The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale

The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale

4.6 42
by Art Spiegelman

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On the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of its first publication, here is the definitive edition of the book acclaimed as “the most affecting and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust” (Wall Street Journal) and “the first masterpiece in comic book history” (The New Yorker).

The Pulitzer


On the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of its first publication, here is the definitive edition of the book acclaimed as “the most affecting and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust” (Wall Street Journal) and “the first masterpiece in comic book history” (The New Yorker).

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father’s story. Maus approaches the unspeakable through the diminutive. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), shocks us out of any lingering sense of familiarity and succeeds in “drawing us closer to the bleak heart of the Holocaust” (The New York Times).

Maus is a haunting tale within a tale. Vladek’s harrowing story of survival is woven into the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father. Against the backdrop of guilt brought by survival, they stage a normal life of small arguments and unhappy visits. This astonishing retelling of our century’s grisliest news is a story of survival, not only of Vladek but of the children who survive even the survivors. Maus studies the bloody pawprints of history and tracks its meaning for all of us.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A loving documentary and brutal fable, a mix of compassion and stoicism [that] sums up the experience of the Holocaust with as much power and as little pretension as any other work I can think of.”
The New Republic

“A quiet triumph, moving and simple–impossible to describe accurately, and impossible to achieve in any medium but comics.”
–The Washington Post

“Spiegelman has turned the exuberant fantasy of comics inside out by giving us the most incredible fantasy in comics’ history: something that actually occurred…. The central relationship is not that of cat and mouse, but that of Art and Vladek. Maus is terrifying not for its brutality, but for its tenderness and guilt.”
The New Yorker

“All too infrequently, a book comes along that’s as daring as it is acclaimed. Art Spiegelman’s Maus is just such a book.”

“An epic story told in tiny pictures.”
The New York Times

“A remarkable work, awesome in its conception and execution… at one and the same time a novel, a documentary, a memoir, and a comic book. Brilliant, just brilliant.”
–Jules Feffer

Wall Street Journal
The most affecting and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust.
San Francisco Examiner
The power of Spiegelman's story lies in the fine detail of the story and the fact that it is related in comic-strip form.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Spiegelman's startling comic about the Holocaust, which revolves around his survivor father's experiences, won a 1992 Pulitzer Prize. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
YA Told with chilling realism in an unusual comic-book format, this is more than a tale of surviving the Holocaust. Spiegelman relates the effect of those events on the survivors' later years and upon the lives of the following generation. Each scene opens at the elder Spiegelman's home in Rego Park, N.Y. Art, who was born after the war, is visiting his father, Vladek, to record his experiences in Nazi-occupied Poland. The Nazis, portrayed as cats, gradually introduce increasingly repressive measures, until the Jews, drawn as mice, are systematically hunted and herded toward the Final Solution. Vladek saves himself and his wife by a combination of luck and wits, all the time enduring the torment of hunted outcast. The other theme of this book is Art's troubled adjustment to life as he, too, bears the burden of his parents' experiences. This is a complex book. It relates events which young adults, as the future architects of society, must confront, and their interest is sure to be caught by the skillful graphics and suspenseful unfolding of the story. Rita G. Keeler, St. John's School , Houston

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Maus Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.36(w) x 6.72(h) x 1.15(d)
Age Range:
15 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Art Spiegelman is a contributing editor and artist for The New Yorker, and a co-founder / editor of Raw, the acclaimed magazine of avant-garde comics and graphics. His drawings and prints have been exhibited in museums and galleries here and abroad. Honors he has received for Maus include the Pulitzer Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship, and nominations for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He lives in New York City with his wife, Françoise Mouly, and their two children, Nadja and Dashiell.

