If This Is a Man / The Truce

  • by Primo Levi, Stuart Woolf (translator)
  • Narrated by Henry Goodman
  • 16 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Translated by Stuart Woolf.
'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.' (Philip Roth)


What the Critics Say

"The death of Primo Levi robs Italy of one of its finest writers...One of the few survivors of the Holocaust to speak of his experiences with a gentle voice." ( The Guardian)
"A life-changing book." ( Daily Express
"One of the greatest human testaments of the era." (Philip Roth)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Levi's humanity shines.

These books have provided me with an extraordinary taste of a world that no longer exists. I am glad to have had that taste. My life is the better for it. I won't pretend that this is an easy listen. It describes a world that I've never known and I hope to never know outside of listening to Primo Levi's experiences. What rises from those experiences is a strong sense of how, despite the difficulties of existing, humans can both persist and retain a sense of dignity & purpose. Yes, he describes the brutality of the lager, but he does not lose his focus on the responses of both himself and those around him.
In The Truce, Levi goes on to describe the aftermath of his internment at Birkenau and his journey back to Italy. This is an odyssey of sorts, crossing Europe, and has some humour, as well.
Henry Goodman does an excellent job of narrating what might have been a banal and unrelieved story of true horror. Instead he finds the nuances to help differentiate in the listener's mind Levi's carefully written prose.
You do not need to be Jewish, anymore than you need to be a human being, to be interested in this book. It shows how those in power can seek to belittle the lives of those different to themselves. Also how despite the vile strictures of the powerful, those oppressed retain more of their humanity than their oppressors. Listen to this and find your own humanity.
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- Liz... Bristol

Riveting account

This is a brilliant heart rending account of what a man had to go through on a daily basic to survive a concentration camp and having done so, the challenges that he faced to get home. We cannot imagine the terrible ordeal that inmates had to endure but this book brings home the struggle where the vast majority did not make it. I have listened to this book three times - it makes me humble and realize that my day to day tribulations are nothing compared to what these heroes went through.
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- Kdl

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-12-2014
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio UK