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Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri…
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Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of… (2015)

by M. T. Anderson

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4204039,215 (4.25)66
In September 1941, Adolf Hitler's Wehrmacht surrounded Leningrad in what was to become one of the longest and most destructive sieges in Western history -- almost three years of bombardment and starvation that culminated in the harsh winter of 1943-1944. More than a million citizens perished. Survivors recall corpses littering the frozen streets, their relatives having neither the means nor the strength to bury them. Residents burned books, furniture, and floorboards to keep warm. They ate family pets and -- eventually -- one another to stay alive. Trapped between the Nazi invading force and the Soviet government itself was composer Dmitri Shostakovich, who would write a symphony that roused, rallied, eulogized, and commemorated his fellow citizens -- the Leningrad Symphony, which came to occupy a surprising place of prominence in the eventual Allied victory. This is the true story of a city under siege: the triumph of bravery and defiance in the face of terrifying odds. It is also a look at the power and layered meaning of music in beleaguered lives.… (more)

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» See also 66 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
Stunning, whether you think you're interested in the topic or not. (Though not for the weak of stomach. My four hour bus ride home from Thanksgiving included an hour of pet-eating and cannibalism.) The descriptions of music are some of the clearest I've ever read. I don't understand classical music or the stories it tells; this book starts from the assumption that most readers don't and explains beautifully from there. I bought the audiobook to hear the music as he's describing it -- unfortunately there are fewer music clips than I wanted.

The YA audience will be very particular, but they're out there, and there's no reason this wouldn't work as an adult book as well. ( )
  SamMusher | Sep 7, 2019 |
fantastic narrative about this composer. lots of Russian history that I didn't know. easy but haunting read. ( )
  kakadoo202 | Aug 21, 2018 |
A well-wrought historical account of the rise of the Soviet Union and its subsequent invasion by the Nazis, all viewed through the life & work of Dmitri Shostakovich. I would love to have this be the incoming freshman summer reading title. ( )
  msmilton | Jul 18, 2018 |
A well-wrought historical account of the rise of the Soviet Union and its subsequent invasion by the Nazis, all viewed through the life & work of Dmitri Shostakovich. I would love to have this be the incoming freshman summer reading title. ( )
  msmilton | Jul 18, 2018 |
A true account of Dmitri Shostakovich's life, highlighting his years in Leningrad during Stalin's reign and World War II. Atrocities committed by Stalin pale in comparison to those of Hitler; notably, the siege of Leningrad during which more than a million city residents died of starvation. Through it all,Shostakovich kept writing music, including Symphony #7, The Leeningrad Symphony. It is a miracle he survived at all. MT Anderson better known for his dystopic fiction, has written a firecracker of a book, proving that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. ( )
  mjspear | May 29, 2018 |
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