Book Review: The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman

December 6, 2011


The Street Sweeper by Australian historian Elliot Perlman is a fictional book which deals with the American struggle for civil rights and the Holocaust. The book beautifully ties together the idea that we are all human and touch each other’s lives.

The pub­lisher is giv­ing away one advanced reader copy (ARC) of this book— enter at the end of the post.

  • 640 pages
  • Publisher:Riverhead Hardcover
  • ISBN:1594488479

My rating for The Street Sweeper5

Buy & Save onThe Street Sweeperthrough theManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on:
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More books by Elliot Perlman*


The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman is storytelling at its best. The book manages to bring complex ideas to the forefront of the reader’s attention such as what is history, how do we record it or pass it along as well as the importance of firsthand accounts.

A well written and sweeping book which touches many subjects and ties them all together in a humane sense rather than the meticulous books we read about history. However, the main point of the book, for me, was the importance of remembering history, not as dry dates and figures but from the point of view of people who are real people, fathers, mothers, daughters, brothers and sisters.

The book interweaves two main stories, an ex-con named Lamont Williams and the historian Adam Zignelik. The book has its own unique rhythm which is intricate and involved.

While remembering is certainly a point which is hammered throughout the book, some themes also include love, lost and that basically we are all human beings and we must always remember that despite the unbelievable outrageous numbers (like 6 million) which any person cannot even fathom.

Mr. Perlman wrote a risky novel, one that is intricate, detailed yet cycles through events at almost breakneck speed only to stop, reflect and expend upon what we, the human kind, have been capable to do to one another.


Lamont Williams, an ex-con African American, is trying to return to normal life after being at the wrong time in the wrong place. Lamont gets a job at a hospital where he works as a janitor and befriends a cancer patient who is also a World War II survivor. Lamont learns about Poland, the Jews, extermination camps, gas chambers and the Sonderkommando.

Adam Zignelik is an untenured Columbia historian whose career and relationships are falling apart. Adam pursues a research topic about African Americans being part of liberating concentration camps and finds a discovery of a lifetime.

Buy & Save onThe Street Sweeperthrough theManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on:
Ama­zon|Kin­dle|Book Depos­i­tory US|Book Depos­i­tory UK

More books by Elliot Perlmam*


  • Give­away ends: December 13 2011

  • US/Canada Ship­ping Addresses Only

  • Win­ners will have 24 hours to write back with their address, oth­er­wise an alter­nate win­ner will be picked

Congratulations: jwitt33@

Zohar – Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book for free.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account
Article first published as Book Review: Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman on Blogcritics.

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  • HeatherDecember 6, 2011 at 9:42 am

    This book sounds really good.

  • Alex BaughDecember 6, 2011 at 9:43 am


    This books premise sounds like an odd, yet, at the same time, interesting. One doesn’t usually think of Civil Rights and the Holocaust together storywise.

  • C.E. HartDecember 6, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Oh my goodness! This sounds like a gripping book. One I’m most certainly not going to read without shedding tears.

    • Zohar - Man of la BookDecember 6, 2011 at 10:23 pm

      Thanks for the comment C.E., it is a sad book. Some parts I had to close it before I continued.

  • MikeDecember 12, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    hmm… the holo­caust and civil rights, sounds interesting

  • Jo @ Booklover Book ReviewsOctober 1, 2012 at 1:46 am

    I recently finished this title also – cannot praise it more highly. Perlman is a supremely talented author.

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