Additional praise for Nein, Nein, Nein!
"Mordantly funny . . . Fusing provocative insights with razor-edged wit, this offers a captivating take on a haunting chapter of history."
—Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review
“There aren’t many authors today who are willing to revisit the Holocaust and write about it. But then again, most authors aren’t Jerry Stahl, who has the chutzpah to pull it off masterfully . . . The author’s witty prose is appreciated because without levity a trip around the concentration camp horn would make any man or woman beg for mercy. His ability to provide his readers with a seat on the bus to experience the tour is exceptional. There was only one man for this job, and that man is Jerry Stahl.”
—Vol. 1 Brooklyn
“[A]ll his books showcase Stahl’s lacerating humor and his talent for staring straight down the tunnel of humanity’s darkest impulses . . . Stahl’s new memoir is no exception: Call Nein, Nein, Nein! a travelogue through hell, both an account of concentration camp tourism and a personal mediation on its meaning.”
—Orange County Register
"The hallucinatory self-depreciation of Jerry Stahl's memoir allows for a nuanced look at the audacity of the ugly American . . . Stahl is celebrated for his masochistic honesty that is never less than brutal and almost always on the other side of hope, but in Nein, Nein, Nein!, we get something dangerously close to an Anne Frank-level of optimism."
“There’s a laugh on almost every page of Nein, Nein, Nein, but for all his wit and somewhat skewed perspective, Stahl never loses sight of the gravity of the places he visits . . . Stahl’s book shows the thought processes of a man feeling at his lowest soothing his ‘shpilkes’ by experiencing one of the most sobering, draining tours one can possibly imagine. For him, it’s cathartic, and readers might find it to be the same for them.”
"While Nein, Nein, Nein! is darkly confessional, it is also an exploration of how we remember the Holocaust and whether it is even possible to properly mourn and honor the victims of unspeakable tragedy . . . The result is a sort of gonzo travel book about the ways the Holocaust is memorialized, commercialized and trivialized in the countries where it took place.
—Jewish Telegraphic Agency
"Crackling . . . Bizarre, distressing, hilarious and hopeful. Read it immediately."
“Stahl is Jewish, and his dark gallows humor is one that many Jews will recognize as they read this book. He blends personal history with general history, and captures snippets of bigotry and antisemitism in 2016 with the rearview mirror that we have now of what was to come. It’s an unexpectedly insightful book — not an easy read, but worth it.” —Bookriot
"Stahl's talent, one that's central to a rich Jewish legacy, is turning the tragic and cruel, the unjust and infuriating into something funny. With nimble pacing, he wryly reveals humanity's baser instincts—the hypocrisy, the often commercialized, performative morality—exposing what lies (in all senses of the word) beneath."
"Nein, Nein, Nein! is the unbelievable true story of a guided bus tour to Nazi concentration camps, told as only Jerry Stahl can tell it, with an acid wit as deadly serious as it is hilarious, insane, and weirdly life-affirming. The destinations he describes are real, but who else would dare to take us there? Stahl is fearless, gripping, and most unsparing about his own damned soul. I read everything he writes."
—Eric Bogosian, actor/playwright
"There’s dark humor, and then there is Nein, Nein, Nein! Jerry Stahl manages a balancing act here that would put all the trapeze artists of the world to shame."
—Lucy Sante, author of Low Life
"A disturbing, funny, dark travelogue."
“Few have such an eye for life’s perverse absurdity as Jerry Stahl, and his disturbing, hilarious, self- deprecating, and honest voice jumps off the page in Nein, Nein, Nein! There is nobody I’d rather take this gnarly journey with than Stahl, whose gonzo literary madness belies a steady, tender core."
—Michelle Tea, author of Against Memoir
“Jerry Stahl, whose manic self-annihilating riffs dance on the volcano-lip of the abyss, is a writer I’ve been quoting compulsively for twenty-five years. His voice is a hell-broth of fascinating contradictions: the king of mordant cool who writhes with anxious terrors, the professed nihilist with a scalding moral vision, the gifted ironist who really bleeds.”
—Christopher Goffard, writer/host of the podcasts Dirty John and Detective Trapp
“Darkly hilarious . . . a tour bus through literal hell. Nein, Nein, Nein! is the manic chronicle of a Jew confronting personal and historical demons at sites of past devastation and modern-day tourist kitsch. The result is a surreal carnival of cringe amid bursts of profound historical clarity and often unsettling emotional resonance."
—Eli Valley, cartoonist, creator of Diaspora Boy: Comics on Crisis in America and Israel
“Stahl explores the dark side of the dark side.”
Gonzo meets the Shoah in this wildly irreverent—and brilliant—tour of Holocaust tourism.
Convinced that the history of mass murder and total war is being reborn in the age of Trump and his “whole destroying-democracy and damning-future-generations thing,” Stahl, best known for his drug-soaked memoir, Permanent Midnight, traveled to Poland and Germany. “I needed to go to Naziland,” he explains. What he found, apart from the expected horrors, was a simple assault on good taste—e.g., a cafeteria in Auschwitz where tourists suck down kielbasa, dressed in the usual shorts-and–T-shirts uniform that marks them as rubes for all to see. The ghost of Hunter S. Thompson (who’s invoked here) hovers in the wings, but Stahl is sui generis, with a refreshingly self-deprecatory edge (“Don’t be an asshole,” he tells himself) and a delightfully sharp tongue: “Hard not to imagine Steve ‘I Financed Seinfeld’ Mnuchin on Meet the Press: ‘Say what you will about the Third Reich, they were big on infrastructure!’ ” Stahl knows his Holocaust history, sometimes more than his guide (who muttered loud enough for him to hear, “I hope you’re not going to be my Jewish problem”), but he was also prepared to be surprised. When confronted with the enormity of Nazi crimes against humanity, he writes, “contemplation turns to paralysis, and you end up going nowhere, gripped by the moral equivalent of couch lock.” The author doesn’t hesitate to make pointed comparisons between Nazis and the members of the mob who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, “Trump’s fecal lynch mob [who] bore chuckly logos like Camp Auschwitz.” Stahl’s takeaway is worth pondering: The Holocaust was no exception in history; instead, “It is the time between holocausts that is the exception. So savor these moments. Be grateful. Even if the ax is falling.”
A vivid, potent, decidedly idiosyncratic addition to the literature of genocide.