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If not now, when? /
Primo Levi ; translated from the Italian by William Weaver ; introduction by Irving Howe.
New York, N.Y., U.S.A. : Penguin Books, 1986, c1985.
349 p. ; 20 cm.
0140084924 (pbk.) :
More Details
New York, N.Y., U.S.A. : Penguin Books, 1986, c1985.
0140084924 (pbk.) :
general note
Translation of: Se non ora, quando?
catalogue key
Bibliography: p. 348-349.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1985-10:
Through several fine translations into English, Primo Levi's writings are in great part now available to American readers. If This Is a Man (1959), The Reawakening (1965), and The Periodic Table (1984) give us Levi's autobiographical re-creations of the wrenching realities of WW II and its aftermath as they were experienced by an Italian Jew. Trained as a chemist, Levi writes of the horror of Auschwitz and of what he has called ``the demolition of man'' with astounding grace, clarity, and control. In William Weaver's excellent rendering of If Not Now, When?, we read of the activity of Jewish partisans during 1943-45. The novel is not based on Levi's own life but rather is a deeply felt imaginative depiction of the sort of guerilla warfare in which many European Jews were engaged, and about which Levi had heard after the war. The author researched his novel with great care; although the characters and events are fictional, they represent a very accurate version of the struggles of uprooted and brutalized people who nonetheless hold onto their basic humanity and dignity. The novel is, as well, a treasure trove of little-known facts about the daily life of the forgotten ones ignored by ``History'' and yet the most true participants in and creators of it. Highly recommended to public as well as academic libraries.-R. West, University of Chicago
Main Description
In the final days of World War II, a courageous band of Jewish partisans makes its way from Russia to Italy, moving toward the ultimate goal of Palestine. Based on a true story, If Not Now, When? chronicles their adventures as they wage a personal war of revenge against the Nazis: blowing up trains, rescuing the last victims of concentration camps, scoring victories in the face of unspeakable devastation. Primo Levi captures the landscape and the people of Eastern Europe in vivid detail, depicting as well the terrible bleakness of war-ridden Europe. But finally, what he gives us is a tribute to the strength and ingenuity of the human spirit. "One of the most important and gifted writers of our time" -Italo Calvino

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