“An indispensable touchstone.”—Julia M. Klein, Forward
As an orphaned survivor and witness to the horrors of Auschwitz, Elie Wiesel (1928–2016) compelled the world to confront the Holocaust with his searing memoir Night. How did this soft-spoken man from a small Carpathian town become such an influential figure on the world stage? Drawing on Wiesel’s prodigious literary output and interviews with his family, friends, scholars, and critics, Joseph Berger seeks to answer this question.
Berger explores Wiesel’s Hasidic childhood in Sighet, his postwar years spent rebuilding his life from the ashes in France, his transformation into a Parisian intellectual, his failed attempts at romance, his years scraping together a living in America as a journalist, his decision to marry and have a child, his emergence as a spokesperson for Holocaust survivors and persecuted peoples throughout the world, his lifelong devotion to the state of Israel, and his difficult final years. Through this penetrating portrait we come to know intimately the man the Norwegian Nobel Committee called “a messenger to mankind.”
“[A] judicious and well-crafted portrait of this remarkable man.”—Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph
“Perceptive. . . . Fair-minded throughout. . . . [Wiesel’s] legacy compels us to bear witness in his absence and continue to confront the silence.”—Diane Cole, Wall Street Journal
“An extremely incisive biography. . . . The book makes for excellent reading, bringing insight into a man who kept the memory of the Holocaust and its victims in the public spotlight.”—Jay Levinson, Jewish Tribune
“A necessary and moving biography of a-once-in-a-generation historic figure and irreplaceable moral teacher.”—Cynthia Ozick, author of Antiquities and Other Stories
“Joseph Berger has performed a small miracle in offering us this moving, meticulously researched, judicious, and learned biography of Elie Wiesel who willed himself to transcend personal tragedy and bear witness in the hope that humanity might learn from the horrors of the past.”—David Nasaw, author of The Last Million: Europe’s Displaced Persons from World War to Cold War