Guide Novels of Testimony and Resistance from Central America

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Authors revealing the sordid depths plumbed by mankind are wordsmiths of singular talent, who stare with unfaltering courage into the abyss. Night , Eliezer "Elie" Wiesel's account of his experiences as a 15 year old boy during the Holocaust, is a memoir of prodigious power: his humanity shines from every page as he bears witness to the tragedy which befell the Jewish race at the hands of the Nazis. Wiesel was a Romanian-born Jew whose home town of Sighet was occupied by the Hungarians for most of the second world war.

In May , all the Jews in the area were forced into cattle wagons and transported to Auschwitz.

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The concentration camp there shocks with its brutality and indifference to life, and to visit Auschwitz II-Birkenau — where each of the four crematoria attended to the daily slaughter of several thousand Jews — is to witness the void that remains when man abandons all morality. It is a scene of apocalyptic proportions: grotesque brick chimneys point their sombre fingers to the heavens, whilst all that remains of the majority of the wooden barracks are their ruined foundations.

The rubble of a crematorium cowers under the weight of its own atrocities, and a brittle wind scours the air.

The anguish of the past is still snagged on the barbed wire, and a terrible misery stagnates over the camp, its spores infiltrating the hearts of visitors in the 21st century. The desolation is overwhelming. A person's name is subliminally bound up in the fabric of their existence: it tethers them to the past and anticipates their future remembrance. When seeking to expunge every vestige of Jewish identity from Europe, the Nazis were not content to uproot each and every Jew, rob them of their worldly possessions, shave their hair and clothe them in rags: the ultimate affront to their identity was the replacing of every prisoner's name with a number.

This was integral to the Nazis' desire to dehumanise the Jews: a number on a list carries far fewer intimate human connotations than a name. In Night, Wiesel and the other inmates were "told to roll up our left sleeves and file past the table.

The Tragedy of the American Military

The three 'veteran' prisoners, needles in hands, tattooed numbers on our left arms. I became A From then on, I had no other name. Wiesel's prose is quietly measured and economical, for florid exaggeration would not befit this subject. Yet, at times, his descriptions are so striking as to be breathtaking in their pungent precision.


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He writes through the eyes of an adolescent plunged into an unprecedented moral hinterland, and his loss of innocence is felt keenly by the reader. His identity was strained under such conditions: "The student of Talmud, the child I was, had been consumed by the flames. Anyone who reads this magnificent memoir will partake of that luminous transformation.

Reading it will change you, perhaps forever.

Slavery, Memory and Literature

It bears eloquent witness to injustice and atrocity and to how observing them shaped a fearless poet. She remembers as much as possible, and the resulting memoir, once read, is difficult to forget. This clarion work of remembrance, this indelible testimony to a horrific battle in the unending struggle for human rights, justice, and peace, stands with the dispatches of Isabel Allende, Eduardo Galeano, Pablo Neruda, and Elena Poniatowska.

This incredible book shapes chaos into accountability. It marries the attentive sensibility of a master poet with the unflinching eyes of a human rights activist. Here, she shares with us what few writers ever share: a story of how, by trial of fire at the beginning of the horrific war in El Salvador, she found her voice. Both an account of the education of a great contemporary writer, and a spell-binding story of a journey and friendship, this book is first and foremost a call to action.

It asks us to pay attention in a time of our own turmoil. It shows us just how to do what we as a nation so desperately need to do: to remove the blindfold and open our eyes. The book is right on time, though it took decades to write. Now while we are creating a festering, wounded border in America, and a pit of crime and cruelty, this book shows us how such a thing happened, not from the US point of view, but through the eyes of the oppressed. What We're Reading Read more.

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