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The Nazi army History is told best in the particular This turbulent and painful period of Russian history is woven around the life story of a particular This turbulent and painful period of Russian history is woven around the life story of a Leningrad and of a man Dmitri Shostakovich Shostakovich a child at the time of the Russian revolution is world famous by the time the Nazis invade Russia How does a person create under the oppression of a ruthless overnment and then under the famine and daily threat of death of war I put the book down a couple of times to listen first to Shostakovich s Fifth Symphony composed when Stalin was at his worst and then to his Seventh Symphony when the city was being starved to death by the Nazis With the Fifth Symphony there were suspicions that Shostakovich s music was a condemnation of the Stalin regime and with the Seventh people pointed the various parts they thought signified hope and the ability of the Russian people to survive and even triumph against fascism It was a Ethical Responsiveness and the Politics of Difference great experience to read the book and listen to how the music reflected history But it was alsoood to let the music be what my heart made it to be Something that I learned from reading the book Shostakovich would not be opposed to me doing My favorite part of the book was this mixture of history biography and musical scholarship that the book wove into a personal experience There was this amalgamation of disparate images that somehow coexisted coherently in the book like Shostakovich s music the horrors of starvation the raw evil of Stalin and the German army the creative power of the individual intent on creating the ephemeral beauty of sound This is a long book and a library book too and I didn t read it as carefully as I likely would have had I owned it Maybe I will The scarecrow get it out of the library again at some point That said I enjoyed what I read and learned uite a bit not just about Shostakovich but about the shifting conditions I was fascinated by how happy Shostakovich was in his early life though there was a lot of hardship It seemed happiness in adverse conditions was not an unlikely outcome when people feel connected to each other and connected to a cause And then in contrast this book presents the misery and torment of every day life when people are faced with demented leadership that does its best to undermine and eat away at the fabric of trust between people and their loved ones Not that there aren t always troubles on a personal and political level in anyiven community But the severity of the persecution under Stalin and the ways it tore people s words apart was vividly and painfully drawnI think this book does something interesting as a YA historical biography It lets the reader know at regular intervals that the information used to write this novel might not be accurate for so many reasons For example concerning primary source materials with Shostakovich writing letters statements made about his art 1 Who knows when and if Shostakovich is speaking for himself 2 who knows when and if the things being written were written in coded language 3 or at least who knows the truth when things are likely written in the way one writes when one doesn t want to be the next target in a long line of artists tortured andor killed by the leaders and followers of a sadistic blood thirsty regime One thing that is interesting about reading this We often forget how complicated truth is outside of these extreme circumstances and how much complex in and among them And Anderson is sort of uiding his readers through his process teaching of looking at source material and noting that one can t look at it simply for information but must really ask a lot of uestions about the context in which things are written We might tell different versions of the same story to our lover our sister our friend During war time and during peace time Anyway this is a funny book definitely not funny haha It defies categories a bit I wonder what the YA Readership Is Like I is like I this might turn out to be a book read by not so young adults than younger ones but who knows And who is to say where YA ends and nsya begins I think it would be a reat read also for first years in college who are After the End getting deeper into the work of writing researched papers and essays It also offersround for meditation on the role of art and education in nation building Where does propaganda end and art begin Is it the role of art to undermine authority to teach to un teach to make us uestion the symbols we take for The Doll and Her Friends (1893) granted Ineneral I ve been reviewing all the books that really move me in full Obviously I m not doing that for Symphony for the City of the Dead mostly because I ve never really been sure how to write a comprehensive review for nonfiction since that seems to come down in large measure on the accuracy of the information which I can t really speak toIn all my years studying history I ve always been most fascinated by the World War II era One of my other favorite bits of history to study was that of Russia Clearly Symphony for the City of the Dead was up my alley What added to its appeal and success is that MT Anderson is a writer of fictio. Takovich 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 victoryThis 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. .


