Summary and book reviews of The Fighter by Jean-Jacques Greif

The Fighter

by Jean-Jacques Greif

The Fighter by Jean-Jacques Greif X
The Fighter by Jean-Jacques Greif
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Published:
    Sep 2006, 288 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

When Moshe’s emigrates to Paris in the 1930s, it means a new life: A decent job, a lovely young wife, and a hobby as an amateur boxer. Until the day he is rounded up and sent to Auschwitz. There he is tortured, starved, asked to entertain Nazi soldiers by boxing against dying prisoners. Moshe wants to survive without killing his comrades, but how?

Moshe Wisniak grew up malnourished and fatherless outside Warsaw at a time when Jews and Poles lived in poverty and violence. When Moshe’s brothers emigrate to Paris in the 1930s, it means a new life for the whole family, who follow soon after. A decent job, a lovely young wife, and a hobby as an amateur boxer vastly improve Moshe’s prospects until the day he is rounded up and sent to Auschwitz. There he is tortured, starved, and most shockingly, asked to entertain Nazi soldiers by boxing against dying prisoners.

Moshe wants to survive without killing his comrades, but how? Based on the memoir of his family friend, Jean-Jacques Greif has taken the facts and turned them into a gripping novel about life and death in Auschwitz.

1
In Praga, a Suburb of Warsaw

When I was born, the czar still reigned over the great Russian empire and Poland was a mere trinket hanging from his belt. He had so many subjects that nobody ever tried to count them. He didn’t even ask them to register their children. Or, at least, he didn’t ask my mother.

At the end of the First World War, the czar of Russia tumbled down from his throne. His army of Cossacks left Warsaw. Poland became an independent country.

In 1918, obeying a decree of the new Polish government, my mother goes to the town hall in Praga, our Warsaw suburb, to register her four children.

“How old are they?” the man in the office asks.

“What you say?”

“How old? Your children, lady!”

She finds him hard to understand. Before the war, you had to learn Russian. Now it’s Polish. Why don’t these government people ever speak Yiddish, the language of the Jews?

“Schmiel Yankl, my first, he more ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The Fighter has proved very popular in France (where it was first released) as a book to accompany the study of World War II during the first year of High School. Unlike some books chosen for reading in school, it also resonates with young readers: In 2000, it won the five main literary prizes given by French students!..continued

Full Review (918 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Media Reviews

School Library Journal - Rita Soltan
In the end, however, Greif reminds readers that one not only needed emotional and physical strength but also a whole lot of luck and cleverness to be able to resist and emerge from the torturous nightmare of the camps. Tough, realistic reading with some raw language.

Booklist - Hazel Rochman
This novel.....may be too much for some readers...[his] present-tense narrative vividly describes the atrocities as well as the importance of courage, friendship, and, especially, luck in the fight for survival.

Kirkus Reviews
Greif based the novel on the experiences of his father's friend—not just a witness, but a Jewish hero…It's a spirit that will resonate with readers.

Reader Reviews

killa

BEST EVER!
This book is the best ever. It has a lot of suspense and mystery.

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Jews in Poland

Jews became a significant part of the Polish population in the 14th century when they were offered a safe haven by King Casimir the Great after being expelled en masse from much of Western Europe (including England, Spain, France and Germany).  By the 18th century about 750,000 Jews lived in Poland, representing about 7% of the Polish population and about two-thirds of the world's Jewish population (then estimated at 1.2 million). 

However, the presence of Jews had always been a source of tension amongst the Catholic majority, and from the late 18th century anti-Semitism steadily increased.  Of course, there were also groups that opposed anti-Semitism, but by the 1930s the anti-Semitic forces had by far ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Read-alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Fighter, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search read-alikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: My Monticello
    My Monticello
    by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
    In the incendiary opening story of My Monticello, Jocelyn Nicole Johnson's debut collection, a ...
  • Book Jacket: The Wrong End of the Telescope
    The Wrong End of the Telescope
    by Rabih Alameddine
    Rabih Alameddine's The Wrong End of the Telescope follows Mina, a Lebanese American doctor who ...
  • Book Jacket: Lightning Strike
    Lightning Strike
    by William Kent Krueger
    It is the summer of 1963 in Tamarack County, Minnesota. Just outside the small town of Aurora, ...
  • Book Jacket: Skinship
    Skinship
    by Yoon Choi
    The fine thing about short stories in general is their way of following characters through ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Morningside Heights
by Joshua Henkin
A tender and big-hearted novel about love in the face of loss, from the award-winning author of The World Without You.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Flesh & Blood
    by N. West Moss

    This beautifully written memoir offers insight, understanding, and joy.

Win This Book!
Win Sisters of the Great War

Sisters of the Great War by Suzanne Feldman

A powerful novel of two unconventional American sisters who volunteer at the front during World War I.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Y A B Up T W T

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.