Customer Reviews for

All But My Life

Average Rating 4.5
( 81 )
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(63)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

The true story of a young girl who had lost all but her life.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the holocaust because it demonstrates how strength and love can be found in unlikely places and how hope can still exist when all else is lost. Gerda, a real holocaust survivor, writes in a way that is so pe...
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the holocaust because it demonstrates how strength and love can be found in unlikely places and how hope can still exist when all else is lost. Gerda, a real holocaust survivor, writes in a way that is so personal that you feel like you are in the story with her constantly battling for life and overcoming hopelessness. When each member of Gerda's family is shipped separately to different camps and until she is liberated Gerda is constantly telling herself lies and holding the picture of her homecoming in her heart for strength by believing that she has something left to live for after the war. This really is still something I think about and how after the war she never returned to the home of her childhood because deep down she knew that her family was dead and was never coming back home. Another part that made me put down the book and think about was when Gerda had put together a play to entertain her fellow prisoners and to amuse her jailers. Gerda was glad to make them all forget about their doomed futures and make them smile. This gave all the girls hope that someday everything might be normal and reminded them that the rhythm of the work camps is not the only thing that exists in the world. Gerda finds love and kindness from an unlikely American solider to a German officer who risks everything to bring the girls notes into the camp they work at. Gerda is an extremely strong woman to overcome the slaughter of her childhood home, her family, her friends, and the loss of all but her life.

posted by Cougar_H on December 15, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Great Book in context not so grest in editing

This was a well written memoir. I would recommend for anyone who is interested in this subject matter. HOWEVER, I am very disappointed with the editing. I was reading along & when I turned the page it wouldn ' t make sense. Sometimes a phrase would be missing but...
This was a well written memoir. I would recommend for anyone who is interested in this subject matter. HOWEVER, I am very disappointed with the editing. I was reading along & when I turned the page it wouldn ' t make sense. Sometimes a phrase would be missing but once it must have been several sentances. I have no idea why the SS picked her out to go into the woods. The next page they were marching again. For several other books this has happened and there have been other typos. But they were free. I paid for this one. I AM VERY UNHAPPY WITH BARNES AND NOBLE

posted by Anonymous on July 19, 2013

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  • Posted December 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The true story of a young girl who had lost all but her life.

    I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the holocaust because it demonstrates how strength and love can be found in unlikely places and how hope can still exist when all else is lost. Gerda, a real holocaust survivor, writes in a way that is so personal that you feel like you are in the story with her constantly battling for life and overcoming hopelessness. When each member of Gerda's family is shipped separately to different camps and until she is liberated Gerda is constantly telling herself lies and holding the picture of her homecoming in her heart for strength by believing that she has something left to live for after the war. This really is still something I think about and how after the war she never returned to the home of her childhood because deep down she knew that her family was dead and was never coming back home. Another part that made me put down the book and think about was when Gerda had put together a play to entertain her fellow prisoners and to amuse her jailers. Gerda was glad to make them all forget about their doomed futures and make them smile. This gave all the girls hope that someday everything might be normal and reminded them that the rhythm of the work camps is not the only thing that exists in the world. Gerda finds love and kindness from an unlikely American solider to a German officer who risks everything to bring the girls notes into the camp they work at. Gerda is an extremely strong woman to overcome the slaughter of her childhood home, her family, her friends, and the loss of all but her life.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 19, 2013

    It was one of the best inspirational books i've read in a long t

    It was one of the best inspirational books i've read in a long time. I finished this book within 2 days because i couldn't put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2014

    Sad

    A very good book. But also very sad

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    It goes on the shelf with the book thief

    I loved this book and read it in a day. It definitely goes up on the shelf with the book thief and between shades of grey.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2013

    Loved it!!!

    This book was so awesome. I really felt the emotion from Gerda!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    Highly recommended

    Is so detailed about her feelings

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  • Posted April 8, 2013

    I highly recommend this book, I saw Gerda Weissmann Klein on a m

    I highly recommend this book, I saw Gerda Weissmann Klein on a morning talk show here in Phoenix and got very interested in her story, so glad I went out and bought the book, she is a woman to admire, I will never forget her story, she is truly admirable!

