The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku was the winner of the ABIA prize in 2021 for biography of the year.
I have read a lot of books set in World War II and about the atrocities committed in the concentration camps. This book was different.
Although this is about Eddie's struggle, the positivity and kindness he held on to throughout this dangerous time makes this book stand out from the others.
The Happiest Man on Earth is a memoir about the seven years Eddie spent in Nazi concentration camps during World War II, the horrors he endured and his struggle for life, but it is also a book about staying positive, never giving up hope and the importance of happiness and friendship. He credits these for keeping him alive while he lost numerous family and friends.
Eddie survived two concentration camps and numerous incidences where he was close to death. He broke out of the camp and back in after being injured, and he survived and escaped the death march.
This book is not just about the horrors he endured but the people he met on the way who showed kindness and friendship to him and helped him to survive the extremes of the camps.
When he was rescued he moved to Australia and became a father and grandfather and wrote his memoir at age 100.
After reading this I wanted to meet Eddie and talk to him about staying positive and finding a little bit of happiness and humour in everything. Unfortunately, he died last year at the age of 101.
I think that we all need to read The Happiest Man on Earth and put a bit more happiness and hope in our lives and learn the value of friendship.
"Happiness does not fall from the sky, it is in your hands" - Eddie Jaku