I read Schindler s List than twenty years ago long enough ago that the title was Schindlers Ark Like many people, I knew that Keneally first heard about Oskar Schindler when he bought a briefcase from a luggage retailer in Los Angeles I didn t know much than that, though, and this memoir fills in the details of that particular story It covers in some detail Keneally s initial encounter with Leopold Poldek Pfefferburg and his wife, his meetings with other Holocaust survivors who were on Schindler s List , the research, writing and publication process of the novel, and the ultimate adaptation of the novel into the award winning film The memoir also covers other aspects of Keneally s life, before, during and after writing the novel that gave him an international reputation This includes his experiences in Eritrea, which led to the writing of To Asmara.The memoir s at its best when describing the process of researching and writing Schindler s List and most particularly when the dynamic and irrepressible Poldek is present I also found interesting Keneally s account of his travels in Eritrea However, I found the detailed account of the film makng process somewhat less interesting, although I can understand how fascinating it would have been for Keneally.I listened to an audiobook edition of the book, which was capably narrated by Humphrey Bower Keneally s distinctive voice is reasonably well known to many Australians, and while Bower doesn t imitate him, he does manage to inject Keneally s characteristic enthusiasm into the narration I gather there are photographs in the regular edition However, it s easy enough to find photographs of the main players with a quick internet search, so for me the convenience of listening outweighed the disadvantage of having to look for the photographs elsewhere Overall, a worthwhile experience and one that will almost certainly make me re read Schindler s List. This is a marvelous book If you have read and or seen the movie Schindler s List then this speaks to you.Thomas Keneally, up to 1980, was a relatively unknown author living in Australia He was visiting California and his briefcase was broken He walked into a handbag store in Beverly Hills looking to buy a new one The owner of the store, Poldek, finding out that Keneally was a writer, convinced and cajoled him into writing a true story about a Sudeten German, Oskar Schindler, who saved Jews during the Second World War, Poldek being one of them This handbag store owner, Poldek, is quite the character, bursting with energy and euphoria, repeatedly telling Keneally that his book will be famous, made into a great movie, and he will win the Nobel Prize for literature Well, two out of three ain t bad Poldek takes him across the U.S., then Poland and Israel to meet Schindler survivors and see the locations where all these harrowing events took place It was important not to paint Schindler in glowing terms it took time for Schindler to realize the full extent of the human catastrophe that was occurring in Poland And he was a constant bon vivant of wine, women and song much to the detriment of his marital relationship.So the book is published in 1982 and becomes a success And immediately after, Poldek begins canvassing and ramping up the pressure on Hollywood producers for the book to be made into a movie He knows that Steven Spieberg s mother has a restaurant nearby, pays a visit, and gives her the Poldek treatment.Anyway, after 10 years, the movie does come out Keneally and Poldek make trips abroad for the making of the film and of course when Schindler s List wins numerous awards there is travel.Thomas Keneally is very self effacing and lavishes praise on both Poldek and Steven Spielberg, even though Spielberg removed or gently fired him from writing the script of the film There are many authors who critique the making of their book into a film, but Keneally understood that the world of film making is a different category than writing I was impressed by the generosity of Spielberg, he took both Keneally and Poldek onboard and brought them to Poland for the making of the film and then to all the film openings and award ceremonies across North America and Europe.Poldek is a hoot throughout this entire story the driving force Here is the exquisite and powerful trailer for Steven Spielberg s Schindler List.http www.imdb.com videoplayer vi210 This is a hard book I listened to the audiobook to rate because I loved the first 12 13 chapters which tell the story of how Keneally meets the wonderful, larger than life Poldek and first learns about Schindler, Poldek and his wife having been two of the Jews saved by him The following travels around the world from Poland to Australia, US to Israel, is fascinating as Keneally meets survivors, collects documentation, engages on a personal level with the Holocaust, and thinks about how to write a book which even begins to do justice to this story Once the material is collected, though, the rest