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June 08 , 2009

And the Sea Is Never Full

Memoirs, 1969-


As this concluding volume of his moving and revealing memoirs begins, Elie Wiesel is forty years old, a writer of international repute. Determined to speak out more actively for both Holocaust survivors and the disenfranchised everywhere, he sets himself a challenge: "I will become militant. I will teach, share, bear witness. I will reveal and try to mitigate the victims' solitude." He makes words his weapon, and in these pages we relive with him his unstinting battles. We see him meet with world leaders and travel to regions ruled by war, dictatorship, racism, and exclusion in order to engage the most pressing issues of the day. We see him in the Soviet Union defending persecuted Jews and dissidents; in South Africa battling apartheid and supporting Mandela's ascension; in Cambodia and in Bosnia, calling on the world to face the atrocities; in refugee camps in Albania and Macedonia as an emissary for President Clinton. He chastises Ronald Reagan for his visit to the German military cemetery at Bitburg. He supports Lech Walesa but challenges some of his views. He confronts Francois Mitterrand over the misrepresentation of his activities in Vichy France. He does battle with Holocaust deniers. He joins tens of thousands of young Austrians demonstrating against renascent fascism in their country. He receives the Nobel Peace Prize. Through it all, Wiesel remains deeply involved with his beloved Israel, its leaders and its people, and laments its internal conflicts. He recounts the behind-the-scenes events that led to the establishment of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. He shares the feelings evoked by his return to Auschwitz, by his recollections of Yitzhak Rabin, and by his memories of his own vanished family. This is the magnificent finale of a historic memoir.
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Born into a Jewish ghetto in Hungary, as a child, Elie Wiesel was sent to the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. This is his account of that atrocity: the ever-increasing horrors he endured, the loss of his family and his struggle to survive in a world that stripped him of humanity, dignity and faith. Describing in simple terms…

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