Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Oprah goes to Auschwitz

Oprah, the most important marketing tool for any author, yesterday made her latest "Book Club" choice: Elie Wiesel's Night.

After the debacle of James Frey's truth-challenged "memoir," A Million Little Pieces, which Oprah defended by phone on Larry King Live (and it was a sort of half-baked defense at that), she needed to find a book for her audience whose truth is indisputable and whose message carries real power.

Night is a slim volume, but its weight is immense. It is the story of Wiesel's experiences in a Nazi concentration camp--a tale of horror as seen through the eyes of a teenage boy who can't understand why God would allow it to happen to him and his family. Unlike the Frey book, it wasn't duded up with half-truths in the hopes of its author scoring a three-book/three-picture deal. If Oprah's readers thought the Faulkner was hard to read, I wonder what they'll think of this.

I read Night for the Human Rights course I took under "Dr. March," about whom I've written here before. He and I had another long lunch together recently. He's just back from his annual Christmastime tour of Polish death camps. Yes, you read that right. For a decade, he's taken a group of students each year over the holiday break to nine sites across Poland--always in the dead of winter because, he says, "then you get the full impact of the place...we're in five layers of clothes to keep warm and you think of the prisoners who lived through winters there in bare feet, wearing only cotton pajamas...you can find no better testament to the strength of the human will to survive."

Oprah says she will accompany author Wiesel to Auschwitz soon.

Dr. March says I should go along when he takes his next group abroad in December. "It is a transformative experience. You should do it and write about it," he said. "No, you must do it."

Then he sent me a reading list to help me prepare for the trip. I think he's serious.

I will reread Night.

24 Comments:

Anonymous smirktastic said...

Prof - I've been to Dachau and it was a pretty grim experience. But one I'm glad to have had and will never forget. Go with Dr March. I would love to read your eloquent take on your experiences.

8:49 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Okay. Mid-kid and baby-girl both had to read Night in high school English class (junior year, I think). So, props to their talented and long-suffering English teachers who continue to toil away within the bowels of Houston public schools. (But don't get me started on their so-called "counselors".)

I haven't read the book yet, but I promise to now, Prof.

If you DO make the trip, I have no doubt you will be transformed.

If Oprah makes the trip, we can only hope she will be at least slightly humbled and educated by the experience. I'm not her biggest fan, as you can tell. Can't stand her "my favorite things" giveaway extravaganza shows.

I hope you DO make the trip. Would love to read what you write about it. It could be your second book.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Gene said...

May I suggest you also read The Vanished City: Everyday Life in the Warsaw Ghetto as part of your preparation?

9:11 AM  
Anonymous MomWolf said...

I hope you make the trip. It is absolutely...appalling and amazing and the intensity will make you almost physically ill.

I saw the camps in 1976 as a very naive 20 something. The experience changed me in a very fundamental way.

Go. You won't regret it. Neither will you ever "Get over it".

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Garnigal said...

I haven't been to that area of Europe yet, but it is definately on my list of must see things.

One of the oddest things I ever heard was my brother coming back from a trip through Europe with 9 buddies. Imagine - 10 20-something young men, gone to Europe to ski and enjoy themselves, and apparently hit some of the saddest spots in history. My brother told them they had to do some "important" sight-seeing. Among other things, they went to Dachau and Vimy Ridge.

I've never been so proud of my baby brother.

12:22 PM  
Blogger Clementine said...

This was one of the books on my reading list for my first college English class. After reading it in one sitting, it went on the shelf with my other favorites. (Makes revisiting so much easier when they're all in one place!)

12:34 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

When I was at the D-day Museum in New Orleans, they had an exhibit on Poland and the start of the War. Their story pretty much paralleled the propoganda in most history books.

They conveniently left out the Russian's treaty with Hitler and how they cut Poland in half. Or that Russia killed a million poles when it invaded Poland. And how after the War, the Russians killed off all the Polish Intelligentsia - professors, writers, journalists, autodidacts, engineers, and every single Polish miliary officer and businessman.

We blame the Germans, but half of the blame for Poland belongs with the Russians.

The only difference is that some people survived the German onslaught and wrote about it. And people listened.

Virtually no one survived what the Russians did. We have no narratives of this killing. Or at least no one listened.

And why has the Western intelligentsia not blamed the Soviet Union for its half of the Polish atrocity?

2:46 PM  
Blogger Jacob said...

I read Night in high school and reread it when my wife's seminary prof assigned it winter. I think the more interesting book is Day , Wiesel's pseudo-sequel. The first will make you reflect on what happened, the second will push you to ask what happens afterwards.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read Night last semester--it only took me an hour...I was hooked!

3:42 PM  
Blogger BotanicalGirl said...

I was assigned Night in my high school humanities class. I remember it being chilling, but not the details. Much better than Schindler's List, which I read around the same time and found much too dense.

Another book to add to my re-read list.

Good for Oprah. Bad for Holocaust deniers as all the Oprah fans start reading it. Heh.

