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Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad

Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad - M.T. Anderson Every now and then a book comes along that blows me away and [book:Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad|24727079] is one of those books.
A 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, more 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 victory

I 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 more in other words that the dead of all the other nations combined. The total dead in World War II numbered roughly fifty million. Around 13.6 percent of the Soviet population had died. The siege of Leningrad alone cost approximately one and a half million Russian lives- more than the combined World War II casualties of the Americans and the British.

******After Stalin's death the labour camps began quietly 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.


I recommend this book for lovers of music and those who have an interest in the Siege of Leningrad.