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It was a time of crisis, a time of tragedy and a time of transcendent courage and determination. Leon Uris's novel is set in the midst of the ghetto uprising that defied Nazi tyranny, as the Jews of Warsaw boldly met Wehrmacht tanks with homemade weapons and bare fists. Here, painted on a canvas as broad as its subject matter, is the compelling story of one of the most her It was a time of crisis, a time of tragedy and a time of transcendent courage and determination. Leon Uris's novel is set in the midst of the ghetto uprising that defied Nazi tyranny, as the Jews of Warsaw boldly met Wehrmacht tanks with homemade weapons and bare fists. Here, painted on a canvas as broad as its subject matter, is the compelling story of one of the most heroic struggles of modern times.


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It was a time of crisis, a time of tragedy and a time of transcendent courage and determination. Leon Uris's novel is set in the midst of the ghetto uprising that defied Nazi tyranny, as the Jews of Warsaw boldly met Wehrmacht tanks with homemade weapons and bare fists. Here, painted on a canvas as broad as its subject matter, is the compelling story of one of the most her It was a time of crisis, a time of tragedy and a time of transcendent courage and determination. Leon Uris's novel is set in the midst of the ghetto uprising that defied Nazi tyranny, as the Jews of Warsaw boldly met Wehrmacht tanks with homemade weapons and bare fists. Here, painted on a canvas as broad as its subject matter, is the compelling story of one of the most heroic struggles of modern times.

30 review for Mila 18

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    Mila 18 is a breathtaking account of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, by the Jewish population of Warsaw, against the plans of the Nazi regime to exterminate them. It is a great epic from the pen of one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century, Leon Uris. The Warsaw ghetto uprisings are an important symbol of the freedom and dignity of mankind and the ongoing struggle against totalitarianism and cruelty (particular that type of cruelty that is self righteously practiced by ideologues from the left Mila 18 is a breathtaking account of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, by the Jewish population of Warsaw, against the plans of the Nazi regime to exterminate them. It is a great epic from the pen of one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century, Leon Uris. The Warsaw ghetto uprisings are an important symbol of the freedom and dignity of mankind and the ongoing struggle against totalitarianism and cruelty (particular that type of cruelty that is self righteously practiced by ideologues from the left and right.). The key characters are: Andrei Androfski , the indomitable hero of a prestigious Polish cavalry regiment , and also a proud Jew. Gabriella Rak , Andrei's pretty Polish sweetheart , one of the rare voices of conscience in a world gone mad . Deborah Bronski , the intriguing beauty , a figure of love and tragedy , Andrei's sister. Paul Bronski , a shell of his man who ,lacks all conviction , driven by the willingness to please his masters and a strong desire to divorce himself from his roots. Christopher De Monti , The Italian journalist and playboy who will come out of this as the voice that will bring a disturbing hidden truth to the world. Rachael Bronski : Deborah's lovely and talented daughter , whose life is thrown into turmoil by the Nazi occupation , she is a rare survivor. Alexander Brandel : a narrator and leader of the Bathyran Zionist Movement in Warsaw Wolf Brandel : Rachael ` sweetheart and a natural leader ,together with Rachael and her younger brother Stephan ., one of the young people of the ghetto determined to survive . This book can be appreciated on many levels. It is a novel of love and hate , of destruction and redemption , of much that is tragic and horrific as well triumph of the human spirit . It is an intense human drama. But most of all it contains an important lesson for the past and present , a lesson more important today than ever. Fundamentally this is a story of the Jewish people, and about the hatred the Jewish people have survived at a time when the dark and hideous forces of anti-Semitism are reemerging on a scale unknown since Hitler's Third Reich, under the guise of anti-Zionism or hatred of Israel. This is a story about how the Jewish people where persecuted and massacred at will in every land in which they where strangers, because they did where deprived of a homeland of their own . Always at the darkest hours of the holocaust the one redeeming factor is the desire for the rebirth of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel. Indeed the movement that keeps the Jewish people alive is Zionism! The same dream that many evil forces today are working to destroy. When the Jewish children are being taken to their deaths in the Nazi vehicles, what keeps them alive a little longer is the dream living in the tiny land of Israel, then known by the colonial name of Palestine. It is this dream that provides the only hope at all when we read of a rachitic three year old girl in filthy rags being shot dead by a Nazi officer, as she desperately ties to retrieve her torn baby doll from under his boot. Another lesson of the book is the gross indifference to the world of the genocide of Jews. Is this really any different +to the equanimity of the world to the mass killing of Jews today by Palestinian terrorists in Israel , on an almost daily basis ? In a sense there is an even greater perversion by the world today, as most of the world, often led by those considered the most `progressive, shrilly condemn Israel and Jews for defending themselves. Condemn the Jewish people for wanting to survive, for the chance of succeeding where the Jews of the Warsaw ghetto failed. Take these lines: `Jews where charred into unrecognizable smoldering corpses. Jews where roasted in bunkers, which where turned into coffins by wind shifts and downdrafts. Jews where choked to death in clouds of smoke which crushed their lungs.' Is this any different to what is going on today every day in Israel, with the bombing of Jews by Arabs . The German officer Horst Von Epp , warns the Nazi's of the consequences of their holocaust , the disaster that will be brought upon them , and about the mark of shame that will stain their memory. The same warning must be made to those who are acting against Israel and the Jews today

