BOOK REVIEW: The Lampshade: A Holocaust Detective Story from Buchenwald to New Orleans

The Lampshade: A Holocaust Detective Story from Buchenwald to New Orleans

The Lampshade is not an emotionally easy read. It is the true story of the author’s quest to track down the origins of a lampshade created from human skin. The grisly artifact was purchased at a yard sale for a paltry sum; its seller was a drug-addicted pathological liar who apparently stole the lampshade in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Could the hideous object have its origins in Nazi Germany?

The author faces the arduous task of learning about the remains and who they may have come from coupled with the overwhelming desire to release the haunting item from his possession (can you blame him?). Along the way he cites especially gruesome examples of man’s inhumanity to man throughout history.

Much has been said of the author’s at-times arduous skipping-around through time and place and back again; he’s literally all over the map. On one hand, I could see where this could annoy readers, on the other, I understood his need to frequently reframe the reader’s experience. After all, we are reading about a knickknack made out of a human corpse, which very well may be a product of the Holocaust. I doubt Jacobson wants to torment his readers any more than he already does.

I’ll admit that parts of this book nauseated me. However, I also understand the need for stories like this to be told.

(review originally appeared at

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Ivey Pieloch
    Nov 13, 2011 @ 19:37:32

    Normally I don’t read post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do it! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, quite nice article.


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