An intimate look at Elie Wiesel, author of the seminal Holocaust memoir Night and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
Finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, Biography category
“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.”
Joseph Berger was a New York Times reporter, columnist, and editor for thirty years, and he continues to contribute periodically. He has taught urban affairs at the City University of New York’s Macaulay Honors College. He is the author of Displaced Persons: Growing Up American After the Holocaust and lives in New York City.
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