The Emperor of Lies by Steve Sem-Sandberg

The Emperor of Lies

In February 1940, the Nazis established what would become the second-largest Jewish ghetto, in the Polish city of Lódz. The leader they appointed was Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, a sixty-three-year-old Jewish businessman and orphanage director—and the elusive, authoritarian power sustaining the ghetto’s very existence.A haunting, profoundly challenging novel, The Emperor of Lies chronicles the tale of Rumkowski’s monarchical rule over a qua...

Details The Emperor of Lies

TitleThe Emperor of Lies
Release DateAug 30th, 2011
PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, World War II, Holocaust, War, Cultural, Poland

Reviews The Emperor of Lies

  • Richard Derus
    Rating: I really do not know. Say three stars just to put a value here.The Publisher Says: In February 1940, the Nazis established what would become the second-largest Jewish ghetto, in the Polish city of Lódz. The leader they appointed was Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, a sixty-three-year-old Jewish businessman and orphanage director—and the elusive, authoritarian power sustaining the ghetto’s very existence.A haunting, profoundly challenging n...
  • Maria Bikaki
    Ένα πραγματικά πολύ δύσκολο βιβλίο. Όχι τόσο γιατί νοηματικά έκρυβε κάποια τεχνική δυσκολία αλλά ήταν ένα αρκετά βαρύ και περίπλοκο βιβλίο και αρκετές φορές φλέρταρα με την ιδέα να το εγκαταλείψω. Το ξεκίνησα με πολύ όρεξη και ενδιαφέρον δεδομέν...
  • Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont
    The Emperor is Naked Some books puzzle me, the lavish praise they attract puzzles, verbal excesses that seem to set the world on one side and me on the other. I feel like the little girl who wants to cry out please, look; the emperor is naked! It was a mood that came across me when I read The Kindly Ones, Jonathan Littell’s tome-like novel set in the Second World War. One hysterical commendation placed on the dust jacket by the publisher (natur...
  • Mark Staniforth
    Does the world really need another Holocaust novel? Not according to historian Simon Schama, who said, in a scathing review in the Financial Times, that 'The Emperor Of Lies' is 'all fugged up with the kind of "fine writing" that succeeds only in drawing attention to the emotional and moral void at its centre.'The literary world is, of course (as Schama readily accepts) hardly placed to issue any kind of moratorium on Holocaust literature, and fo...
  • Chris
    I really need to think about this. It's a good but really depressing book. The writing is brillant.I might come back and add more latter, but right now that's all I've got.
  • Gavin Armour
    Wenn ein Buch, daß sich aus der Perspektive eines Nachgeborenen, der persönlich nicht vom Geschehen betroffen war, in die Köpfe von Opfern des fürchterlichsten Menschheitsverbechens hineinzudenken versucht und darin auch auf ebenso fürchterliche Gedanken trifft, wie sie in jedem Menschen wohl irgendwann irgendwie gären, Opfer also als Täter zeigt, wenn ein solches Buch allerseits Zsutimmung erfährt und Lob wegen des Mutes, den der Autor z...
  • Zohar -
    The Emperor of Lies by Steve Sem-Sandberg is an award winning historical fiction book. The book was translated from Swedish and tells about real life, as well as fictional characters.The ghetto at Łódź, Poland has existed for two years. Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, the Nazi nominated “elder of Jews” is asked to supply 20,000 Jews for deportation. The lies and shadows of this complex man cover many pages of this book.Adam Rzepin lives with hi...
  • Ditte
    Ik heb heel lang na moeten denken over wat ik nou écht van dit boek vond. Door de enorme lof die de schrijver en het boek op de kaft toegezwaaid krijgen, heb ik namelijk het gevoel dat ik iets gemist heb. De indruk die bij mij overheerst is dat dit boek een verhaal vertelt dat het waard is om gehoord te worden, een goede aanvulling op de lange rijen Holocaust-vertellingen die alleen al opgemerkt dienen te worden ter nagedachtenis van en uit eerb...