Symphony for the City of the DeadS particularly brilliant There s a lot About Soviet History In Here There Soviet history in here but there also a lot about and how an artist who is beloved by both the West and his own country fared during this time Another thing this book deals with is how tricky it is to find the truth There s a lot about why it s hard to know for sure details of Shostakovich s thoughts on Communism or anything else living under an extremely totalitarian regime where being honest could et you killed is a huge impediment to speaking your mind obviously There s also a lot about the complexities of living under such a regime People don t always fit neatly into categories like hero and villain and Anderson explores that really well and shows how multifaceted people had to be to survive I am somewhat surprised that this is a teen book While I think everyone who sits down and reads this book will enjoy it it s a really niche audience that will find it interesting without some hand selling When I enjoy it it s a really niche audience that will find it interesting without some hand selling When I it to people while reading it they all looked at me like they were surprised anyone would want to read a book on this topic I m worried that adults will skip this because it s a teen book and that lots of teens won t think it will sound interesting or that its size will be daunting But I hope I m wrong I think everyone could benefit from reading this book it will deepen your knowledge of WWII of Russian history of Dmitri Shostakovich and of humanity Powerful sad and moving This historical account of the role Shostakovich and his 7th Symphony played during the Sieg Every now and then a book comes along that blows me away and Symphony for the City of the Dead Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad is one of those booksA riveting story of the music of composer Dimitri Shostakovich along with an extensively researched history of the siege of Leningrad I was vaguely aware of this composer and to be honest had only a little interest in reading this book I had an audio copy downloaded for such a long time and never felt compelled to listen to it until a friend bought me a hard copy as a Christmas Gift and I was forced to read it and from the first chapter I was captivated by a book I thought I would have absolutely no interest in but its a fascinating read extremely well researched and packed full of photographs maps and images which add immensely to the overall reading experience 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 After three years of bombardment and starvation culminating in the bitterly cold winter of 1943 44 than a million citizens lost their lives In order to survive many residents burned books furniture and floorboards to keep warm they ate family pets and eventually each other In the midst of this bloodshed Dimitri Shostakovich composed the Leningrad Symphony a piece that both rallied and eulogized his fellow citizens and which would come to play a surprising part in the Allies eventual victoryI love reading Russian History and this book ticked every box for me in terms of a 5 star read the book reads like a thriller is historically informative and packed full of remarkable photographs and images I was shocked saddened I exclaimed out loud while reading I reread chapters several times and underlined so many passages I tried to slow down my reading in order to prolong the agony of finishing but alas the book ended I know this is a book I will reread in the future and still learn something new from it I loved reading about the the life works of Shostakovich and enjoyed listening to his music afterwards Every time I read about the horrors of World War I and World War II I am shocked and saddened The people of Leningrad suffered horribly during the siege and this book really brings their suffering to the forefront Some shocking facts taken from this book 27 million Soviet citizens died during the conflict in other words that the dead of all the other nations combined The total dead in World War II numbered roughly fifty million Around 136 percent of the Soviet population had died The siege of Leningrad alone cost approximately one and a half million Russian lives than the combined World War II casualties of the Americans and the BritishAfter Stalin s death the labour camps began uietly to release their prisioners About eight million of their twelve million prisioners were free and found themselves wandering through their home cities in the old stained clothes they had been wearing years before when they were torn from their families LET NO ONE FORGET LET NOTHING BE FORGOTTEN I recommend this book for lovers of music and those who have an interest in the Siege of Leningrad One of the best things about this book for me is how it shed light on a period of Russian history that I had heard about but had never really understood on a ut level The book took me from the 1917 Russian Revolution when Czar Nicholas II was overthrown to the take over by Lenin a few months later and on to the reign of Stalin and the siege of Leningrad by. R 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 overnment itself was composer Dmitri Shos. In Symphony for the City of the Dead Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad history is very clearly