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Publisher's Summary

A New York Times Critics’ Best Nonfiction Book of 2021
Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Biography

From a gifted young writer, the story of his quest to reclaim his family’s apartment building in Poland—and of the astonishing entanglement with Nazi treasure hunters that follows 

Menachem Kaiser’s brilliantly told story, woven from improbable events and profound revelations, is set in motion when the author takes up his Holocaust-survivor grandfather’s former battle to reclaim the family’s apartment building in Sosnowiec, Poland. Soon, he is on a circuitous path to encounters with the long-time residents of the building, and with a Polish lawyer known as “The Killer.”  A surprise discovery—that his grandfather’s cousin not only survived the war, but wrote a secret memoir while a slave laborer in a vast, secret Nazi tunnel complex—leads to Kaiser being adopted as a virtual celebrity by a band of Silesian treasure seekers who revere the memoir as the indispensable guidebook to Nazi plunder. Propelled by rich original research, Kaiser immerses readers in profound questions that reach far beyond his personal quest. What does it mean to seize your own legacy? Can reclaimed property repair rifts among the living? Plunder is both a deeply immersive adventure story and an irreverent, daring interrogation of inheritance—material, spiritual, familial, and emotional.

©2021 by Meir Menachem Kaiser (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Plunder

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable but tiresome

An interesting story, fact & fiction, reality and memory and wishful thinking. It should and could have been edited savagely without compromising anything: Instead of writing (and I paraphrase): “Abraham was dealing with fact, memory, uncertainty; Gretchen was dealing with fact, memory, uncertainty; “X” was dealing with ...”, which really lost impact, better: Abraham, Gretchen, X, all dealing with their myopic facts, memory, uncertainty”... this style of trying to show how universal that particular experience or mental state was, by repetition, itself is used multiple times and wears very thin...

3 people found this helpful

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Thought provoking book

Really enjoyed the audible version. Poland in the WW ll days was well told.Great ending.

2 people found this helpful

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Fantastic read

Extraordinarily well read by the author. While some of the digressions could be eliminated the quality of the writing and narration kept my attention.

1 person found this helpful

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Sort of interesting

I listened to this entire book, but had I read it, I would have abandoned it after one or two chapters. It starts with the compelling premise of a holocaust survivor, but then drifts in and out of side stories that are relevant only to the author and his family. It does not achieve a broad insightful arc, only scratches at it.

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Amazing book, terrible narration.

This book is fascinating and emotional and thought provoking. I hope it becomes part of the canon of literature about the Holocaust. Great story and great ruminations about narrative.

I can see why a writer writing a memoir would want to narrate the story himself, it feels like only the writer should be able to do justice for a story so personal. But there are so many distracting vocal tics, mispronunciations, poor diction, poor vocal modulation, that it really detracts from the power of the tale and the writing. It’s a shame but my rec is for people to read this book, not listen to it.

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Desperately Seeking Editor or Compelling Narrator

This book needed an editor. The repetitive ruminations, the circular reasoning, the wierd grab bag of material could have benefitted from serious revisions and edits. For an audiobook, the author was not suitable. I understand it's a memoir and maybe he felt only he could do it justice but I found his droning monotone unbearable. I had to speed it up to make it through. Lastly, some reviews called it hilarious. I would call it melancholy, tragic, or Kafkaesque, but hilarious, never.

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Did not resonate with me

Listened to this and I have to admit I started fast forwarding. Liked it at the beginning but story just totally lost me. I wish the author would have made this more of a story about his family.

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Better than excellent

What an artful pile of loss,longing, mystery, obsession, folly, horror, and ——I don’t know what! I have never read anything like this before.

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Incredible!

Not only is the book unique, poignant, beautifully written - but Menachem’s reading is a rare combination of tender, vulnerable and yet humorous where it can be! Recommending it to all my friends - Jewish and not.

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A compelling and excellent book!

Very profound and moving. Would definitely recommend to all readers. Will stay with me for a long time.