  2. 4 out of 5

    Arlette

    I grew up during World War 11 and although it was kept pretty quite by the Nazis many of us heard about what was happening to the Jewish people in Europe. I read this book when it first came out back in 1961, and I decided to read it again just this past month. This is a really powerful novel, not for the faint hearted. What was so amazing is what these poor Jewish people suffer through. I could hardly put this book down once I started reading it again. I give it five stars. Leon Uris the author I grew up during World War 11 and although it was kept pretty quite by the Nazis many of us heard about what was happening to the Jewish people in Europe. I read this book when it first came out back in 1961, and I decided to read it again just this past month. This is a really powerful novel, not for the faint hearted. What was so amazing is what these poor Jewish people suffer through. I could hardly put this book down once I started reading it again. I give it five stars. Leon Uris the author also wrote Exodus (movie also with Paul Newman) I plan to re-read Exodus again since it's been over 30 years since I last read it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    Historical fiction by Leon Uris first published 1961 this audio recording released 2009. This is the retelling of the horror that was the Warsaw Ghetto and more pacifically the uprising by the Jews who were held prisoner within the ghetto. The bravery, determination and the willingness to self sacrifice for the greater cause shown by the oppressed Jewish people is nothing short of inspirational. For a people whose very existence is steeped in forbearance this uprising was unprecedented. The excess Historical fiction by Leon Uris first published 1961 this audio recording released 2009. This is the retelling of the horror that was the Warsaw Ghetto and more pacifically the uprising by the Jews who were held prisoner within the ghetto. The bravery, determination and the willingness to self sacrifice for the greater cause shown by the oppressed Jewish people is nothing short of inspirational. For a people whose very existence is steeped in forbearance this uprising was unprecedented. The excesses that the Jews were subjected to was the catalyst that galvanised the many factions within the Jewish community to come together to fight for a common cause. Up to this point there was not a lot of harmony between the various Jewish factions. There were the Orthodox, the Zionists, the Secular and many more in between. But this aggressive act of persecution by the German forces brought all those faction together to bring about what was a herculean, but in the end, a doomed effort. This uprising was as much about proving to the Jews themselves as well as the Germans that they, the Jews of Poland, were not sub-human but were a force to be reckoned with. And prove it they did. For the best part of forty days and night David gave Goliath a fight that would go down in, not just, Jewish history but world history. Leon Uris takes this appalling period in human history and puts faces to the many people who sacrificed and endured so much. This is a very graphic depiction of mans inhumanity to man. In the end I couldn’t help but draw a parallel between the plight of the Jews then and the plight of the Palestinians now. When, I wonder, will enough ever be enough? 5 stars for an incredible experience.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lewis Weinstein

    I recently re-read Mila 18 while in Warsaw; of course, I went to Mila 18 and stood on the actual spot. I had first read the book when it came out in 1962. It was powerful then, even more so today. The most moving lines ... "For the first time I am proud of being a Jew" ... "you must survive and be part of the State of Israel" ... resonated with me as a Jew and as an author who has written about Jews. My grandparents lived near Warsaw; they left in the early 1900s; their families stayed and were I recently re-read Mila 18 while in Warsaw; of course, I went to Mila 18 and stood on the actual spot. I had first read the book when it came out in 1962. It was powerful then, even more so today. The most moving lines ... "For the first time I am proud of being a Jew" ... "you must survive and be part of the State of Israel" ... resonated with me as a Jew and as an author who has written about Jews. My grandparents lived near Warsaw; they left in the early 1900s; their families stayed and were murdered by the Germans. Despite what I view as sincere efforts on the part of contemporary Germans, and thier collaborators in other countries, to recognize and atone for the horrendous deed of their ancestors, it is hard for me to forgive. I doubt I ever will.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Quo

    My initial reading of Mila 18 by Leon Uris occurred shortly after the novel was published & in fact it may have been one of the first contemporary books I purchased. Tucked into my book was a newspaper review & a listing of best-selling fiction books, with Mila 18 at #3 just behind works by Irving Stone & John Steinbeck. After finishing the Uris novel I was discomforted to read a comment that the author's main reason for being was that Uris managed to create fiction easily translated into blockb My initial reading of Mila 18 by Leon Uris occurred shortly after the novel was published & in fact it may have been one of the first contemporary books I purchased. Tucked into my book was a newspaper review & a listing of best-selling fiction books, with Mila 18 at #3 just behind works by Irving Stone & John Steinbeck. After finishing the Uris novel I was discomforted to read a comment that the author's main reason for being was that Uris managed to create fiction easily translated into blockbuster films, with Exodus & Battle Cry already among them. When someone in a book club discussion group I am a part of chose the novel, I wondered how the passage of 50 years might alter my interpretation of a book I seemed to take to heart much earlier in life. In rereading Mila 18, I found it to be a seemingly well-researched, well-written work of historical fiction. The novel does not represent a great literary effort but Leon Uris catches my fancy as a better than average story teller, not bad for someone who never graduated from high school because he consistently failed his English class. Lately, there has been no end of so-called "holocaust novels" but Mila 18 appeared when this was not the case & interestingly, at a time when Wm. L. Shirer's Rise & Fall of the Third Reich, a very large tome I somehow also managed to read, was listed as the #1 best-seller for non-fiction. It was said at one point that Shirer's book "read like a murder mystery, which in many ways it was" but at that point the reality of WWII & the holocaust seemed well beyond my reach, except perhaps when rendered into films. What caught my attention at 2nd reading was that Leon Uris seemed to capture what I now think of as the complexity of sentiments of the various Polish Jews who were rendered rather quickly from citizens of Poland to ghettoized pariahs with no legal status & finally to human beings consigned to charnel houses in Poland & elsewhere by the Nazis, their willing Polish collaborators, as well as others from the Ukraine & elsewhere. The wonder that such atrocious behavior was possible was not easily accepted by me then any more than it is today but this fictional account did introduce me to the concept of the holocaust. Further reading of books by Eli Weisel, Viktor Frankl & others, meeting survivors of Nazi concentration camps + visits to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. & Yad Vashem in Jerusalem have served as a further resource, while never yielding concrete answers. Perhaps there are none. But beyond that, the question also remains as to whether any fictional account can do justice to the reality of places like Treblinka, Auschwitz, Buchenwald & the many other endpoints of the Final Solution for Jews & others who were thought to be enemies of the Nazis. Mila 18 portrays the desperation of Poles with the Russians on their eastern flank and Nazi Germany to the west, with the Poles not able to defend against either. Ultimately, Germany invades by air & overland quickly pulverizing any Polish resistance, including that manifested by 30,000 Jews who served in the Polish army. The novel details the inner struggle of the Polish Jews who occupy the Warsaw Ghetto & demonstrate a wide variety of views on their plight, including some who feel that resistance is most un-Jewish, hoping that their fate will ultimately improve. A rabbi intones, "Our best defense is to be good Jews". As news of death-camps filters into the ghetto, those who have not already been sent off to what they initially believed to be less ominous relocations for labor required by the Nazi war effort, those remaining cluster together & begin a concerted resistance, sensing the ultimate futility of such a path but also realizing there are no other alternatives. As one explains: All were imprisoned within the ghetto in a loosely knit association of diversified ideologies & each beats his breast & berates the other. I don't care if your beliefs take you along a path of Orthodox religion or Zionist ideology or a path of labor activism. We are all here because our paths travel a blind course through a thick forest, seemingly devoid of human dignity. Beyond the forest, all of our paths merge into a single great highway which ends in the barren hills of Judea. This is our singular goal. How we travel through the forest is for each man's conscience. Where we end our journey is always the same. We all seek the same thing through different ways--an end to the long night of 2,000 years of darkness & unspeakable abuses which will continue to plague us until the star of David flies over Zion.All of Warsaw has become a coffin for the ghettoized Jews. While I am not interested in singling out all of the main characters of the Uris novel, the author details competing alliances, some generational divisions & also several love stories, perhaps to retain the interest of those readers with a less historical bent. With limited resources & few weapons, the remaining Jews exact a rather heavy toll on the German soldiers who are quite unprepared for Jewish resistance of any kind. When the insurrection begins, many within the ghetto are glad to be Jews for the 1st time in their lives. The various bunkers that are linked together in the ghetto are named after concentration camps and there is a memorable celebration of Passover as their reinforced enemy gathers outside for the final assault. As word of the prolonged resistance within Warsaw's Jewish ghetto seeps out to the rest of Europe, the "dubious battle" (a phrase Uris uses several times) becomes a source of pride & even inspiration. There are indeed formulaic elements to Mila 18 but Leon Uris manages to give dimension to the many characters, some of whom do manage to escape & survive via a tunnel, even as the ghetto is torched & obliterated at novel's end. And the story of the insurrection has sufficient complexity to hold one's interest, even at a 2nd reading of the novel, one that I think serves as a vehicle for understanding at least one chapter of WWII & the Holocaust.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tamar

