If This Is a Man by Primo Levi is a story about his personal experience of the journey through Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Right from the very first trip to the unknown destination, to the point of near death, Primo’s life was a constant battle between life and death. Throughout the book, Primo portrays his walk through living hell in a way that is both powerful and painful.
The cover of the book displays a black and white picture of three bald men, one of which is Primo, all in the striped clothes that bore the title of “prisoner.” The black and white could represent their lives in the sense that its either death or mere survival, never anything grey, never anything good. Their faces are ...view middle of the document...
The following quote by Philip Roth, gives a personal opinion on the book and the style of writing. This modern point of view shows that the message in If This Is a Man is very influential.
With the moral stamina and intellectual poise of a twentieth-century Titan, this slightly built, dutiful, unassuming chemist set out systematically to remember the German hell on earth, steadfastly to think it through, and then to render it comprehensible in lucid, unpretentious prose. He was profoundly in touch with the minutest workings of the most endearing human events and with the most contemptible. What has survived in Levi's writing isn't just his memory of the unbearable, but also, in The Periodic Table and The Wrench, his delight in what made the world exquisite to him. He was himself a magically endearing man, the most delicately forceful enchanter I've ever known.
Another critic, Alice Young, also reveals her love for the text; the following quote is a part of her review published in January, 2012.
Primo Levi was an ordinary man with an extraordinary story; his book If This Is a Man recounts his experiences in Auschwitz and is known to be one of the greatest literary insights into the shocking fate which befell so many guiltless men and women at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Primo Levi, born in 1919, was a Jewish Italian writer, but trained as a chemist. He was arrested as a member of the anti-fascist resistance and taken to Auschwitz Concentration Camp in 1944. Through his survival in the camp, Levi has written a few other books such as Moments of Reprieve and A Tranquil Star. Primo’s death occurred in April, 1987.
An important event that occurred in 1947, when the book was first published, was the Cold War. Although it was said to have begun in 1947, Historians haven’t fully agreed on dates. The United States and Soviet Union were both...