The Big Lie: A True Story

Isabella Leitner, Author, Irving A. Leitner, With
Isabella Leitner, Author, Irving A. Leitner, With Scholastic $13.95 (79p) ISBN 978-0-590-45569-5
Paperback - 79 pages - 978-0-590-45570-1
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Isabella Leitner has already made a valuable contribution to Holocaust literature with her Fragments of Isabella , an especially graceful memoir for adults that describes her wartime experiences. These included a traumatic deportation from her native Hungary, incarceration in Auschwitz and a death march from which she and two of her sisters escaped. Presenting this difficult material to children, Leitner focuses on the personal, saving a historical overview for an afterword (the afterword explains the title: Hitler's tactic of blaming the Jews for the catastrophic depression of 1933 was known as the ``Method of the Big Lie''). Her approach allows readers to appreciate the young Isabella's incomprehension of the Final Solution even as she generates a coherent and compelling narrative. The inescapable horrors of Auschwitz are neither spared nor sensationalized. What is missing, however, are many of the telling details that make Leitner's adult work so affecting--and some other important details as well, such as the ages of Leitner and her siblings. If not quite as fully realized as Ruth Minsky Sender's The Cage and To Life , Leitner's book nonetheless conveys its message powerfully and responsibly. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 8-11. (Sept.)
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