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prof,
I'm going to Poland as part of a study-abroad program in May. I read Night in my senior year of high school and cried all the way through, and I'd like to read further. Would you mind posting Dr. March's list?

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd suggest also the works of Primo Levi, an Auschwitz survivor and author, who ultimately committed suicide in 1987 (some say due to survivor guilt and depression).

12:28 PM  
Blogger theprofessor said...

Good idea to post the reading list. I shall do so.

9:07 PM  
Blogger eurotrash101 said...

I'm from Poland and it's a beautiful country burdenened with a history full of tragedy. Hope you visit my home country and be sure to visit Wieliczka (a salt mine) and Krakow.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Lia said...

You should definitely go - and read the whole reading list before you do. I have a feeling that it will be one of the most intense, important trips of your life. It's one I would like to make, too.

9:21 AM  
Blogger graycie said...

Watch the film Night and Fog. It is in French, subtitled in English, and includes footage shot in the camps by the Germans themselves and the liberating Allies. Chilling.

I lived in Munich during my high school years, and I saw Dachau in the early 60s before it took on its current museum persona. At that time, there were two small glass cases, one of them filled with babies' hair with the little bows still tied in. Homeless gypsies were living in the barracks, which still stood. The pathways were paved with cinders from the ovens. After Dachau was made into a museum, it was incredibly powerful and moving, but still somewhat antiseptic and removed. The gritty realities of the 'lefteovers' of the Holocaust still affect me today, over 40 years later.

12:38 PM  
Anonymous highschoolkid07 said...

My History class just took a visit to the Holocaust Museum (the one in the JFK museum building in Dallas) and we had a survivor come and talk to us. I could barely understand what he said and since I got no sleep the night before, I'm sad to say, that I probably nodded off every now and then. As we came out I turned to my friend and asked "D'you get any of that?"
"A little. But it's still a wonderful chance that we got to listen to a REAL survivor."
"Yeh. I know there are probably a ton out there, but I'd be very interested in reading a novel about life in the camp. Quite frankly, listening to a survivor for 20 minutes and reading Anne's life in hiding really, REALLY doesn't do it for me."

And she suggested this book.

10:16 PM  
Blogger Meg said...

Night is wonderful. During my master's program, I took a Theological French course, where I translated chunks of it. Pieces of that still stick with me, many years later.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Adi said...

Get the lates information of Electronics Gadgets Tech gadgets Cool Gadgets New Gadgets Best Gadgets Latest Gadgets Cool New Gadgets

5:11 PM  
Blogger Adi said...

Oes Tsetnoc one of the ways in which we can learn seo besides Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa. By participating in the Oes Tsetnoc or Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa we can improve our seo skills. To find more information about Oest Tsetnoc please visit my Oes Tsetnoc pages. And to find more information about Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa please visit my Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa pages. Thank you So much.
Oes Tsetnoc | Semangat Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa

8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

please don't refer to Nazi death camps as Polish camps. These evil camps were in Poland but they were put there and operated by the Germans.

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lasix Ohne Rezept Bestellen
priligy Ohne Rezept Bestellen
accutane Online Rezeptfrei
lovegra Kaufen Apotheke
achat kamagra oral jelly en ligne
lovegra Rezeptfrei Kaufen
flagyl Rezeptfrei Kaufen
viagra Bestellen
achat accutane france
xenical achat france
nolvadex Bestellen Online
zithromax Rezeptfrei Bestellen
inderal Prix de Vente
Buy kamagra
kamagra oral jelly achat
clomid Ohne Rezept

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amoxil prezzo farmacia
Cialis Professional comprar
acheter Suhagra sans ordonnance
acheter Levaquin
Lexapro vendita online
comprar Avodart
Viagra Soft sin receta
Kamagra vendita online
Wellbutrin Sr prezzo farmacia
comprare Cialis
Viagra Soft rezeptfrei
acheter Cialis Super Active moins cher
Cialis Super Active rezeptfrei
Wellbutrin Sr france pharmacie
Wellbutrin Sr precio farmacia
precio Zovirax
precio Kamagra
achat Kamagra Oral Jelly en france
achat Kamagra Oral Jelly en france
Keflex prezzo farmacia
Zithromax comprar
Apcalis Oral Jelly españa
Plavix sin receta españa
Cialis Super Active rezeptfrei apotheke
Accutane comprar sin receta
Apcalis Oral Jelly senza ricetta
vendita Kamagra Oral Jelly italia
Female Viagra vendita online

4:04 PM  
Blogger Muneer Hussian said...

case study solution
case study solution
case study solution
case study solution

case study solution
case study solution
case study solution
case study solution

case study solution
case study solution
case study solution
case study solution

case study solution
case study solution
case study solution
case study solution

case study solution
case study solution
case study solution
case study solution

case study solution
case study solution
case study solution
case study solution

case study solution
case study solution
case study solution
case study solution

case study solution
case study solution
case study solution
case study solution

7:14 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home