The Book Thief

Markus Zusak

Book Review


All things were seen differently when Liesel Meminger brother`s death leads to her picking up a stray book in the snow by his graveside. As the story unfolds from death`s point of view in Markus Zusak`s

The Book Thief,

you will discover Liesel`s love for books and her foster father who plays the accordion for his family when time permits and teaches Liesel how to read. The story will soon also uncover a forbidden man who`s living in their basement during a time when Hitler is their leader and any Jewish man is a dead man alive. In the most brilliant way, the historical events of Nazi Germany and WW2 is written in the most beautiful way possible.



Almost every, but all stories start in a positive light, but Markus Zusak opens the book with death and the sad beginning of Liesel Meminger`s new life. With ten parts in the book and almost six hundred pages, part one of

The Book Thief

begins with Liesel and her brother heading off with their mother, boarded on a train heading to Himmel Street, where her foster family waits for their arrival. While Liesel and her mother are asleep, Liesel`s younger brother dies soon later by a coughing fit and a funeral allows Liesel to discover

The Grave Digger`s Handbook

which is Liesel`s first act of book stealing.



Mark Zusak also gives brief chapters in Max Vandenberg`s point of view and gives you a hint that he will be part of the big story plot. But before the book opens up to Max, the audience will see the bond between Hans Hubermann and Liesel Meminger and her affair with books and his love to play the accordion. Liesel steals a few more books but was caught dead in the action by the mayor`s wife one day and was invited to read the books she had in her library. Then comes in Max one night where he refuge in their basement and is not allowed to be seen, but how long will this keep up until something goes wrong? This book uncovers new friendships and rough times where it develops into the true meaning of loss, compassion and the sense of belonging.


The Book Thief

was written with a strong belief of clarity. Mark Zusak wanted us to understand the story line while historical events are hidden behind it. It was written to where I can understand all of the characters. It allowed me go through the history of Nazi Germany without being straight out told about the history. Yet, there was one thing that disappointed me, the concentration camps. Nazi Germany was most renowned for the killings of the Jews in concentration camps and even though Mark Zusak introduced a Jew and the camp in the book, it did not tell the audience about it at all, just the brief of it like how it looked but I think it would’ve been better if the author told us what Max was supposed to be afraid of.



The theme of the book thief is clearly communicated as Liesel learns to mourn and accept everything that has happened to her. Overall, this is an outstanding historical fiction that I recommend people reading and I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. This gave me a little insight of Nazi Germany and I did not want to stop reading, it is outstandingly written and the characters are very well developed.

Historical Accuracy

Based on my research for

The Book Thief,

some of the research I

looked up are mostly historically accurate. A few though, such as Himmel street in Molching are both not an actual place in Germany. Mike Zusak`s The Book Thief is composed of multiple fictional characters and a few places but added enough details so that I can picture what events occurred during Nazi Germany. He evenly spread out the historical details and added enough so that it wouldn’t be too informational but, if he had given more details about the concentration camps, Hitler, and the Nazi party, I think it would’ve been better.

Informative Piece - Book Burnings


“Germans loved to burn things. Shops, synagogues, Reichstags, houses, personal items, slain people, and of course, books. They enjoyed a good book-burning, all right – which gave people who were partial to books the opportunity to get their hands on certain publications that they otherwise wouldn`t have.”




Book burnings was an event that happened in Nazi Germany back in World War II with Hitler in charge. This event occurred in the 1930`s in Nazi Germany and Austria, led by the German Student Union, and was a campaign to burn books ritually. It was an “action against the Un-German spirit,” and the books that were aimed were viewed as a threat to Nazism and were anything against Nazi belief. On May 10, the books were handed out to students to burn in the fire to “cleanse” and rid of any books that seemed to be opposing Nazi Germany. That night, all university students burned at least 25,000 books that were anything else but books that were German idealized.

Narrative Piece - Max


He just came in one night and changed our lives forever. We were more cautious with things that without him, we wouldn’t have to think twice and now, with even one slip up can destroy this family for good. He was the refuge in our basement, Max. He wrote his own literature and one night I peeked a look and he nearly scared me to death. I don’t think anyone was ready for this, papa was expecting this but I could tell in his eyes that were mixed with sorrow and surprise, that he too was not expecting this to be so soon and with me already, I think he has too much to concern about. With Max, anything can happen. I could be taken away and I already learned that lesson when papa warned me about what would happen if I didn’t keep my mouth shut. Out of all this though, I learned new words with the help of papa, and I would tell the forecast to Max and he would draw it on the wall. He was like the brother I never had so when the first alarm was heard, I was afraid to leave Max behind because, what would happen to him? Would I come back to see him gone? He was still there when I came back. That night when he left though, I felt part of my whole world shatter, the other part consisting of the books and my family. I was still afraid. Where did he leave to? Did he get captured? I think we were all hoping that he didn’t rat his mouth off to the Nazi`s. I found the book he wrote in and read it. His mind was quite vivid and had a sense of honesty all behind it. Wherever he went, I hope he has a Standover man to watch over him.

Big image

Work Cited

Ahr, Tilman. "German (language): What's the Difference between a "Saukerl" and a "Saumensch"?" German (language): What's the Difference between a 'Saukerl' and a 'Saumensch'? N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2016.

"The Book Thief: Fact or Fiction?" The Book Thief: Fact or Fiction? N.p., 18 Mar. 2015. Web. 02 May 2016.

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Nazi Party." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 02 May 2016.

"The Grave Digger's Handbook - The Book Thief." The Grave Digger's Handbook - The Book Thief. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2016.

"The History Notes." : The Time of Book Burning. N.p., 27 June 2011. Web. 05 May 2016.

"The History Place - Rise of Hitler: Hitler's Book "Mein Kampf"" The History Place - Rise of Hitler: Hitler's Book "Mein Kampf" N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2016.

"The History Place - Triumph of Hitler: Burning of Books." The History Place - Triumph of Hitler: Burning of Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2016.

"I Live Literary: Review: The Book Thief." I Live Literary: Review: The Book Thief. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 May 2016.

"The Nazi Party: Bund Deutscher Mädel (The League of German Girls)." Jewish Virtual Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 May 2016.

"Nazi Salute." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 02 May 2016.

Shmoop Editorial Team. "The Book Thief Setting." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 02 May 2016.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. "Book Burning." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, 29 Jan. 2016. Web. 05 May 2016.

"What Is Max." 's Message in The Standover Man? What Is His Purpose for Writing the Story? N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2016.