In his work, Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl does a marvelous job of both relating the story of his time in a Nazi concentration camp and of exploring the titular concept of finding meaning in life and suffering.
Being a well-educated man, Frankl knows his way around words. Granted, the book was written in German and translated to English, but unless the translator took great liberties, I imagine the style and writing ability were largely Frankl’s.
The first half of the book, which relates Frankl’s time in Auschwitz, does a remarkable job of painting the bleak picture that was a Nazi concentration camp. But it’s not just the hunger and beatings and forced labor that I found so interesting. Really, it was in the details–the mannerisms of other inmates, the telling snippets of conversation, the chilling conveyance of humans who have lost the will to live. Eye-opening, fascinating, and profound.
Perhaps the most peculiar element of the book’s first half is the way in which it is at the same time stark and somewhat depressing, yet also hopeful and redemptive. And the upswing raises even higher in the second half of the book when Frankl applies his experiences to all of mankind. He manages to glean so much value from his time at Auschwitz and to shed light on human nature as a result. Truly a monumental and world-changing application. Thank you, Mr. Frankl.
5 stars out of 5