This is the captivating story behind Schindler's List, the Booker Prize-winning book and the Academy Award-winning Spielberg film. Keneally tells the tale of the unlikely encounter that propelled him to write about Oskar Schindler and of the impact of his extraordinary account on people around the world.
Thomas Keneally met Leopold "Poldek" Pfefferberg, the owner of a Beverly Hills luggage shop, in 1981. Poldek, a Polish Jew and a Holocaust survivor, had a tale he wanted the world to know. Charming, charismatic, and persistent, he convinced Keneally to relate the incredible story of "the all-drinking, all-screwing, all-black-marketeering Nazi, Oskar Schindler. But to me he was Jesus Christ."
Searching for Schindler is the engrossing chronicle of Keneally's pursuit of one of history's most fascinating and paradoxical heroes. Traveling throughout the United States, Germany, Israel, Poland, and Austria, Keneally and Poldek interviewed people who had known Schindler and uncovered their indelible memories of the Holocaust. Keneally's powerful narrative rose quickly to the top of bestseller lists. Steven Spielberg's magnificent film adaptation went on to fulfill Poldek's dream of winning "an Oscar for Oskar." (Keneally's anecdotes about Spielberg, Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, and other cast members will delight film buffs.)
Written with candor and humor, Seaching for Schindler is an intimate look at Keneally's growth as a writer and the enormous success of his portrait of Oskar Schindler.
Australian author Keneally was awarded the 1982 Booker Prize for his novel Schindler's List. How Keneally came to write that novel about Oskar Schindler's rescue of more than a thousand Jews from the Holocaust is a tale that, curiously enough, began in Beverly Hills while the author was promoting his Civil War novel, Confederates. Looking for a new briefcase, he entered a luggage shop owned by the ebullient, charismatic Leopold "Poldek" Pfefferberg, one of Schindler's survivors. Poldek gave Keneally copies of documents he had once assembled for a Schindler film that was never made. Nan Talese, then at Simon & Schuster, offered a $60,000 advance for a book, and Keneally and Poldek left on an international research expedition. That journey and the survivors they met form the compelling centerpiece of this moving memoir. With publication, the question arose as to whether Schindler's List was a novel or history, but Keneally had planned from the start to write "what Truman Capote or his publisher had called faction." The closing chapters cover the making of Steven Spielberg's 1993 film adaptation, which won seven Academy Awards. Photos. (Oct. 14) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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Nan A. Talese
October 13, 2008
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