Customer Reviews for

The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

An important book that needed judicious editing

THE LOST is an important book, and Mendelsohn writes with passion and, often, elegance. But the book needed an editor who would have helped Mendelsohn to be less repetitious and long-winded. In many ways, Mendelsohn is trying to mirror in writing the way in which peop...
THE LOST is an important book, and Mendelsohn writes with passion and, often, elegance. But the book needed an editor who would have helped Mendelsohn to be less repetitious and long-winded. In many ways, Mendelsohn is trying to mirror in writing the way in which people orally tell stories, with digressions that eventually make a point. He also tries to bring the reader along on his journey of discovery, so that we go down blind alleys and make erroneous assumptions with him, and find the truth later, as he does. The best parts of the book are the significant questions he raises and the way in which he uses the first chapters of Genesis to explore those questions--like Why does God let innocents die, as must have died in the Flood (Noah's story) and in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah? And, unspoken, is the more modern question: Why did God allow all the innocents to die in the Holocaust? Mendelsohn gives no answers to such questions--they cannot be answered--but they give the book a depth and gravity that make THE LOST more than one man's search for six of his relatives. THE LOST becomes a book of profound meaning and well-worth the irritation of reading through too much repetition and too many page-long sentences.

posted by 4bb on October 12, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Way Too Complicated

Wish someone had written this Before I wasted my time on this book! Every sentence goes on Forever. Way too many complicated words to understand and I am an Avid Reader. Just Don't get.

posted by Anonymous on February 20, 2007

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  • Posted October 12, 2009

    An important book that needed judicious editing

    THE LOST is an important book, and Mendelsohn writes with passion and, often, elegance. But the book needed an editor who would have helped Mendelsohn to be less repetitious and long-winded. In many ways, Mendelsohn is trying to mirror in writing the way in which people orally tell stories, with digressions that eventually make a point. He also tries to bring the reader along on his journey of discovery, so that we go down blind alleys and make erroneous assumptions with him, and find the truth later, as he does. The best parts of the book are the significant questions he raises and the way in which he uses the first chapters of Genesis to explore those questions--like Why does God let innocents die, as must have died in the Flood (Noah's story) and in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah? And, unspoken, is the more modern question: Why did God allow all the innocents to die in the Holocaust? Mendelsohn gives no answers to such questions--they cannot be answered--but they give the book a depth and gravity that make THE LOST more than one man's search for six of his relatives. THE LOST becomes a book of profound meaning and well-worth the irritation of reading through too much repetition and too many page-long sentences.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2007

    Changed my outlook

    I was raised by parents who were Jewish but non-religious. Their parents or grandparents came to America from the area in eastern Europe that is described in this book. I have always known that the Jews who came to America generally did OK, but the relatives who stayed behind in the Old Country were all murdered when the Nazis came through during World War II. I never particularly identified with the people who died, until I read this book. Working in the present day, the author interviews now-elderly survivors of that period of World War II, including elderly Poles and Ukrainians who still live in that town, and the handful of Jews who managed to survive, and now live in other places in the world, such as Israel, Australia, and Scandinavia. The stories the survivors tell about themselves are amazing. Through them, the author gradually learns more and more about six of his relatives: his grandfather's brother and that man's wife and four daughters. At first, the author (and the reader) knows the people only through a few old pictures and half-forgotten stories the author heard when he was a child. As the book progresses, he gradually learns more and more facts about his six relatives, including what they were like, how they struggled to survive, and how they died. Over 99% of the Jews in that town were murdered, mainly in 1943, but not all at the same time. The book reads like a mystery, with more and more facts coming to light. Parts were so painful that I could not read them, and I skipped over portions that involved interpretations of the Torah, but I was fascinated by the portions that shed more light on what happened to this family. With so many millions killed, it was so important to me to learn some details about at least this one family, so they are not all forgotten. Highly recommended, especially for secular Jews who may have avoided stuff like this in the past.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2007

    Way Too Complicated

    Wish someone had written this Before I wasted my time on this book! Every sentence goes on Forever. Way too many complicated words to understand and I am an Avid Reader. Just Don't get.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 15, 2011

    Incredible

    Have just finished this gripping haunting tale. I have read many books about the Holocaust as I grew up in London in WW11. Now in my life it is painful to realize this was going on just across the English channel, while I was happily playing with my dolls. In reading this you become enmeshed in this family and feel like these relatives are yours. This book would never have happened if Shmiel had stayed in America. Fate dealt him a tragic hand. His letters asking for help from his family in the US are haunting. Tuesday 28 October 1941 the Nazis ended a way of life forever. This book is one I will never forget. Everybody. Read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2011

    Fascinating

    My first comment has to do with the NOOK version. On or about page 128, while you are deeply entrenched in the story, the NOOK version skips backward in the page numbers and is the most frustrating and disappointing distraction.