  • Tuck
    a masterpiece of literature destined to go through time as a benchmark and meditation of nazis in poland, ghettos of 1940 on, collaborators and resisters, and holocaust writings. swedish author sem-sandberg based much of this novel on the "ghetto encyclopedia" of lodz which has recently, and finally been printed, cataloged and made available and that he mined. so, was Mordechai chaim rumkowski a megalomaniacal monster bent on sexually molesting h...
  • Lisa
    I know I offered to review this for Stu’s Shadow Independent Foreign Fiction Prize team, but having plodded through the first 51 pages of 664, it’s quite clear to me that I don’t like it at all, and so I’m not going to read the rest of it.Simon Schama at The Financial Times says it so much better than I ever could: whatever is the point? If you are disposed to try to understand the unfathomable Holocaust, this tawdry novel is not going to...
  • Đurđica Novak
    E da, kad je vlastita egzistencija ugrožena, nema mjesta za drugo biće! I živi se dan za danom, sve do onog posljednjeg.Je li Mordecai Chaim Rumkowski šef u Litzmannstadtskom getu, Židov imenovan od nacista, bio heroj ili kolaboracionist, zločinac, kukavica?Je li vrijedilo živjeti pod Rumkowskim šefovanjem i nadživjeti Židove iz drugih geta za čak dvije godine?Pisano vrlo jednostavno, znaš kraj, ali te vuče da čitaš dalje.
  • Felice
    Low and behold it’s another non-detective novel from Sweden. That’s my second in a couple weeks. Could this be a publishing trend? Or is it that this novel The Emperor of Lies and The Long Ships are the only two Swedish novels that do not involve Perps.Back in the land of Heidi and gruesome murder mysteries, The Emperor of Lies was big bestseller. It is a prize winning novel about the Lodzghetto by Steve Sem-Sandberg. Thanks to Sarah Death it...
  • Jeffrey
    Possibly a masterpiece...we've had the Holocaust done in so many ways and think we know it all...but this uses fact in a new way, looking at how manipulative people are in survival mode.The detail is extraordinnary as is the standard of unusually high standard these days...and althogh it is unrelentingly grim, that gets you to read on.You'll be staggered at how people behave when you know it is factually based.The one issue is: you do...
  • Mosco
    3,5 * Un po' troppo lungo IMO, qualche taglio non avrebbe guastato. Serve leggerlo con molta attenzione, tornare indietro a volte per tirare le fila di parecchi personaggi abbandonati qui e là nella storia che rispuntano molte pagine dopo e non ci si ricorda dove erano stati lasciati. Di altri ci si chiede, a libro terminato, il destino anche se non è difficie da immaginare: "Dei 204.000 ebrei che passarono attraverso il ghetto di Łódź, solo...
  • Edward Sullivan
    This chilling historical novel chronicles the tyrannical rule of Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, the autocratic, ruthless, Nazi-appointed Jewish rule of the Łódź Ghetto.
  • Eiríkur Norðdahl
    Mér finnst lífið of stutt til að klára bækur sem ég næ ekki sambandi við. En stundum verða þær bækur furðulega margar – í fyrra var hlutfallið skuggalega hátt. Svo ég ákvað að drösla mér í gegnum Öreigana í Łodz jafnvel þótt hún væri búin að missa á mér takið, ég búinn að missa á henni takið, þótt hún væri tæpar 600 blaðsíður.Ég veit ekki hvað það er við helfararbókmenntir sem gerir þær s...
  • Edna Nová
    Náročné.Pro mě úplně nové informace o tom, jak mohlo “fungovat” ghetto. Rumkowski je postava tragická, rozporuplná, neuchopitelna.
  • Karen
    I'm giving this 4 stars even though it was difficult to read. The subject was difficult - the story of the ghetto established by the Nazis in Lodz, Poland in 1940; more specifically, some of the inhabitants of that ghetto, mainly the Eldest Jew (leader of the Jewish community), Mordecai Chaim Rumkowski. He rules over a quarter million Jews for 4 1/2 years, striving to make himself and the ghetto indispensable to the Nazis, basically by doing what...
