Saturday, March 12, 2016

Anderson, M.T. Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Seige of Leningrad.

Anderson, M.T.  Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Seige of Leningrad.  Candlewick Press  2015  456p  $25.99  ISBN 978-0-7636-6818-1  hs  Nonfiction  E-BN 

This is nonfiction at its best.  The narrative of this book shows how nonfiction can read like a story, something that very much appealed to this reader.  The history, which is documented academically, addresses one of the direst moments in Russian history.  Families were forced to do whatever they could just to survive, burning furniture and books to stay warm, and too often resorting to eating pets when no other food was available.  During this time, composer Dmitri Shostakovich wrote one of his most critically acclaimed symphonies, the Seventh, which he dedicated to the city of Leningrad and its citizens.  What the author has done with this incredibly well-written title is to tie in the artistic genius of Shostakovich’s reflections of the seige to the events as they occurred. Anderson does this with language that is almost conversational, and thus very easily read and understood.  From Shostakovich’s childhood during the Russian Revolution and its marching songs to the time of Stalin and Hitler, the history of this tragic time is documented and narrated in a manner that YA readers will enjoy, especially those with an interest in World War II.  

Summary: The Seige of Leningrad, when Hitler’s forces surrounded the city of Leningrad, lasted for an incredibly long three years.  During this time, composer Dmitri Shostakovich wrote the Leningrad Symphony, a piece that would not only memorialize this time, but serve as a rallying cry for the citizens of Leningrad.  

World War, 1939-1945-Russia, Dmitri Shostakovich            --Lynn Fisher

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