    Leon Uris was an amazing author. His books do not exactly fit into my favorite reading genres, but they transcend. I binged on a few of his works in 1970 and loved them

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    This began like one of those 1980s epic TV series when the subject matter is fascinating but the script and acting awful. The author gets carried away with every character's back story and he shows us in superfluous and often syrupy detail scenes that could have been told in a sentence or two. However once he had settled into his grove and the war narrative began it was a compelling read. He gives us the Warsaw Ghetto from the perspective of both the Jews and the Nazis with the odd Pole thrown i This began like one of those 1980s epic TV series when the subject matter is fascinating but the script and acting awful. The author gets carried away with every character's back story and he shows us in superfluous and often syrupy detail scenes that could have been told in a sentence or two. However once he had settled into his grove and the war narrative began it was a compelling read. He gives us the Warsaw Ghetto from the perspective of both the Jews and the Nazis with the odd Pole thrown in too, culminating in the heroic uprising. Leon Uris isn't the best writer in the world but he did a brilliant job of comprehensively researching his subject and the story is gripping.

  8. 5 out of 5

    indiefishsteak

    It has been a very long time since I read this book. It had a profound effect on me, and for that I have marked it as amazing. Though I'm not certain how fond I would be of it now, I think that it made me search my soul for certain answers about humanity, its strengths and weaknesses. In short it is about war, genocide, the human spirit, and taking a stand even when you know the action is futile. Though, as I've recently read in another book, wouldn't it be far less meaningful if we knew that we It has been a very long time since I read this book. It had a profound effect on me, and for that I have marked it as amazing. Though I'm not certain how fond I would be of it now, I think that it made me search my soul for certain answers about humanity, its strengths and weaknesses. In short it is about war, genocide, the human spirit, and taking a stand even when you know the action is futile. Though, as I've recently read in another book, wouldn't it be far less meaningful if we knew that we would prevail in our efforts against death in its finality?

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lianda Ludwig

    Leon Uris books are written in a style that takes history and historical characters and fictionalizes events through these made-up composite characters in a very entertaining, personalized and informative manner. Not great literature, however, his books are all page-turners and can be very emotional wrenching. This book, about the history of the Nazis taking over Poland, and the brave fight in the Warsaw Ghetto has left a deep imprint on my soul. Reader beware - if sad books stay with you, this Leon Uris books are written in a style that takes history and historical characters and fictionalizes events through these made-up composite characters in a very entertaining, personalized and informative manner. Not great literature, however, his books are all page-turners and can be very emotional wrenching. This book, about the history of the Nazis taking over Poland, and the brave fight in the Warsaw Ghetto has left a deep imprint on my soul. Reader beware - if sad books stay with you, this will leave a deep wound.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jayne Bowers

    A work of historical fiction, this novel is both informative and mind boggling. I learned a wealth of information about the situation of Jews in and around Warsaw before and during WW II and was reminded to "never forget." I used the term mind boggling because enjoyable is too light of an adjective to describe such horror juxtaposed to kindness, love to hate, and good to evil. One of the many things I enjoy about Uris's books is the way he describes and develops his characters and the various sit A work of historical fiction, this novel is both informative and mind boggling. I learned a wealth of information about the situation of Jews in and around Warsaw before and during WW II and was reminded to "never forget." I used the term mind boggling because enjoyable is too light of an adjective to describe such horror juxtaposed to kindness, love to hate, and good to evil. One of the many things I enjoy about Uris's books is the way he describes and develops his characters and the various situations in which they're involved. He introduces the reader to Gabriela, Andre, Paul Bronski, Deborah, Chris deMonti, and several others in the beginning of the novel, and then as the book progresses you see even more of their many dimensions. For example, you might think that Gabby is a social butterfly, spoiled and pampered. You'd be wrong. She's a strong person, a loyal one too, especially to Andre but to the others as well. And then there's Koenig, a mean and malevolent person. Members of my writing group are fond of saying, "Show, don't tell," and Uris is a master of showing. No one can read Mila 18 without seeing, hearing, and smelling the sights, sounds, and odors of the battlefield, the underground ghetto, and the sewer. I saw the children eating chocolate on their way to a concentration camp, felt revolted by Stutze's brutal murder of Max Kleperman, and smelled and "tasted" the murky sewer gas swirling around up to my neck. Uris also reminds his readers that even in the most horrid of conditions, there is love, honor, and strength. Deep love exists between several couples, and the descriptions of their moments together are poignant. Honor, integrity, and strength are described time after time in the actions of the Jewish people themselves as they struggle against the cruelty directed towards them.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Janice Decker

