Perhaps the most difficult question that any student of history can ask is what you would do. Morally, we always know the answer to this question. We will do what is right, the difficult moral high ground. We would hide and save whomever, whatever. We would do it right.
Easy lip service considering that push coming to shove is hardly ever going to happen in that content. This is the reason, or at least part of it, why stories of those who do stand up in any way attract readership.
Oskar Steindler was a man who loved women, and he was not a faithful husband. He liked his drink. He liked his smokes. He liked his money. He liked cars. He was not what one would call a moral man.
Amon Goeth was very much like Schindler, though perhaps without the head and liver for the drink. Unlike Schindler, Goeth was a father.
One a very likely devil, one a very unlikely sinner.
It is this parallelism as well as the idea of an appearance belying reality that seem in part to draw Keneally to the story of Schindler. This is a fictionalized story, though heavily based and drawing from facts. Keneally’s novel is the primary source for Spielberg’s famous movie.
It isn’t a novel in the standard sense of the word. It is narrow in focus, the primary area of interest is the Holocaust and while a more traditional historical fiction would trace the development of Schindler from boyhood, Kenalley doesn’t do this. It is more of a book peopled by types then actual characters as if Keneally is doesn’t want to go too far in his novelization.
And it tries to look closely, to examine the question of why people do what they do, at least why some chose to give to their higher natures while others sink so very low. It reads like a historical document or treatise even while it calls to mind the questions of judgement.