    I was concerned that the book would be too different for a Christian's perspectives, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that despite some verbosity, I found myself relating to his relationships with his family and wishing that I had had the insight and the opportunity to have gotten to know my grandparents better.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2010

    Riveting, Heartbreaking, Gorgeously Written

    Tough to say much more than what other people, here and elsewhere, have said about this book. I simply could not put it down and now cannot get it out of my head. It is so much more than the story of one man's search for the fate of his lost relatives. It is also a meditation on love, the uses of memory, the stories that are told in Genesis, and nothing less than the ways in which we choose to live. It's also a fabulous detective story, tender, spellbinding, painful to read in spots. I've never read a book quite like it. It is a book that has the potential to make us better human beings.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2008

    Too graphic for me

    I read autopsies without batting an eye but this book was too disturbing for me. The descriptions of the treatment of the Jews by the Germans and Ukrainians was just too horrible for me so I quit at about pg 200. I skipped the portions of the Hebrew writings to focus on the family genealogy portion. The story seemed to wander rather than sticking to a date time line or following a particular family member. Back to the old blood and guts mysteries for me.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2013

    Half a book

    I ordered the Nook version of The Lost as my first Nook book after receiving the HD+ for Christmas. Unfortunantly, after 226 wonderful pages the Nook version stops and resets to page 178. After several attempts to get this, first, duplicated, and corrected I am still waiting to see how pages 227 through 501 turn out. For a NYT Best Seller when I bought it I feel ripped and will now settle for a warning in the shop so others do not wait over 2 months for a book that has no restrictions on it and a hardcover for my time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2012

    Bad Format for Nook

    These comments only apply to the Nook version of this otherwise great book.

    There is no way to view this book in a single column in landscape mode, as I have been able to do with some Nook books. On an android phone, this makes the book unreadable, since in landscape you will end up with two narrow columns on either side of the screen.

    While I would recommend the printed version of this book, the Nook version is a huge disappointment..

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2010

    Haunting

    I was completely absorbed in this book. It stresses the importance of knowing your family history and asking questions of your family members while they are still able to tell you your history. A sad story but an important one. Lovingly told by the author.

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  • Posted October 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Must Read!

    Although this is the story of six lost among millions in the Holocaust, any family, of any culture, that has undergone traumatic persecution, can identify and be swept into the story.

    This should be required reading due to the very detailed and painstaking research that went into it's writing!

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  • Posted August 25, 2009

    Extraordinary Achievement

    An excellent book, from a perspective that I hadn't seen much explored before: what was being done by friends and neighbors in the towns and villages of eastern Europe even before the actual onset of the concentration camps. This book is sweet and touching in the beginning, horrifying in the middle (because every lethal act is happening to someone we now know) and -- well, I don't know how to describe the ending. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2009

    LOST was quite an undertaking for the author and his brother. The amount of time taken to research and write this story is amazing.

    My book club read this book and most of us liked it. This is not an easy read. The story of Mendelsohn's search for his six realatives was very interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Painful but true

    This is the carefully researched true story of a family's search for knowledge of family members killed in the Holocaust. Occasionally gruesome, but how could it not be, given the subject. The book is not a light read, but neither is it difficult to follow. For serious readers and especially those interested in the Holocaust in Eastern Europe.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    This book is compelling!

    I recieved this book as a gift. Knowing that I like to read stories of wwII the gift was well recieved. This book has it all expecially suspence. The author wrote an exceptional book. I can honestly say that I dont believe I have the drive that he did to find his geneology. But he does put it in ones mind the question" how long has my family existed"? This book had it all. It had love, suspence and drama. It will clearly make you think. Spiritually or emotionally you can not help but to wonder. I read this book from cover to cover and I thought it was so well written. Just one negative I thought there was. Some of the sentances make you run out of breath even if you are reading it to yourself. I know probably in the near future I will read it again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2007

    Wonderful Book

    This book was riveting and extremely personal. It was beautifully written and I commend the author for continuing to persevere to find his family's story. This is the best book that I have read in 2007.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2007

    A great story

    I felt this book was a little hard to get into at first but once I did I could not put it down. Stick with it, if you like true stories with a little humor and mystery mixed in, you'll love this book. I wish we could have known more about the survivors that the author spoke to throughout his travels. Their stories would have been equally as gripping. I think Daniel Mendolsohn was funny and sad at the same time. This book was beautifully written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2007

    Mesmerizing journey, never ending language

    I believe the author is a writing instructor. His work is a multi-year search for the truth about the loss of six family members in eastern europe during the Nazi occupation. It is a passionate, suspenseful tale of the ups, downs, ins and outs of his search. At times it was quite emotional, at other times horrifying, sometimes frustrating. While it was in part a look at the holocaust, it was also a look at the lingering effects on those who survived, as well as on the family of those who did not. It was overall a good read. Two things stopped if from being a great read. First was his parallel discussion of the judaic analysis of the book of creation. I found it distracting and boring. Second, while the author obviously has a strong command of english, at times I thought he had too much command. I felt, if given the choice, he would use fifty words where ten would do. As such, the journey, while riveting, at times bogged down in repetitious verbage. Yet, I was glad I read the book, I just wish there wasn't so much of it to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2007

    I could not stop reading this amazing book.

    This well written true story affirmed my belief that the survivors of the Holocaust were also psychologically injured and suffered from the unbearable memories of the events they had endured.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2006

    one of the best books i have ever read

    The Lost is truly a masterpiece. As an avid reader (english major in college) of a number of great books over the years, i am at a loss to recall a book that had such a profound effect on me. Mendelsohn incorporates his struggle to understand the lives of relatives killed in the holocaust, hispersonal search for meaning, and struggle to come to grips with the wide range of human behavior in a unique and moving way that causes inspiration and introspection. He is a brilliant and talented writer and is able to put it all together in a captivating way. I could not put this book down and am depressed that i have finished the book-- i didnt want this to end. This is a classic and i give this my highest possible recommendation.

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