    Ah, the benefit of age and experience. I read this book when it was first published in the 60s and thought it was wonderful. I see now that what I got from it was incredibly deep research into the story of the resistance of the Warsaw Ghetto. While that story is compelling and heartbreaking, I wonder if Mila 18 could even be classified today as a "novel." The characters are two dimensional and serve essentially as plot devices rather than as real people. Even in historical novels, character shou Ah, the benefit of age and experience. I read this book when it was first published in the 60s and thought it was wonderful. I see now that what I got from it was incredibly deep research into the story of the resistance of the Warsaw Ghetto. While that story is compelling and heartbreaking, I wonder if Mila 18 could even be classified today as a "novel." The characters are two dimensional and serve essentially as plot devices rather than as real people. Even in historical novels, character should drive plot, not the other way around, and in Mila 18, the plot drives the people. I'd also forgotten the large chunks of exposition in which Uris shares with us his research notes. While I certainly appreciated re-learning the history of the growth of Zionism and lots of detail about the Polish Army, Uris was given wide latitude by his publisher. He was, of course, a best selling author but still: this time around, I skimmed and skipped entire chapters. Despite the intense subject matter, this time the book was boring. The characters were not only two dimensional, but they keenly reflected the stereotypes of the 60s. We've come a long way in understanding and depicting human beings.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    Ok. Ok. Deep breaths. I'm going to try really, really hard to not get overly worked up here. It's entirely possible, that if you know nothing about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, if you have never read any literary version of the Holocaust (SOPHIE'S CHOICE AHEM COUGH COUGH), and/or if you had forgotten about the many and varied injustices of World War II, this book will present itself as new, exciting, and maybe even revelatory to you. I don't have any personal foothold on these events, but (big di Ok. Ok. Deep breaths. I'm going to try really, really hard to not get overly worked up here. It's entirely possible, that if you know nothing about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, if you have never read any literary version of the Holocaust (SOPHIE'S CHOICE AHEM COUGH COUGH), and/or if you had forgotten about the many and varied injustices of World War II, this book will present itself as new, exciting, and maybe even revelatory to you. I don't have any personal foothold on these events, but (big disclaimer here) I did live in Poland for a while -- one of those places where things that happened in 1939 are felt to have happened yesterday; where Holocaust survivors routinely visit elementary schools; where the carriage drivers in Old Town can give you their personal narratives of where and how the bombs fell -- so an Amazing Story of Personal Courage in the Face of Adversity - Based on True Events! isn't quite enough to bring me to my feet. So, there's that. But also? This book is propagandist dreck. To be fair, pro-Zionist and anti-Nazi propaganda isn't the worst thing in the world, but -- and this is just my personal preference -- I do not generally favor books where prose, character development, and emotional nuance are manipulated to support a thesis. Mila 18 is half bodice-ripper, half pamphlet, with only the worst qualities of each. I am so unimpressed that the Uprising captured Uris' imagination if the best he could do to was to show it through the eyes of boring, one-dimensional stock characters ("Angry Zionist", "Pacifist Zionist", "Wife") and prose so soul-crushingly awful I was turning down pages JUST SO I COULD TELL GOODREADS ABOUT SOME OF THESE SENTENCES. Witness: "Rachel and Wolf lay side by side on the bed, awed by the magnificence of their experience...She felt so elated from the wonderment of fulfillment." That the preceding combination of words appeared in one of the only popular novels about these absolutely extraordinary true events makes me want to cry. You guys, this is the closest I have ever come to not finishing a book -- the only thing that kept me going was the knowledge that something this conventional would be building to some sort of barnstorming and possibly redemptive climax. It's not. Please, don't be like me. Stay far, far away.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Penman

    A compelling, dramatic account of the Rising in the Warsaw Ghetto.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Doreen Petersen

    Outstanding book! I really like Leon Uris as an author with his insight and writing style.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Pickstone

    I am left stunned by this story. It is a story; not a lot is known about what actually happened, about who were the participants, during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and here a riveting story has been crafted around the known facts. But even the known facts are astonishing; that a group of essentially unarmed Jews in the Ghetto that had been created by the Nazis took on the German war machine and held out for 42 days - longer than Poland itself. There is surviving testimony as to what took place bu I am left stunned by this story. It is a story; not a lot is known about what actually happened, about who were the participants, during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and here a riveting story has been crafted around the known facts. But even the known facts are astonishing; that a group of essentially unarmed Jews in the Ghetto that had been created by the Nazis took on the German war machine and held out for 42 days - longer than Poland itself. There is surviving testimony as to what took place but it hardly matters - it is the sort of action that was bound to become mythologised. Even, recent research suggests, to the point of the person supposed to have led the Jews in their revolt never having existed. Well, someone led them and very competently too, obviously. I cried. And I have to agree, pacifist that I am and all, that the one justification for fighting is a refusal of tyranny.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    I read Mila 18 immediately after Armageddon and I thought they made a great combination. Everyone has heard of the Warsaw Ghetto but I never quite understood just what happened there. This book was a great illustration of that bit of history. Again, the novel is about people in inhuman conditions trying to find some hope for the future, refusing to be trodden under the boots of megalomaniacs. But as we know from history the events in Warsaw were a horror and a tragedy so be prepared for another I read Mila 18 immediately after Armageddon and I thought they made a great combination. Everyone has heard of the Warsaw Ghetto but I never quite understood just what happened there. This book was a great illustration of that bit of history. Again, the novel is about people in inhuman conditions trying to find some hope for the future, refusing to be trodden under the boots of megalomaniacs. But as we know from history the events in Warsaw were a horror and a tragedy so be prepared for another gut-wrenching ending.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jim A

