story or the subject matter is trivial. The decision to depict everyone involved as animals (Jews are mice, Germans are cats, Polish are pigs, French are frogs, Americans are dogs, etc.) could have easily become silly and made everything inappropriately cutesy, but I think it actually allowed both Spiegleman and the reader to explore the horror of the story without being thoroughly overwhelmed, and while the characters were literally de-humanized, the underlying humanity of the story bled through on every page. The animalizing of the characters did make them all look somewhat alike - it's harder to draw hundreds of distinct-looking mice than it would be for humans - but it was always clear from the context what was going on, and who was supposed to be in the panel.The meta-story, of Art dealing with his father, was another brave choice that worked out wonderfully well. Vladek Spiegleman is not a particularly pleasant man; he's so frugal that he's almost miserly, he fights constantly with his wife, has no qualms about emotionally manipulating his son, and is more than a little bit racist. At the same time, you just can't think those things about a Holocaust survivor - he's been through so much, shouldn't he be allowed to be difficult if he wants to be? By letting Vladek tell the story in his own voice, Art lets us wrestle with these issues for ourselves, and thus gives us an inside view on his own emotional struggles. It makes the book not just about surviving the Holocaust, but what it's like to deal with - and to be - a Holocaust survivor.There were a few meta-meta-story bits that I'm still not sure whether I liked or not. Spiegleman, in the comic, talking about the process of writing the comic, or to his therapist about dealing with the success of the comic, etc. (on one occasion drawn as human but with a tied-on mouse mask) - on the one hand, these things all break the fourth wall and were kind of distracting, but on the other hand, they also add an interesting layer of complexity to the story. Recommendation: Overall, it's an amazing book, if not a particularly comfortable one to read, and it's one that I suspect will stay with me for a long time, and that I think will convince even the most ardent graphic-novel hater that the medium can be used to powerful effect. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
alexandraleaving on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the all-time classics of the graphic novel genre. Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer prize-winning tale weaves the story of his parents' harrowing experiences in concentration camps during World War II with his own reflections on being the child of holocaust survivors. The conceptualisation of the artwork is powerfully rendered, with the Jews portrayed as mice, the Nazis as cats, the Poles as pigs and the Americans as dogs. This is one of my favourite graphic novels of all time.
justjill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've read a lot of books about the holocaust, but this one did an excellent job of describing not only the horror of the actual events, but the lasting effects on the victims and their families decades later.
audramelissa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Spiegelman, born after WWII, interviews his father about his experiences as a Jew living in Nazi-occupied Poland. In the first book, Spiegelman¿s father, Vladek, recounts his life in pre-war Poland and marriage to Art¿s mother and his enlistment in the army. Tales of life in the ghetto and their hidings as the Final Solution is put into effect by the Nazis are depicted in Spiegelman¿s drawings. The second book depicts his father¿s experiences in a concentration camp and his survival and new life in America. Spiegelman uses animal as characters with the Jews depicted as mice and the Germans as cats.
schatzi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I never thought that I would be one for graphic novels, but this one really interested me. When I received the book as a gift, I skimmed through the first couple of pages and was instantly hooked.This book was incredible. It not only chronicles the author's father's survival during the Holocaust - which, in itself, is nothing short of amazing - but the author's strained relationship with his father, the lingering pain still felt by the author (and his father) over his mother's suicide a few decades before, and a discussion over which animal the author's wife should be (she's French [a frog:] but converted to Judaism [a mouse:]).I can see why some people might be offended by the animals chosen for some nationalities - the Poles are pigs and the Americans are dogs - but I don't think there was any slight intended.I'd recommend this book to anyone, even to people who aren't fans of graphic novels (such as myself). The author's style is very expressive - the faces of the poor little mice (as well as some of the pigs and the frog) made me teary on several occasions. This book impacted me more than most of the others I've read about the Holocaust. I seriously cannot recommend it enough.
dono421846 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This graphic novel deserves its stellar reputation. One both admires the father for his crafty ingenuity and survival skills, and loathes the petty tightfisted controller he ultimately became. Was it the war that caused those traits -- although the text points out that other camp survivors did not share his character flaws -- or was it the suicide of his wife? Claiming to love her, he nonetheless destroyed all her diaries. Perhaps because they reflected back how she now saw him? We'll never know. But the success of the book is that we can be both repulsed and respectful of the man, and sympathize with the neurotic reactions of the son. What would we be like, we have to ask, if we'd had to endure what Vladek survived?
melydia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this in two separate volumes but they were back to back so I¿m going to review the whole thing as one. This is the tale of Spiegelman¿s father¿s experiences during the Holocaust in Poland, as told through interviews with his son. There are a large number of flashbacks, but interspersed are present-day exchanges as Spiegelman attempts to deal with his often unreasonable father. A number of interesting things were done here: first, the father¿s imperfect English was kept verbatim, so I could completely hear his Polish accent. Second, various creatures were used to represent various peoples: Jews were mice, Germans were cats, Poles were pigs, Swedes were reindeer, and Americans were dogs. Oddly, the animal attributes were only applied to the heads; the bodies were unquestionably human. The tale itself was one of horror, as expected, but also one of love and hope. The choice to tell it as a comic in stark black and white was a wise one: it really drove it home for me, leaving me with both words and images. The Holocaust - much of WWII, really - remains an incredible, almost unbelievable part of human history, and one that must never be forgotten. Maus is only one story from it, but it is a powerful one nonetheless. Recommended.