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  • Posted January 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Must-read Holocaust memoir

    Gerda is a bit different than many of the Polish Jews during the Holocaust, in that her little town was a bit fluid its German/Polish identification. As a border town, it used to be a part of Austria-Hungary, so many of its citizens spoke German as their first language (she actually admits that it was her first, and the language of her mother). So she had a fairly strong German connection, spoke the language, and was generally pretty immersed within the culture. In fact, in the beginning, when she describes the town's reaction to Hitler invading, and all the celebrations surrounding his arrival in Poland in 1939, she hints off-hand that the town was never that welcoming to Jews in general; her family and many other Jews had always had a sense of being "below" the rest of the population, and the coming of Hitler had simply allowed a physical manifestation of the already-present anti-Semitic mentality.

    Gerda originally penned her memoir in 1957, a little over ten years after her liberation, and then wrote an epilogue for the re-issue in 1997, a contrast which I found very illuminating. In her original memoir, her voice is very simple, very straight-forward, and somewhat immature and unpolished. She is a teenager interrupted, and her interpretations are through her own limited young perspective, without the ability to relate past her own self. Her original telling of her own reactions and thoughts are very genuine and raw, and it reflects much of her culture of quiet disbelief, yet an immense patience to simply wait for a time when things will eventually get better again, as they always have during times of historical persecution. She even mentions why she thinks the Jewish people went so quietly to their own deaths: They still had faith that humanity couldn't commit such atrocities.

    Her later voice, in the epilogue, is one that has seem many years since, and relates her own experiences differently. She mentions her parents, how she herself, having become a mother three times over, now knows the terror and the quiet courage that her own parents and many other must have felt, her disappointment that she couldn't relate at the time, and her immense appreciation for things and instances that most people would never be able to appreciate. It is a voice that has seen much more reflection than the voice in her original memoir, and the contrast is beautiful.

    The Holocaust and atrocities might have sprouted roots and gained initial momentum from the rife antisemitism and hatred in the Nazi regime, but it was only allowed to come to full fruition by the passivity and indifference from those surrounding. Individual memoirs like this, and people like Gerda who share their experiences and appreciations remind us that terrible things happen, but those that chose to do nothing are ultimately just as guilty as those that committed the crimes

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2012

    Worth it!

    Amazing!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2012

    Unforgettable

    Amazing story told by a brave girl. A must read for all ages. W
    This book will stay in your heart forever!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2012

    Amazing

    Absolutley one of the best books i have ever read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2010

    A Story With Hope

    In Gerda Weissmann Klein's masterpiece All But My Life, elucidates the tragic story of a adolescent girl who is drawn into the Holocaust. Throughout the novel, the adolescence and her family are shipped to different concentration camps one at a time, to a point where all of the members have vanished from existence. She endures the journey of pain, through the dark, and difficult and trying times of the various slave-labor camps. Although through her own character, unexpected sacrifices of her dear friends, and many coincidences, the youth survives the horrid camps. All But My Life, clearly depicts the themes of how morality is truly an option, which shows that no matter if people have freedom or not, they will forever have the choice to act with morality and compassion. Also, in order to survive the dramatic events, Gerda shows that sustaining the power of hope in the course of harsh times can provide others with hope and joy. Reading this novel, I did like the flow of the story and the various themes in the book, which give people a clear understanding of them. Along with the flow of the story, I also liked the characters of the tale, which provide different backgrounds and added emotions. I suggest this novel to those who are very interested in the events and experiences of the Holocaust, or are just looking for something to pass the time with. I would also recommend the Schindler's List.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2010

    I think everyone should read this book

    It will be a book that stays with you. It should no matter what you are dealt in life that you can overcome it and move on. It is also a time in history that should not be forgotten and not repeated again. It is difficult to read and times but needed. I also saw the documentary that was done and highly recommend it. Please have this book recommended or on required reading lists.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2010

    Hopeful read

    A wonderfully written, first-person account, by a truly inspiring woman. I have read many books on the holocaust. Few make you feel hopeful at the end, the way All but My Life made me feel. Mrs. Weissmann-Klein's writing style is so personal, I found myself inside her story. A courageous account that I highly recommend!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Phenomenal Holocaust Memoir.....

    ALL BUT MY LIFE recounts the story of Gerda Weissmann, a young woman forced into slave labor for the Nazis during the Holocaust. Stripped from her father, mother, and brother, Gerda must endure cruel working conditions, little to no food, and harsh weather as she fights for survival during Nazi Germany in the 1940s. Gerda promised her father that she wouldn't give up and with her mother's last words of "Be Strong", young Gerda keeps going, even when there is no hope left.