    A reread for me, having first read this back in 1961 or '62. I remembered it as being a very powerful fictionalized version of history back then. It has not lost any of that impact over time. I credit Uris with laying the ground work for my long lasting love of the fictionalized history genre that I enjoy today. Anytime I can learn something factual from a fast paced novel, it's a good read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    The #4 bestseller of 1961 was another door stopper but mostly a page turner. It is the second version I have read of events concerning the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. I also read John Hersey's The Wall as part of my reading list for 1950. Each book takes a slightly different look at this atrocity but it is hard to say which is better. Because he is Leon Uris, he had to put several love stories in his version, but compared to his 1958 bestseller Exodus this book is so much better in terms The #4 bestseller of 1961 was another door stopper but mostly a page turner. It is the second version I have read of events concerning the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. I also read John Hersey's The Wall as part of my reading list for 1950. Each book takes a slightly different look at this atrocity but it is hard to say which is better. Because he is Leon Uris, he had to put several love stories in his version, but compared to his 1958 bestseller Exodus this book is so much better in terms of writing style and the characters. He makes clear the evil deeds of Hitler and his henchmen when it came to their treatment of Jews, the ways that they fumbled towards the "final solution," the psychopathic inhumanity of all involved, and the methods used to spin the news about what was happening. In contrast, we see the bravery and humanity of the Jewish leaders as they try to keep as many as possible alive in that ghetto. Mila 18 is the name of the building inside the ghetto where the Jewish resistance had their headquarters. Both this book and The Wall make it clear that the journals and diaries of certain people inside the ghetto are responsible for the knowledge we now have about what happened there. Even as the final residents were being obliterated, some took the steps necessary to keep the journals secure and get the information about their locations into safe hands. To me, that is a story worth telling at least twice. As our continuous wars go on, seemingly always presented as a necessary slaughter of people, whether of another religion or another political system, it is sobering to read about how mankind has forever succumbed to such madness. But it is also steadying to read about the victims who resist, who record, and thus live on.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lorie Kleiner Eckert

    Mila 18 has a copyright of 1961 making it over 50 years old. I probably read it 30 years ago but found my way to it again after visiting Warsaw, Poland and learning a little bit about the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto during WWII. This book is a fictional account of that event. It took me a while to get into this book but once I did, I found myself sobbing over the plight of the Jews with some regularity. As the book tells us, “The Warsaw Ghetto…once held nearly six hundred thousand people. That Mila 18 has a copyright of 1961 making it over 50 years old. I probably read it 30 years ago but found my way to it again after visiting Warsaw, Poland and learning a little bit about the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto during WWII. This book is a fictional account of that event. It took me a while to get into this book but once I did, I found myself sobbing over the plight of the Jews with some regularity. As the book tells us, “The Warsaw Ghetto…once held nearly six hundred thousand people. That number was decimated by starvation, disease, executions, deportation to slave labor, and finally assembly-line murder in Treblinka. [By September 1942] less than fifty thousand remained.” It was at this point that the people in the Ghetto, banded together to fight back. The book does a fine job of describing the factions in the ghetto that prevented an earlier uprising. It did a fine job of showing the mindset it took to fight in the face of certain defeat. And it did a fine job of showing the perseverance and cunning of the Jews who lasted in battle for over a month - from April 13, 1943 through May 16, 1943. This was a miracle unto itself. Miracle or not, the Jews lost the uprising. 600,000 Jews of Warsaw - gone. What is there to say? It is a wrenching tale worthy of our attention and of our tears.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    I recommend this book. The real events were told through fictitious characters. The book opens with the first salvo of WWII when Germany invaded Poland. The 'sub-human' Jews and other undesirables were rounded up like cattle and herded into the ghettos of Warsaw, Poland. What they did to survive slaughter is the meat of this book. Living in the ghetto meant a life of hunger, thirst, fear and a declining will to live. The ghetto dwellers eventually moved underground where even the healing rays of I recommend this book. The real events were told through fictitious characters. The book opens with the first salvo of WWII when Germany invaded Poland. The 'sub-human' Jews and other undesirables were rounded up like cattle and herded into the ghettos of Warsaw, Poland. What they did to survive slaughter is the meat of this book. Living in the ghetto meant a life of hunger, thirst, fear and a declining will to live. The ghetto dwellers eventually moved underground where even the healing rays of sunlight were lost to them. As their survival instincts flagged, they held to a singular purpose of getting their story out to the world. Several men wrote daily diaries describing the Jew experience in the Warsaw ghettos. The diaries were hidden in several places known to only a few people. One of those few had to survive to retrieve the diaries. One did survive. So we know the story of how the Jews were persecuted and how they fought and held a Goliath army for over a month using mostly crude instruments of war. However one might feel about the holocaust, those feelings will be changed by this book. Thank you, Mr. Uris, for a good read. (Leon Uris died in 2003.) I retread this book May, 2019. It was even better the second time.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Oh my gosh this book really expanded my view about World War Two! By the end I found myself crying. When Andrei escaped from the Germans to return to Warsaw and lead the resistance i thought it was an amazing show of courage and determination. This book also showed how the Jews were left to fend for themselves. There were precious few that stayed to offer assistance to those trapped in Warsaw. Even though they perish at the end you still get a feeling of respect for these characters and the sacr Oh my gosh this book really expanded my view about World War Two! By the end I found myself crying. When Andrei escaped from the Germans to return to Warsaw and lead the resistance i thought it was an amazing show of courage and determination. This book also showed how the Jews were left to fend for themselves. There were precious few that stayed to offer assistance to those trapped in Warsaw. Even though they perish at the end you still get a feeling of respect for these characters and the sacrifices they made to stand up for what they believe in!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bev Walkling

