Reviewed by: Kimball, age 15
Time Period: World War II
Viktor Frankl is a renowned Jewish psychiatrist famous for the concept of logotherapy, that man's drive is not power or reproduction but seeks those things and others in their true purpose to find the meaning of life. He illustrates this concept by first detailing his experience in a Nazi concentration camp and how his tribulation helped him develop his theory and find deeper meaning in life.
Viktor could have left for America and avoided the whole thing. However, he would have had to leave his parents behind. Reading the first of the Ten Commandments, he decided to honor his father and mother by not abandoning them, even though this meant that he and his family would surely be taken by the Nazis for it.
Separated from his wife, children and parents, Viktor lived in a mens' concentration camp, he finds that the inmates go through three stages: upon entry, they are shocked, and gradually become apathetic and develop a survival-of-the-fittest mentality. When they are in their final stage, if they have not given up entirely on surviving, they become worse creatures than their captors, seeking vengeance to vent their bitterness and justifying cruelty because they have suffered worse cruelties.
Themes: our true purpose is to find it, men must not let the injustice inflicted upon them to turn them amoral
Recommended Age: 14 and up
There is some nudity and occasional swearing. The experiences described are extremely sad and horrifying.