    The book is divided into three parts. In Part One, we learn of Gerda and her immediate family before the war and during the beginning of the war. They are a family of pure strength and love. I was struck by the intense closeness of her family and cried when they were ripped apart.

    In Part Two, we relive Gerda's experiences during her time in the Nazi labor camps, being shuttled from one camp to the next, some better than others. The friendships Gerda is able to make with other girls at camp are heartwarming, yet heart wrenching. How hard it must be to become close to someone who may not be there the next minute, hour, or day? The decisions Gerda makes throughout this period are, at times, unbelievable, yet she survived. I have no doubt that she was meant to live to tell her story and that of her family and friends. What if Gerda had made a different decision at a crucial crossroads?

    Finally, in Part Three, we are told of Gerda's life after she was liberated by Lt. Kurt Klein, who becomes her husband. What an incredible love story.

    This is a book of inspiration, faith, and hope. It will definitely make one think of problems in a new light. If the human spirit can endure what Gerda did, then we all can survive what is thrown at us, even when it seems like we cannot.

    I whole-heartedly recommend this book to everyone. It's phenomenal. I cannot praise it enough. Although it is not an easy book to read, the message it sends is one of hope and strength. We can all survive, we can all make it. Thank you for telling us your story, Mrs. Klein. It is not one I will ever forget. 5+ stars!

    Jennifer
    http://www.crazy-for-books.com

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  • Posted September 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    All But My Life

    This is the amazing and heart-wrenching story of one brave and spirited young Jewish woman's survival of the Holocaust including her imprisonment in slave labor camps and a three month forced march from Germany to Czechoslovakia.
    Many of the first hand details of her horrifying experience are unfathomable and difficult to read and absorb; the starvation, physical abuse, murder, death and suffering of so many.
    But what is amazing is Gerda's interminable spirit and her dedication to her convictions. She could have done things that may have alleviated some of her suffering but she never compromised her values. There were times it seemed that her choices might bring her to her death.
    Also amazing was the fact that she continued to have hope. There were moments when she felt she had lost all hope, but even then she continued to honor the promise she made to her father. At the end, during the death march, she hoped for liberation and continued to encourage her friends to survive. The death march started with 2,000 young women and ended with only 120 survivors. Every morning she would wake to see many who had died during the night.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2009

    all but my life

    good read. had to read for a class. but i really thought it was good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2009

    Touching and inspiring

    This is a touching reminder of the horror that occurred during World War II and of the amazing strength and hope of those who lived through it. Gerda writes her story in such a way as to almost shield the readers (and herself) from the day-to-day horrors she saw and survived. Most atrocities are vaguely mentioned and not dwelled on. She shows courage and strength at every turning point, every moment. She adeptly balances the infinite sadness of the Holocaust and the undefeatable will to live.

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  • Posted March 18, 2009

    tom cox's review pplease comment

    Pet project by Tom Cox
    When I started to read this book, I thought it would be another amazing book about the struggles and hardships of the Holocaust. I was extremely wrong; it was way more than that! Gerda Weissmann Klein takes you through every night, every tear that was shed, and every breath that was taken in her journey of survival with her family, and without her family.
    Gerda went through, along with thousands of others, the fear, pain, and desperation that millions of others couldn't even understand in a life time. She has recreated the scenes from her house, the burned down church, and the Nazis marching down the street as if you were right by her side.
    She shows you this story to the very detail. This book was the greatest book I have read about the holocaust. One way that she helped us to understand her situation was through the letters she sent to people like Abek, and her uncle in Turkey. She really creates a mental image of every single scene.
    My favorite part of the book was when she decided to turn down two offers to make her life better, but by turning down those offers she saved her self from the hidden death the was to come to the people of where she was offered to stay. One way the book that really made me think about some of the Nazi's was when the SS leader of her factory saved her when she was sick because one of the cruelest men in the SS came to "liquidate" the unfit to work and at the time she was sick but the lady forced her to get up and go to a machine so she wasn't sent to Auschwitz.
    READ THIS BOOK NOW OR ELSE

    haha my teacher

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  • Posted October 28, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    ...an amazing story

    I picked out this book to read for a school project. It is an amazing to read how she survived-both physically and mentally-through all the tragedies. It's just an amazing book and really touches you.. its very sad but an amazing story. I reccomend this book to everybody. It really got me interested in books about the holocost- it was a very sad and tragic time and the Nazis were incredibly sick. This book almost brought tears to my eyes.

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