What Is the Book "Maus" About?


Quick Answer

The book "Maus" is about the struggles of a Jewish family during the Holocaust. The work depicts the Nazis as cats and the Jews as mice.

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What Is the Book "Maus" About?
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Full Answer

"Maus" is the creation of a cartoonist named Art Spiegelman. The graphic novel was originally published in 1980 and earned a Pulitzer Prize. It was based on Spiegelman's father's experiences during the Holocaust and tells the story of a family trying to survive the horrors of a concentration camp. Rather than depicting the characters as people, Spiegelman tells his anti-fascist tale through a cast of cats and mice.

Although the book won plenty of critical acclaim, it has been no stranger to controversy. Its cover, which shows Hitler depicted as a cat against a swastika background, has created a stir in many countries. Because the swastika symbol is banned in Germany, the book's German publisher originally rejected the cover. However, the book was able to be released in Germany in its original form due to a loophole that allows works with scholarly value to depict the swastika. The German government allowed an exception for the cover based on this loophole.

More recently, "Maus" was pulled from Moscow bookstore shelves due to the swastika on its cover in 2015. In honor of Victory Day, which celebrates the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, Vladimir Putin called for the removal of all swastikas from Moscow. The ruling did not discern between works promoting the symbol and critical works.

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