in the UK
Shortly after completing THE DROWNED AND THE SAVED, Primo Levi committed suicide. The matter of his death was sudden, violent and unpremiditated, and there were some who argue that he killed himself because he was tormented by guilt - guilt that he had survived the horrors of Auschwitz while others, better than he, had gone to the wall. THE DROWNED AND THE SAVED is Levi's impassioned attempt to understand the 'rationale' behind the concentration camps, was completed shortly before his tragic death in 1987. THE DROWNED AND THE SAVED dispels the myth that Primo Levi forgave the Germans for what they did to his people. He didn't and couldn't forgive. He refused, however, to indulge in what he called 'the bestial vice of hatred' which is an entirely different matter. The voice that sounds in his writing is that of a reasonable man...it warns and reminds us that the unimaginable can happen again. A would-be tyrant is waiting in the wings, with 'beautiful words' on his lips. The book is constantly impressing on us the need to learn from the past, to make sense of the senseless' PAUL BAILEY
Publisher and industry reviews
'Levi writes of unspeakable things with charity, clarity and objectivity' SUNDAY TIMES 'Levi's work is a model of patience and hard-won enlightenment, a search for illumination in places where there appeared to be none.' DAILY TELEGRAPH 'It is, as always, an intellectual and aesthetic pleasure to follow the perfection of style, the manner of exposition, both subtle and lucid.' OBSERVER 'The horror of what he reveals is made all the more terrifying by a prose style which is cool, clear and unsparing. The most powerful message to emerge from this book is that we must learn the lessons of history so as not to repeat its mistakes.' YORKSHIRE POST 'With "the greatest possible objectivity" he set out to clarify what still remained obscure about the moral and psychological legacy, for both the victims and the perpetrator, of that colossal scourge. The result, to my mind, is one of the most devastating masterworks of our era, a grave rumination on the nature of the offence, substantiated by personal memory and rendered with exquisite intellectual precision.' Philip Roth 'Levi's writings have done more, by their intellectual tone and vigour, to ensure the world does not forget the horror- and reality- of the Holocaust.' THE LIST 'Throughout the book we hear the authentic, unfading note of a true master.' Andrew Motion 'As with everything he writes, he has a form of poetic clarity, an intelligent and clear appraisal of men and their behaviour towards one another. Few have written as well about human suffering.' THE SPECTATOR 'The stench of death permeates Levi's work but his words are not those of an embittered man... A work of art.' ORACLE TELETEXT
UK Kirkus review
Levi, an Italian Jew, who survived Auschwitz, spells out what it means to treat human beings like animals and what it means to survive the genocide of your people in this short, compelling, marvellously moving book. Everyone who cares about how and why societies can run rotten needs to read this book and remember its lessons. An appalling account of what happened to those sent to a concentration camp who had the luck to survive. The question is, are survivors in some senses suffering more than those who were killed? (Kirkus UK)
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