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Complete Maus 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Complete Maus was an amazing book to read! Art Spiegelman's description of his father's life during World War II gives the story a personal feel that completely draws you into the book. However, Spiegelman's somewhat blunt descriptions of the horrors that occurred in the Jewish ghettos and the concentration camps also make this a depressing read because Vladek, his father, witnessed so many tragic deaths. Additionally, Maus is filled with "present day" scenes in which Spiegelman shares his difficulties in extracting the story from his father and it also helps tie in aspects of WWII with current events. One of the most heartbreaking parts of Maus was the connection Vladek had with his first son, Richieu, who was killed when he was a very young child. Even after Vladek's wife, Anja, gave birth to Artie (the author of Maus) he still lamented the death of his first son, which is a key part of Maus and helps keep the reader engrossed with the story. One thing readers should be cautious about is the depth of the story. Although it is written as a comic book, Maus is filled with as much sadness and hope as any other Holocaust book. So, just make sure that if you pick up Maus, you don't begin reading it thinking it will be a "light read," because the truth behind Spiegelman's words will knock you over. Also, readers should know that there are brief references to suicide, hangings, and extreme violence within both Maus novels, so if you can't handle those topics, don't read Maus. However, The Complete Maus is also filled with Vladek's struggle for survival, and although it is over one of the most tragic periods of history, I highly recommend that you read it. I give The Complete Maus 5 out of 5 stars, easily.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book much like the first maus i could not put down the story boarding is very good. you won't find a better book that teaches both the horrors and hardships of the jews during the holocaust.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm going to start off by saying this is a fantastic book for anyone first starting to learn about the holocaust specifically younger kids in middle school. I say this because the book is informative enough to where you would get the gist of what is going on, but not detailed enough to where it would overwhelm kids and keep them from wanting to know more about the holocaust. I gave this book four starts because it can be a little difficult to start reading because it likes to jump form scene to scene and kind of can get confusing from time to time. Let me tell you that this is one of the best developing books i have ever read. It goes from mildly interesting with an okay plot to an engulfing piece of art, no pun intended on the authors name. This book is fantastic, a definitely a must read!
Runner510 More than 1 year ago
I purchased this for my son, who had to read it for his high-school freshman history class's unit on WWII and the Holocaust. Lucky kid! Not that this is a fun story, but as far as I'm concerned, it's an unsurpassed example of the graphic novel at its best. He definitely got a lot out of the book, as I have in several readings over the years. I've owned MAUS in its original incarnation (2 volumes in hardcover) for 20-odd years, but I thought my son would benefit from having his own copy--a guarantee, as well, that my copies wouldn't get destroyed or lost being transported to & from school. This edition is a handsome hardcover, and though the illustrations aren't as sharp and rich as in my older edition, I highly recommend it to anyone interested in this period of history or the graphic novel form.
MysteryLoverPA More than 1 year ago
My grandson had to read an excerpt for American Literature - he's a Junior. He found it so interesting he asked us to buy the full book - excellent!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Extraordinary! he is a not biased author which I like a lot about Mr. Spiegelman. Maus is really touching. I would read this book over and over again because it is a graphic novel!
CollectorNY More than 1 year ago
Beautiful edition.I sought to obtain original editions in hardcover but they were difficult to come by.This edition is the next best thing.A touching account of a Jewish survivor of NAZI occupied europe and his recounting of his experiences to his son.Great for a gift.All my children loved it as I did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This review contains some minor spoilers in an attempt to better describe this product. First of all, when I purchased The Complete Maus, I was expecting the story to mainly take place inside a Nazi concentration camp. This is not the case. The first book, My Father Bleeds History, slowly brings the Nazis in and has the main character on the run trying to escape them. The concentration-camp portion of the story starts with the second book, And Here My Troubles Began, and is only about 1/4 to 1/3 the overall story. Maus covers the concentration camps well, and I did learn additional facts about them, but I was really expecting to learn more than what was provided. For example, doctor Mengele was barely mentioned in the book. The reason behind this is probably because anyone who ever found out what he did likely died at the hands of him. Nonetheless, I was a bit disappointed to find out that I knew most of the facts about the camps already. I did learn a lot about how the Jews escaped the Nazis' grasp before going to the camps, though, and this made up for it. Also, the main character displays a brilliant knack for getting out of bad situations. I found his cleverness impressive and entertaining. I feel that Maus is on the whole more of a survival story and less of a concentration-camp history lesson, which is entirely supported by its subtitle, A Survivor's Tale. While the two books appear to paint an awfully broad stroke, the details are all there for the taking. If you know nothing or very little about the Holocaust, this is an excellent starting point. Even if you do know about the Holocaust, this should still be an interesting read.
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It is a great book! If you like reading about the Holocaust then you will really enjoy it. It is somewhat romantic; telling the story of how it happened during this horrible time and how he deals with what happened afterwards.
The_Alternative More than 1 year ago
The strength of this story is the true account of the elder Spiegelman's struggles to survive the Holocaust as a Polish Jew in Warsaw. It is interspersed with the author's troubled relationship with his father and the strength of the two to tell the story. The father because he has never before spoken of his experiences and the son to understand the pain and suffering his father endured. All the characters in this work of art are represented as ethnological animals, an insightful and creative machination on the part of the artist. The Jews, for example, are depicted as scrawny mice (thus Maus, German for "mouse"), the Nazi's as plump over-fed cats, and the Polish military officers as prodigious pigs. The only humanistic renderings in the book take place during the back story of the suicide of the author's mother. But these graphic depictions do not distract from the powerful demonstrative story of the struggle to survive not only the worst war of our time but the worst moments in human history. In fact, they serve only to enhance it. Wonderful storytelling and exceptional art make this a must read for the historians as well as the emotionalists among us. This book is a unique combination of docu-drama, biography, and comic-strip all rolled into one and it works on a grand scale. 5 out of 5 stars
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JacobGaumer-Central More than 1 year ago
The graphic novel, Maus is about a family of mice, which the main characters are Vladek, Artie, and Anja. The mice are Jewish, living during the reign of Adolf Hitler; whose Nazi "workers" are cats, which put this novel in the "cat and mouse" metaphor. The many twists and turns in this graphic novel will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time. The author, Art Spiegelman, wrote this book after his own experience. He is Artie, and his parents, Vladek and Anja, who had an affair with each other in their previous marriages; then they got together and had Artie. Art Spiegelman, in real life, was a comic book writer as a child, and he wrote a book called Prisoner on the Hell Planet: a Case Study. This was about his mother's suicide; it is in the actual novel, like a book in a book. Anja's suicide is the beginning of a downward spiral to the experience at concentration camps. The fact that the book is a true story, it cannot really be judged; and the fact that it is a graphic novel, changes everything about the book. I personally enjoyed the book, and I am not a wild graphic novel fan myself, and it really interested me. Although some refer to it as a "picture book," it does not distract the reader as some think it would. The pictures actually add a lot of, not only character, but understanding to the book. I followed and enjoyed the book very much. :)