The Lampshade

The Lampshade

A Holocaust Detective Story From Buchenwald to New Orleans

Book - 2010
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Baker & Taylor
A contributing journalist to New York magazine and other publications recounts his historical, moral and philosophical journey of discovery after learning of the grisly Nazi practice of fashioning objects from human skin. By the author of 12,000 Miles in the Nick of Time. Reprint. 40,000 first printing.

Simon and Schuster
Few growing up in the aftermath of World War II will ever forget the horrifying reports that Nazi concentration camp doctors had removed the skin of prison ers to make common, everyday lampshades. In The Lampshade, bestselling journalist Mark Jacobson tells the story of how he came into possession of one of these awful objects, and of his search to establish the origin, and larger meaning, of what can only be described as an icon of terror.

From Hurricane Katrina–ravaged New Orleans to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem to the Buchenwald concentration camp to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, almost everything Jacobson uncovers about the lampshade is contradictory, mysterious, shot through with legend and specious information. Through interviews with forensic experts, famous Holocaust scholars (and deniers), Buchenwald survivors and liberators, and New Orleans thieves and cops, Jacobson gradually comes to see the lampshade as a ghostly illuminator of his own existential status as a Jew, and to understand exactly what that means in the context of human responsibility. One question looms as his search progresses: what to do with the lampshade—this unsettling thing that used to be someone?

Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Simon & Schuster, c2010
ISBN: 9781416566281
Branch Call Number: 940.5318 Jac
Characteristics: 357 p. : ill


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Feb 18, 2016

Interesting and unsettling read about the serendipitous identification of a lampshade made of human skin in post-Katrina New Orleans. Jacobson does a great job of sketching the myriad characters he encounters during his search for an appropriate resting place for the lampshade. There is no neat conclusion to this story; Jacobson places the account as part of a broad history of cruelty and fear as well as a particular representation of the Holocaust.

Nov 23, 2012

A page turner. Hard to put down. A great read.

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