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Symphony for the City of the Dead Summary and Reviews

Symphony for the City of the Dead

Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad

by M.T. Anderson

Symphony for the City of the Dead by M.T. Anderson X
Symphony for the City of the Dead by M.T. Anderson
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Book Summary

National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson delivers a brilliant and riveting account of the Siege of Leningrad and the role played by Russian composer Shostakovich and his Leningrad Symphony.

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. Symphony for the City of the Dead is a masterwork thrillingly told and impeccably researched by National Book Award–winning author M. T. Anderson.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A triumphant story of bravery and defiance that will shock and inspire." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. In a gripping narrative, helped along by ample photos and shockingly accurate historical details, Anderson offers readers a captivating account of a genius composer and the brutally stormy period in which he lived. Though easily accessible to teens, this fascinating, eye-opening, and arresting book will be just as appealing for adults." - Booklist

"A fascinating...examination of an important musical figure living in a time of extraordinary political and social turmoil." - Publishers Weekly

"It culminates in a rich and moving understanding of the intersection of culture and history, and of the power of the arts to save a nation." - Shelf Awareness

This information about Symphony for the City of the Dead shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

M.T. Anderson Author Biography

Writing the celebrated satire, Feed, says M. T. Anderson, was a process that demanded a fair share of field research. "I read a huge number of magazines like Seventeen and Stuff," he confesses. "I listened to cell phone conversations in malls. Where else could you get lines like 'Dude, I think the truffle is totally undervalued'?" It seems these furtive observations paid off: Feed, a National Book Award Finalist, was honored with the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, among many other major awards, and dubbed "satire at its finest." The research undertaken to write The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor To The Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party, a National Book Award Winner, was on a wholly different magnitude, the author recalls. Street-side eavesdropping was replaced with...

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