Now in paperback and featuring an interview with Ben Stiller; a guided group tour to concentration camps allows Stahl to confront personal and historical demons with both deep despair and savage humor
IN SEPTEMBER 2016, JERRY STAHL was feeling nervous on the eve of a two-week trip across Poland and Germany. But it was not just the stops at Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Dachau that gave him anxiety. It was the fact that he would be traveling with two dozen strangers, by bus. In a tour group. And he was not a tour-group kind of guy.
The decision to visit Holocaust-world did not come easy. Stahl’s lifelong depression at an all-time high, his career and personal life at an all-time low, he had the idea to go on a trip where the despair he was feeling—out-of-control sadness, regret, and fear, not just for himself, but for the entire United States—would be appropriate. And where was despair more appropriate than the land of the Six Million?
Seamlessly weaving global and personal history, through the lens of Stahl’s own bent perspective, Nein, Nein, Nein! stands out as a triumph of strange-o reporting, a tale that takes us from gang polkas to tourrash to the truly disturbing snack bar at Auschwitz. Strap in for a raw, surreal, and redemptively hilarious trip. Get on the bus.
About the Author
JERRY STAHL has written ten books, including the best-selling memoir Permanent Midnight, made into a movie with Ben Stiller; the essay collection OG Dad; and the novels Pain Killers; I, Fatty; Perv; Plainclothes Naked; Happy Mutant Baby Pills; and Bad Sex on Speed. A Pushcart Prize–winning author, Stahl's work has appeared in Esquire, Vice, the Believer, Tin House, Los Angeles Review of Books, and the New York Times, among other places. He has written extensively for film and television, including Hemingway & Gellhorn, which earned a Writers Guild Award nomination; Bad Boys II; and the cult classic Dr. Caligari; series credits include Maron, CSI, and Escape at Dannemora, for which he received an Emmy nomination. He has two daughters, and lives with artist Zoe Hansen.
Gonzo meets the Shoah in this wildly irreverent—and brilliant—tour of Holocaust tourism . . . Stahl knows his Holocaust history . . . but he was also prepared to be surprised . . . A vivid, potent, decidedly idiosyncratic addition to the literature of genocide. — Kirkus Reviews, starred review, a Best Nonfiction Book of 2022
Stahl embarks on Holocaust tourism in this meditative yet humorous account, weaving personal narrative with reflections on current and past global events. — New York Times Book Review
Mordantly funny . . . Fusing provocative insights with razor-edged wit, this offers a captivating take on a haunting chapter of history. — Publishers Weekly, starred review
An audacious, emotional journey. — Village Voice
There's a laugh on almost every page of Nein, Nein, Nein!, but for all his wit and somewhat skewed perspective, Stahl never loses sight of the gravity of the places he visits . . . Stahl's book shows the thought processes of a man feeling at his lowest soothing his 'shpilkes' by experiencing one of the most sobering, draining tours one can possibly imagine. For him, it's cathartic, and readers might find it to be the same for them.