Hope in The Happiest Man on Earth | Spoiler-Free Review

The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku

5 Star Rating System 5 stars

Genre: Non-Fiction, History, Memoirs
Author: Eddie Jaku
Published: July 2020
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Pages: 208 {hardback}

Review on Goodreads

Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review


Initial Thoughts Upon Finishing

This was a completely captivating read about Eddie’s experience during WWII and as a Holocaust survivor. These pages are filled with hope and were inspiring to read and see how someone with such strong determination to survive and be happy can get through such tough times. Everyone needs to read this.


The Happiest Man on Earth

This is the story of Eddie Jaku, a Holocaust survivor and hope extraordinaire. He turned 100 in April 2020 which is a fantastic achievement. I hope I’m writing books at 100. The book is concise and to the point yet still beautiful in Eddie’s account of his experiences during WWII.

We follow his journey as a proud German boy from a beautiful, supportive family to a Jew in hiding. Abrupt, violent changes in the political atmosphere in Germany during the lead up to and beginning of WWII saw Eddie rounded up to the Buchenwald concentration camp and the story only gets more gripping from there.

Overall, this is a story of hope as Eddie pledges himself as a young man to be happy and kind, to help those that he can and do what he must to save himself by making himself useful. It’s an inspiring tale of bravery and tenacity and I can’t even begin to imagine how Eddie got through this experience and lived such a long and prosperous life after.


Why I Loved This

One of the greatest things about this book is how personable it is. It is as though Eddie is sitting across the table from you telling you his story and addressing you as a friend. The poignant message throughout isn’t lost in an excess of prose – the chapters are relatively short and the book itself sits just shy of 200 pages. It makes it difficult to put down because you’re drawn within the narrative and the beautiful writing until suddenly you’re at the end.

It always amazes me when I read about not just WWII stories, but Holocaust stories because one would think they would eventually become repetitive. But not at all. The individual personality and the small things that each person (a fictional character based on the truth or a real account such as this one) never fails to amaze and impress. I always come out of these stories doubting I would ever have been as strong.

The other thing I find amazing about books such as this one is how I always learn something new. Without fail. In this story, I learnt lots of little things about survival tactics in the camps. Such as sleeping huddled together during winter and rotating who slept on the outside to avoid literally freezing to death. Or delousing one person’s clothing per barracks for inspection so that the barracks would pass as louse-free.


Why You Should Read This

It is rare and a privilege to read a firsthand account of someone’s experience surviving the concentration camps in our time. Especially given Eddie’s age and the fact that he was fighting for his freedom the whole war which is an enormous amount of time to survive for. But moreover, this is simply a beautiful read. It makes you really appreciate how good you have it and reminds you of all the reasons you have to be happy.


Summary

If you’re looking to learn more about the Holocaust, what it means to be a survivor, or just want to read a really good story of hope and loss, then this is the book for you. I loved this so much and am so glad I picked it up to read!


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Have you read The Happiest Man on Earth?

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Happy reading!

~~ Kirstie ~~

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One thought on “Hope in The Happiest Man on Earth | Spoiler-Free Review

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