    I first read this book many many years ago but I had forgotten just how powerful it was. During a recent trip to Warsaw I was inspired to read it again. It meant a lot more to me this time as I was able to "see" places mentioned through the lens of my recent travels. It is a novel based on factual events but featuring imaginary characters. Uris did an amazing job making it read as though it was fact. I grew to deeply care for some of the charactors. I would highly recommend this book to anyone i I first read this book many many years ago but I had forgotten just how powerful it was. During a recent trip to Warsaw I was inspired to read it again. It meant a lot more to me this time as I was able to "see" places mentioned through the lens of my recent travels. It is a novel based on factual events but featuring imaginary characters. Uris did an amazing job making it read as though it was fact. I grew to deeply care for some of the charactors. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Holocaust history..

  23. 5 out of 5

    Fergie

    ** NOTE: Some spoilers included in review of novel. ** This novel was required reading for a course I'm currently taking on the Holocaust. In college, I minored in history because of my love for the subject, but despite my previous knowledge about WWII and the Holocaust, my knowledge of the Warsaw Ghetto was limited to a cursory understanding of the uprising that occurred in the spring of 1943. As a result, I was looking forward to reading Uris’s novel on the subject. My first thought was how im ** NOTE: Some spoilers included in review of novel. ** This novel was required reading for a course I'm currently taking on the Holocaust. In college, I minored in history because of my love for the subject, but despite my previous knowledge about WWII and the Holocaust, my knowledge of the Warsaw Ghetto was limited to a cursory understanding of the uprising that occurred in the spring of 1943. As a result, I was looking forward to reading Uris’s novel on the subject. My first thought was how important a novel this must have been at the time of its writing. Written only 15 years after the uprising, I could imagine Uris having the benefit of the survivor accounts as well as the relatively fresh recollections of the those who lived during that time. As I continued to read I had the recurring thought and feeling that Mila 18 is perhaps one of the most important pieces of historical fiction of all-time. Like Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, sometimes art can transcend to a point of such importance and relevancy that it must be placed upon an exalted plane of study for the world. I believe Mila 18 should be required reading for all high school students. Love, man’s capacity for inhumanity, responses to adversity, courage & sacrifice, and commitment to a higher call can all be deemed themes of this novel. Throughout time, man has searched for understanding of suffering. While this book is not purely a spiritual analysis, the novel does display the characters’ moral and spiritual dilemmas and understanding of themselves in the context of the evil that surrounds them. Indeed, trying to make sense of such evil has always been a stumbling block for me personally in a spiritual sense. The Holocaust is a key example of such evil. My emotional responses to that question were deepened through feeling a connection to Uris’s fictional characters who, although they did not exist, it was not difficult to imagine that such individuals did exist; that, in the crucible, those who were confined behind the ghetto walls must have questioned and struggled with the eternal question of ‘Why?’. That many must have contemplated how to transcend their suffering in search of dignity and higher meaning was part of what led to the uprising. This, I felt, could have been the mindset of those brave souls who dared to take on their tormentors in search of their rightful dignity and freedom. The main hero of the book is Polish Calvary Officer Andrei Androfski who fights against the injustice of what it means to be Jew in a country for which he proudly fights and serves. Andrei represents the faction of Jews who wish to fight for their right to be on equal footing with their Christian countrymen. His friend, Alexander Brandel, is a historian, an idealist and wordsmith, who along with Andrei and their other friends, commit their time to Zionism. I was moved by Andrei’s desire to stay in his homeland instead of dreaming of a Jewish future in Palestine. While Alexander idealizes an independent Jewish state, Andrei dreams of day where through sheer righteous determination, he may one day be granted the respect of his countrymen. I knew very little of Zionism before or during the WWII period. Uris was masterful in making the case for the basis of Zionism. I never gave it much thought about the desire for an independent land inhabited by Jews prior to reading Mila 18; didn’t know of the factions that made up Zionism, but because of this book I have a much more profound appreciation for its roots. While Uris populates his novel with outright villains, he also introduces us to more morally complex characters like Italian-American journalist Christopher de Monti. Chris is in love with Andrei’s married sister, Deborah, who seemed stuck in a loveless marriage to Dr. Paul Bronski, a Jewish medical professor who, in his efforts to advance in academia, had abandoned his Jewish faith. Christopher and Paul represent two decent men who lack moral courage to stand up for what’s right. The difference between the two, Chris eventually chooses morality by walking away from his connections to the Nazi regime. He winds up siding with the Jew’s Ghetto plight while Paul degrades into self-loathing as a result of his doomed efforts at self-preservation through useless pandering to the Nazis. I appreciated Uris’s inclusion of these characters as I think they indicated many individuals who were ambivalent and were only forced because of the winds of evil to come to an understanding as to the cost of that ambivalence. I found the description, exploration, and development of every character a fascinating study. For example, Andrei and Alex come to empathetic understanding of the other’s positions and views on how to lead their people while Chris and Paul, both initially afraid to jump into the chasm, arrive at different conclusions on how to respond to the injustices that surround them. The strength and weaknesses of the characters are explored well over the course of the novel. It’s also worth noting that although much has been written and known of the Nazis’ propensity for evil, Uris didn’t fall prey to writing one dimensional Nazi supporters and German characters. Each, even in his depravity, is shown to such a depth that we the reader have greater insight even as we cannot understand, accept, or condone the actions of those characters. Uris uses journal writings and character dialogue to work through his spiritual themes of why the historically victimized Jews were so unjustly and inhumanely treated. Dialogue was also used as a way for the reader to psychologically assess how and why the Germans were able to carry out and rationalize such contemptable acts of inhumanity and mass murder. Uris did a fine job of historically describing the stateless Jewish dilemma and how it had forced them throughout history to be subjugated and tormented by those who were in a more powerful position. As stated earlier, I knew little about Zionism despite knowing of the racism that existed throughout history by various nations and groups. While Uris didn’t spend as much time on outlining the German mindset after their loss in WWI or their thought to avenge Versailles, he did offer-up reasons for the Poles’ complicit silence regarding their Jewish neighbors. I had previously known of the Dutch Resistance and their efforts to save their Jewish population, but before reading this book, I was unaware of how the Swedes and Danes had made similar moral stands against the Nazis in regards to their own Jewish population. I had never contemplated before the Polish mass population’s and the Home Army’s complicity which, in hindsight, was naïve. I knew the Catholic Church was complicit and I knew that most of Poland’s populace was Catholic. Of course, it now seems more clear that through systematic, cultural, religious anti-Sematic messaging, the populace was ripe for such complicity. With that in mind, I liked how the author did write of non-Jewish characters who had the courage to do what was right. Andrei’s Catholic girlfriend, Gabriella, and eventually Deborah’s lover, Chris, take a stand to assist the Jews in their plight as I’m sure many individual Poles did. I found it interesting how the author was able to utilize every character to describe potential outcomes for how men and women can reach their own spiritual conclusions. I was moved to tears reading of the courage and willingness to sacrifice oneself for a higher calling. History notes the Spartans taking on the Persian Army at the Thermopylae pass, the Scots taking on the mighty Kings of England, and a small band of Texans taking on the weight of the Mexican army under Santa Anna, but perhaps no other battle had a more righteous basis than that of the Warsaw Ghetto. Over forty-two days, a cry for freedom and dignity rang out. A small band of Jewish ghetto fighters took on one of the mightiest armies the world had ever seen. Beaten down, starved, attacked on every level of their sense of self-worth, and destined to die, hundreds of Warsaw Ghetto Jews chose a noble stand to sacrifice themselves for posterity. Through their valiant efforts, the world was made to take note. No longer could the world turn a blind eye. Over those forty-two days, a guilty, silent, culpable world was faced with the courage of an ancient, heroic people fighting for their dignity. Mila 18 was one of the most profoundly moving novels I’ve ever read. My knowledge of the Ghetto was increased greatly. Specific details of what conditions were like were only contemplated through imagination. In Mila 18, those conditions came to life. The subjugation and degradation of a people, brutalized in increments as well as in broad, brutal strokes became to me to feel more real through Uris’s characters and stories. Acts of hatred, love, and courage were on display, allowing me to see into the psyches, hearts, and souls of individuals. In this way, man’s capacity for great acts of love and hatred were interwoven seamlessly into the story that would lead up to one of the greatest acts of courage by any group of people.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Melanie H