of this book the remaining 23 or so chapters is dull Keneally recounts boring details of his life, his wife, his teenage daughters, exactly who he met at the Booker dinner, name drops details from Spielberg s film and the Oscar ceremony, rambles on about his other political interests Eritrea and Ethiopia The only bright moments are when Poldek is back on stage, and his very moving death So the first third or so is an excellent introduction companion to Schindler s Ark which I ve somehow how never read but am reading now If this book had stuck to the Schindler material promised by the title, I d have given it 4 5 stars instead it s a kind of memoir of Keneally s life from 1979 till about 1993 when the film won its Oscars Great start, tailed off way too early. Thomas Keneally s account of his discovery of the story of Oskar Schindler, which became the basis for his Booker Prize winning novel Schindler s Ark and the Oscar winning film Schindler s List.1 5 Keneally s account of his discovery of the story of Oscar Schindler2 5 Poldek and Thomas set out to meet the Australian and American Schindlerjuden, the Jews saved by Oskar.3 5 Poldek takes Keneally to Poland to witness the intimacy of horror in the Krakow ghetto.4 5 The journey ends in Israel and Thomas goes home to write his book 5 5 Spielberg is interested in making Schindler s Ark into a film 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 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 This book makes a nice companion to Schindler s List Keneally does a good job fleshing out the background to his search for Schlinder Additionally, he does a good job of bringing to life the inspiration for his discovery of the story At times, however, the book is telling than showing and especially towards the end, it feels like Keneally is dropping names Totally understandable, but rather boring to read. From BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week Thomas Keneally s account of his discovery of the story of Oskar Schindler, which became the basis for his Booker Prize winning novel Schindler s Ark and the Oscar winning film Schindler s List.Episode 2 Poldek and Thomas set out to meet the Australian and American Schindlerjuden, the Jews saved by Oskar.Episode 3 Poldek takes Thomas to Poland to witness the intimacy of horror in the Krakow ghetto.Episode 4 The journey ends in Israel and Thomas goes home to write his book.Episode 5 Thomas has finished writing Schindler s Ark and Steven Spielberg is interested in making it into a film.http www.bbc.co.uk programmes b00dywr9 I ve often wondered how Tom Keneally came to write Schindler s Ark I m sure it was publicized at the time of the film, I just never knew it This memoir is the amazing story of the chance encounter in Poldek s leather store and the end result Poldek s never flagging persistence and Kenneally s huge leap of faith.Even though we know the book was written and the film eventually made, it s an absolute page turner. He said, I was saved, and my wife was saved, by a Nazi I was a Jew imprisoned with Jews So a Nazi saves me and, important, saves Misia, my young wife So although he s a Nazi, to me he s Jesus Christ Not that he was a saint He was all drinking, all black marketeering, all screwing, okay But he got Misia out of Auschwitz, so to me he is God. Listened to the audio book version from Bolinda PublishingIts Tom Keneally s memoir of how he came across the Schindler story and the journey through its research, publication and portrayal to film There is also parts of his family life in Sydney found out he grew up in the same suburb I live now that was exciting and his journalistic endeavors in Eritrea during the war with Ethiopia and later It spans roughly 10 12 yrs from the time he chanced upon the story to Schindler s List winning the Oscar and its a really enjoyable read An Oscar for Oskar in the words of Poldek, a larger than life Polish holocaust survivor who made it his life s mission to bring to the world the greatest story of humanity man to man.Despite reading this book , watching the movie and researching online Schindler remains an enigma Was he just opportunistic his entire life except this episode seems that way or did altruism win out in the end I can t make out though I prefer to think that watching the suffering of the Jews firsthand did trigger some compassion which led him to acts of kindness on occasions when he could pull it off without much cost to himself His wife, Emilie who is a true heroine, must also have influenced him How could Schindler have pulled off having a factory which did not make any working armaments Schindler s List was also not really drawn up by Schindler as depicted in the movie It turns out he was arrested on suspicion of bribery at the time.End of it all, Schindler and his wife was responsible for saving a thousand lives in times when these lives were seen as worthless and this is indeed history that must be celebrated and remembered memoir