  • Amu
    Tositapahtumiin perustuva romaani puolalaisesta getosta toisen maailmansodan aikaan. Pääosassa on geton juutalainen puhemies, joka oli ehkä sankari, ehkä vain vallanhimoinen pelkuri. Geton elämää ja vaiheita kuvaillaan yksityiskohtaisesti.Kirja on raaka, synkkä ja valoton, mutta myös hyvin vaikuttava ja ajatuksia herättävä. Tiivistäminen ja tyylillinen selkeyttäminen olisivat olleet joissain kohdin paikallaan. Loppua kohden teos vai...
  • Dhana
    Translated from the Swedish, this is a harrowing depiction of Chaim Rumkowski and his control of the Lodz ghetto and attempt to turn it into a Jewish 'state'....think of words such as 'harrowing', 'cruel', 'evil' and times them by 10.....the characters are almost Dickensian in their portrayal and the story leaves you bereft....Rumkowski the monstrous dictator, and yet, if the war has ended a few months / a year would he have been perc...
  • Becky
    This is a well-written, interesting book, but the lenght, and impending sense of doom, made it hard to finish.More than usual with Holocaust books, the story is overshadowed by what most people know to be the outcome, so everything feels entirely futile, and misguided. Definitely worth pushing through, but this is not a book you can just finish in a day.
  • Heidi Murphy
    One of the most vivid and disturbing Holocaust novels I've ever read, and yet I really didn't want this to end. A dark but utterly compelling tale of life in a Jewish ghetto.
  • Pavlína
    Žádná omáčka, přepis kroniky ghetta zabalený do nepřikrášleného pokusu o příběh.
  • Tim
    Oh. My. God.Also, I think I deserve like triple "Kevin Owens Points" for finishing this book.
  • Joenisha
    The book The emperor of Lies by Steve Sem-Sandberg is said to have “achieved something monumental, but with a strange and necessary lightness of touch”-Sebastian Barry. I could have not agreed more of how the story made me be a part of the historical events instead of just reading about them. The historical fiction starts in the 1940s and revolves around an elderly chairman named Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski which is known as the DE ÄLTESTEN DE...
  • lärm
    Since I had no prior knowledge on the ghetto of Łódż, I was happy that I came across this book. And while hard non-fiction like Eugene Kogon's "SS state" gives you the facts without softening things up, a factionalized story can convey feelings much better than dry data. So a novel on this ghetto could be interesting. Sadly this book lacked coherence, a clear storyline apart from the decline of the ghetto and a main protagonist in the true sen...
  • Bob Walenski
    The Boston Museum of Fine Arts now has a collection of photographs taken from the Lodz Ghetto, and I hope to see them soon, which is why I'm reading this right now.This was a difficult read. Not because of a lack of interest or empathy, but the length and density of the book was a real challenge. I kept reminding myself that it was a novel, but the history and research behind it was astonishing, and I'm sure it was as accurate a portrayal of life...
  • Christine
    I had great hopes for this book that unfortunately never materialized. There were parts of the book that I did like - especially the last 10 pages - but the book is over 600 pages so there definitely weren't enough. I was confused by all the German and Jewish words - not realizing there was a vocabulary list that defined at least some of them in the back of the book. I think the thing that most keeps me from giving this book a higher rating is th...
  • Kirsty
    A really difficult book to score - it was beautifully written, and the story is suitably horrifying for the setting and shone a light on a period of history when there was always more to tell. But I would struggle to recommend this book as the subject matter is so horrible, and the graphic descriptions of child sexual abuse in particular make it an incredibly tough read. Some of the author’s choices seemed designed to create more misery for the...