    Coronavirus (update: Coronavirus + Rebellion 2020) book review #19 - 3.75 stars I didn’t have high hopes for this seemingly beloved 1960s best-seller. It read more like a dressed up trashy romance novel with some Polish WWII history thrown in to give it some legitimacy. But a page-turner, nonetheless, about the Warsaw ghetto uprising. I could have lived without the objectification of women. Although to be fair, there are numerous women in this book who have their own backstories and roles to play Coronavirus (update: Coronavirus + Rebellion 2020) book review #19 - 3.75 stars I didn’t have high hopes for this seemingly beloved 1960s best-seller. It read more like a dressed up trashy romance novel with some Polish WWII history thrown in to give it some legitimacy. But a page-turner, nonetheless, about the Warsaw ghetto uprising. I could have lived without the objectification of women. Although to be fair, there are numerous women in this book who have their own backstories and roles to play, which is unusual for the genre, as women are usually absent, except as the mothers and lovers being longed for by the “heroes” on the frontlines. There’s also a hint of pro-Zionist propaganda weaved throughout that seems archaic, but of course, hindsight is 20/20. We can’t talk about the rights of Israel without talking about the rights of Palestinians, and here we are 2020. Also, as we have a national conversation about policing and the rights of Blacks in America, there were quite a few passages about how the Nazis talked about Jews that jumped off the page at me. Oppression is the same as it ever was. In other more selfish thoughts, maybe one day I’ll see Warsaw.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Frank

    Very powerful novel about the Warsaw Ghetto and the Jewish Uprising there during WWII. I've read quite a bit about the Holocaust but this is the first novel I've read about the Warsaw Ghetto and the courageous fighters who faced the Nazis with limited weapons including homemade bombs and their bare hands. This novel by Uris was sweeping in scope telling the story of Poland and Warsaw before the German invasion in 1939 and through the horrors of the ghetto. The novel focuses on a group of people Very powerful novel about the Warsaw Ghetto and the Jewish Uprising there during WWII. I've read quite a bit about the Holocaust but this is the first novel I've read about the Warsaw Ghetto and the courageous fighters who faced the Nazis with limited weapons including homemade bombs and their bare hands. This novel by Uris was sweeping in scope telling the story of Poland and Warsaw before the German invasion in 1939 and through the horrors of the ghetto. The novel focuses on a group of people including Jews, Polish non-Jews, and Germans. The Jewish characters and the Poles who helped them were very believable and Uris’ descriptions made me feel their pain as they fought their oppressors. The German characters were sufficiently evil and there was no question that I despised them and everything they stood for. Every time I read something about the Holocaust, I can't believe how man can be so inhuman towards man! This novel was written in 1961 and some of the first part of the novel was a little soap-operaish, in line with other novels of the time like Harold Robbins and Irving Wallace. But overall, I would definitely recommend this one. I have read QBVII by Uris which I would also recommend and I most definitely will be reading more of his work.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    This is a typical Leon Uris novel. He does a great job setting up fictional characters in the historic setting of the Warsaw Ghetto. It is a tragic story and I was amazed at how long they held out. Worth reading for multiple reasons.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nitya

