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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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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