Schopflin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm not generally a reader of graphic novels, although I loved 'In the Shadow of No Towers'. Like that, 'Maus' is beautifully drawn, humorous and moving in turns. Graphic novels can avoid some of the criticisms thrown at filmmakers for choosing to depict the holocaust at all or for doing it with too much or too little taste. Having all the main characters with animals heads, for example, removes the sense of reality from the potentially undepictable. How far you can accept a protagonist with the body of a man and the head of a mouse has its own problems of course (and that the Poles and Germans are all depicted with pigs' heads).However, 'Maus' isn't really a holocaust story - it's really about a parent-child relationship. 'Art' the protagonist listens to his father's amazing story of courage, resilience and resourcefulness and admires him - at the same time as finding him as irritating and frustrating as he always did. You don't have to have a parent who has lived through important events in history to feel a gulf between their life achievements and the person you've always known: that's something most of us can identify with. And something I found funny and painful as the best stories of this kind are.
polarbear123 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So many books out there about the Holocaust. What is the point of learning about the Holocaust? Can you become unemotional about it if you rea too much? Perhaps you can and I have certainly read a lot about the topic. However this book has renewed my emotional connection with that tragedy. I know it sounds all a bit cheesy but perhaps the most important thing to learn about this time was the sheer randomness of surviving such horrors. This book probably gets it across more than any amount of historical writing could. For that reason alone I think it is an important book for students of History to read.
dmsteyn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maus - a recounting of Art Spiegelman's own father's experience of WW2 as a Jew - really captures something that I haven't experienced in most other WW2 stories. The rough drawings perfectly fit the matter-of-fact tone of Vladek Spiegelman's story, and the animal imagery doesn't so much dehumanise the characters as accentuate the deceptive simplicity of the tale. The story may be straightforward, but the complexity of human interaction is never obscured: Spiegelman doesn't paint his father as anything but a lucky survivor - in many ways a broken, ravaged man. Nor does he flinch from relating the story of his mother, Anja, who, despite surviving Auschwitz, still committed suicide in America. Why did she kill herself? Art seems as perplexed as the reader. I think it reflects, in many way, the knottiness of all human life. Art doesn't understand - perhaps cannot - understand her death, in the same way that he can neverr really understand his father's experience of Auschwitz.In the end, the story of Spiegelman facing his dead leaves us with the same unanswerable questions: Why? How could any of this really have happened? And will it happen again?
goose114 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maus tells the story of one Jewish man¿s events in Poland during the rise and control of the Nazis. It really brings a personal insight into how Jews in Poland were affected and treated by the Nazis, eventually with the main character ending up in Auschwitz. The story is told by Artie, the son of Vladek, as Artie interviews his father about his time during World War II. Vladek¿s time in Poland is interlaid with the present while Artie is talking with his father about his past. This was a very interesting story that told a personal story of struggle and survival. I liked that the Vladek¿s past was told while telling his story in the present. It really made him come alive. I liked that the story was told through graphics because it gave a different level to a story like this. I never really felt connected with any of the characters though. There were times that I disliked every character. However, the story is an important one that warrants a read.
Echobrain on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Overrated. The artwork is sketchy and looks rushed. The inital premise of Jews as mice and Nazis as cats is a good one but I'm not comfortable with the Polish being depicted as pigs and there's very little characterisation. Art and his father Vladek are well represented but all the other mice are interchangeable and no others stand out. As a record of historical events, Maus works well and highlights many aspects of the Holocaust that history books rarely mention. As a tragedy and a tear-jerker it misses the mark by quite a bit. Shame.
Ayling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my first graphic novel (asides from Tin Tin that I read when I was 11 and the Beano when I was 9!) and I loved it. I don't think it matters whether you like graphic novels or not for this book - so if you're like me and thought you wouldn't get along with it, give it a try.This is an incredibly human account of an individual's experience of being a Polish Jew. Despite the fact the 'characters' are portrayed as animals - it is one of the most human and most real-feeling accounts I've seen or read. This is more then a graphic representation of some random story - it's a personal story between a father and his son as well as the father's journey and experience during this time - running away, living in hiding, in the ghetto and finally in Auschwitz. Art Spiegelman also draws himself in - and the process of writing this graphic novel.I think nowadays it is easy to become desensitised to images of the war - bombs, broken bits of body etc from movies and the such like. Somehow, the cartoon portrayal of these real-people's lives seems to make it more real then ever. Parts made me laugh, parts made me cry particularly in Maus II. By the end I felt a real closeness towards both father and son. I think back over the story and remind myself it is real, that what I read on the pages happened to THIS person not just a fictional representation that happened to a fictional person.It is no 'big hero' blockbuster, but a moving story of a very strong minded man who fought to survive.
ManipledMutineer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The incredibly moving story of the cartoonist's father's experience in surviving the Holocaust, intertwined with the working out of their own difficult relationship. Unputdownable.
flissp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A graphic novel/biography/auto-biography written by Art Spiegelman, about his father, Vladek (also, to a lesser extent, his mother and other relatives), both of whom were Polish Jews and made it first through the Ghetto (not Warsaw), then Auschwitz.I don't know how to review this really, but it will almost certainly be in my top 5 of the year list. It is not just a survival story (although this is the sub-title), woven in is the complicated relationship Art Spiegelman had with his father and his own struggles with himself. Clearly Vladek Spiegelman was a difficult individual and his son shows him warts and all, he doesn't turn him into some mythical hero. But if he is honest about his father, he is also honest about himself (or this is how it comes across anyway).People can be very snotty about graphic novels, but if they're written well and designed in such a format, it can be a fantastic way to add an extra layer to a story. Spiegelman does this extremely well - the images allowing a subtle satire that is only once directly commented on, but somehow, because of that, has a greater impact.