    Imagine being an Olympic soccer player, an officer in the Polish Army, and a loyal Pole who happens to be a Jew. The main character in this book,(which is based on the real life events of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in the spring of 1942) is all of those. Andrei Androfski bravely leads his troops against the Germans while still an officer in the Polish Army. Once defeated by Germany however, he is made to live in the Warsaw ghetto along with hundreds of thousands of Jews from Poland and other pa Imagine being an Olympic soccer player, an officer in the Polish Army, and a loyal Pole who happens to be a Jew. The main character in this book,(which is based on the real life events of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in the spring of 1942) is all of those. Andrei Androfski bravely leads his troops against the Germans while still an officer in the Polish Army. Once defeated by Germany however, he is made to live in the Warsaw ghetto along with hundreds of thousands of Jews from Poland and other parts of Europe. Andrei wants nothing more than to fight back against the Nazis.Unfortunately he has no weapons and no soldiers. As circumstances for the Jews grow more dire, with hundreds starving every day, and with word of the death camps beginning to be believed, Andrei gathers a small group of fighters, men and women both. Living in underground bunkers in the ghetto, all the Jews simply refused to show up for deportation in the early months of 1942. This infuriated the Nazis, who had built their camps in Poland expressly for mass liquidation (execution) of the Jewish population. Against all odds, knowing they could not possibly win in the long run, these thousands of Jews rebelled. Some by hiding, some by fighting. They are all heroes. I am fascinated by how we as humans react to extreme circumstances, how our spirits find strength to live in the midst of tragedy, death, and destruction. This is what drew me to this book. The author uses historical facts and spins a story, well, actually several stories while doing so. I loved being inspired by the stories of courage and sacrifice. It was hard not to give this book more stars, but Leon Uris' style of writing got in the way of the story. Overall, the story carried the book, and the writing detracted from it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Laing

    Uris is a compelling author and has a knack for the historical fiction page-turner. Mila 18 is excellent at capturing the world of the Warsaw Ghetto and really paces the novel well so that you, through the eyes of several characters, see its inexorable decline towards death and destruction. Uris puts a lot of emphasis on the complexities of Jewish society in this period - rather than portraying them all as heroic victims in unified suffering, he goes into the complex intra-social divisions among Uris is a compelling author and has a knack for the historical fiction page-turner. Mila 18 is excellent at capturing the world of the Warsaw Ghetto and really paces the novel well so that you, through the eyes of several characters, see its inexorable decline towards death and destruction. Uris puts a lot of emphasis on the complexities of Jewish society in this period - rather than portraying them all as heroic victims in unified suffering, he goes into the complex intra-social divisions amongst Jews, the tragedy of Jews working against each other in this period, and various ways in which Jewish people tried to ensure their cultural survival. But Mila 18 shares with Uris' other novels some weak characterization and poor writing. Uris really struggles with authentic interactions between characters, especially romantic interactions, and some romantic conversations were so overwrought and cliche I just skipped over them. His characters are very diverse in terms of portrayal, some are nuanced and complex, others feel readily stereotyped and one dimensional. Also there are some departures from the historical record that seem unnecessary. The clearest example of this is the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which is the climax of the novel but is somewhat revisionist in depicting a month of glorious victories for the Jewish fighters and rank cowardice and incompetence on the part of the Germans. Also some of the historical account of the book shows its age - Uris repeats several urban myths about the war that have long since been debunked. Overall, it's an enjoyable book that gets you into that period and helps you feel the horror and inhumanity of the Warsaw Ghetto, but there's bit a too much Hollywood and stereotyping for my taste.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma

    Great novel. Leon Uris never dissapoints. I have read two of his books previously and they were great. Here, we are transported to Poland and the year is 1943 or therabouts. Hitler and his Nazi buddies have invaded Poland with his barbarous goal of exterminating the Jews. In order to tame them he comes up with the idea of recruiting some of their own to control the population. Alongside the Germans, they form the Jewish Civil Authority, Jewish Militia, and others whose work is to transmit the la Great novel. Leon Uris never dissapoints. I have read two of his books previously and they were great. Here, we are transported to Poland and the year is 1943 or therabouts. Hitler and his Nazi buddies have invaded Poland with his barbarous goal of exterminating the Jews. In order to tame them he comes up with the idea of recruiting some of their own to control the population. Alongside the Germans, they form the Jewish Civil Authority, Jewish Militia, and others whose work is to transmit the laws of the Gestapo anong their own. On the other hand, we have the Jewish people who have nothing but their faith and religion. It is a battle between the lions and the lambs. They live in the Ghettos and band together to protect and help one another. Amongst them are Zionists, and different other groups which come together to combat the external aggression. They try to defend their nest the best way they can. But the German dictatorship and arrogance will overun them. They will be banded togather to slave camps, amputated, tortured, burned, and killed. This was an eye opener to me. I consider myself privileged to have had the opportunity of reading such a great book. It reminded me of the immigration problem in the world. Trumps divisive policies and his America first policy. We are forgetting quickly. Thomas Paine's words are no longer revered by our leaders. He admonished us to have the world as our country, all men our brethren, and to do good our religion. Unfortunately, we have honored him by doing the opposite. Our species has endeavoured to destroy each other in useless wars. And, just like then, the rest of the world stands silently as the innocent suffer and perish.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gerald

    My wife and I went to Poland on an Eastern European tour in 2005. As a part of that tour we visited the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial. At a souvenier stand near the memorial I noticed copies of a paperback book which I owned but had never read, i.e., by Leon Uris. I read the book as soon as we returned from our trip. This historical fiction book is the absolutely incredible story of how the Germans built a walled concentration camp within the city of Warsaw and forced a huge number of Jews in My wife and I went to Poland on an Eastern European tour in 2005. As a part of that tour we visited the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial. At a souvenier stand near the memorial I noticed copies of a paperback book which I owned but had never read, i.e., by Leon Uris. I read the book as soon as we returned from our trip. This historical fiction book is the absolutely incredible story of how the Germans built a walled concentration camp within the city of Warsaw and forced a huge number of Jews inside the area which originally housed a much smaller number of Warsaw citizens. It became known as The Warsaw Ghetto. The Jews organized themselves, built tunnels and homemade weapons, and finally revolted against the horrors of their Nazi captors. By heroic means they held off their captors for 43 days while completely surrounded. I really liked it a lot.

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