explained starting with Bloody Sunday in 1905 and continuing through the Siege of Leningrad The history presented is woven around the central figure Dimitri Shostakovich1906 1975 You et history and biography together Little of his life after the years of the siege is presented The central focus is nevertheless the role of music and particularly Shostakovich s in the siege I have seen it stated that this book was for young adults It is not a simplified version History is not cleaned up for the ears of the young The history is clearly stated interestingly told and unbiased That which is not definitively known is stated as such Rumors are presented only for what they are I would not classify this as a young adult book it is suitable for young adults and adults eually well I never felt I was being talked down to Believe it or not there is humor although the siege is also depicted in all its hastlinessThe author reads his own audiobook For me he uses too much dramatization but I believe this will be appreciated by others He is easy to follow and that is be appreciated by others He is easy to follow and that is most important in my view His pronunciation of Russian terms flow easily Bits of the Seventh Symphony aka the Leningrad Symphony are played in the audiobook It is I important to hear with your ears exactly what is being explained with words For this reason I would recommend the audiobook over the printed book I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in Shostakovich Stalin the Russian Revolution the Leningrad Siege and the importancerolevalue of music I should ive myself time to compose an appropriate review but I want so badly to hand everyone a copy of this book that I m oing to rush to et the word out Biography history philosophy and sociology all collide in this brilliant book and I am not Legon Ascension (Legon Series going to be able to say enoughood things about itDuring a semester studying abroad in St Petersburg I first heard the story of Shostakovich and his 7th symphony That story has stuck with me for 20 years and this book is able to articulate why in a way that I never could While the title indicates that the book is about this particular symphony it is about so much The reader is taken into the world of Stalinist Russia in the 30s with it s constant fear It is a brilliant historical analysis of Russia s role in WW II including some of Stalin s most baffling decisions This book is also an extremely sensitive biography of a composer who was hailed as a hero a traitor and coward throughout the course of his life but was really just a man a son a brother a husband and a father who was just trying to survive The author also digs into the uestion of what makes us human and how far can we be pushed until our humanity PMS gives outUltimately this book is about the power of music and art And it is nothing short of brilliant The writing itself is poetry taking the reader through the triumph fear and horrors of the narrative In the worst moments of the story your stomach rolls with disgust In the best momentsoosebumps and tears
Break OutIf You Read 
outIf you read other book reviews you will understand that I am not prone to this level of hyperbole in my reviews but this may be one of the three best books I have ever readI listened to this book as an audiobook and while I will be picking up the hardcover version to keep in my library I actually strongly recommend the audiobook for this one The author has chosen to narrate his own work and he puts as much emotion and poetry into the narration as he did into the writing This was terrific Hitting both my love of classical music and one of my favorite reading subjects WWII this recounts what is an almost unbelievable story of the Russian people during the siege of Leningrad St Petersburg and the writing of Shostakovich s 7th Symphony during the siege And the audiobook includes snippets of the famous symphony as Anderson describes the work s creation Holy cats you uys THIS BOOK It s a masterpiece At once a fascinating biography a testament to the power of music and a riveting World War II story that I bet your teens don t know much about I certainly didn t Your performing arts kids your WWII and history buffs DON T LET THEM MISS IT I m still reeling from this book and think I will be for uite a while It was the kind of book that I had to put down often just to be able to process the horror that the Russian people experienced There s all kinds of horror in here at the hands of the state at the hands of the Germans at the hands of people you thought were your friends Anderson does an amazing job of bringing the realities of what it must have been like to live through Stalin s purges and the siege of Leningrad to life It s incredibly hard to read but also important to understand this time of history I found myself trying to bring all conversations back to Soviet Russia while reading this book I wanted people to talk to about it I wanted them to understand I think Anderson using Shostakovich as the conduit to tell this story wa. National Book Award winner M T Anderson delivers an account of the Siege of Leningrad and the role played by Russian composer Shostakovich and his Leningrad SymphonyIn 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 winte. ,

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