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

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Annotation: This nonfiction work presents a riveting account of the World War II Siege of Leningrad and its influence on Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich's Leningrad Symphony.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #127082
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 456 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-7636-9100-3 Perma-Bound: 0-605-95043-1
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-7636-9100-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-95043-6
Dewey: 920
LCCN: 2015936915
Dimensions: 23 cm.
Language: English
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Dmitri Shostakovich was witness to an almost overwhelming number of changes and transformations in his native Russia. From the rise of Communism under Lenin to Stalin's Great Terror and, perhaps most monumentally, the Siege of Leningrad, the Russian composer was there, often drawn dangerously close to the clutches of Stalin's seemingly random rage. All the while, he defiantly wrote moving, galvanizing music. In his first book-length work of nonfiction, Anderson skillfully interweaves details from Shostakovich's life into pivotal historical moments, particularly Russia's role in WWII, brilliantly elucidating some of the more puzzling parts of Russian history. His frequent descriptions of Shostakovich's music are vivid, evoking odd yet fitting images to call to mind sounds or moods, then loosely tying those moods to events. It's a powerful tactic that does double duty, spotlighting the innovative narrative quality of Shostakovich's music while showcasing how he was influenced by the turbulent period, which, in turn, gives readers some insight into the mindset of Russian citizens under Stalin's tyrannical reign. In a gripping narrative, helped 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 is just as appealing to adults.
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages [436]-442) and index.
Word Count: 102,572
Reading Level: 7.9
Interest Level: 9-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 7.9 / points: 18.0 / quiz: 176662 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:8.4 / points:24.0 / quiz:Q67232
Lexile: 990L

“This ambitious and gripping work is narrative nonfiction at its best. . . . The book has all the intrigue of a spy thriller. . . . A must-have title with broad crossover appeal.” — School Library Journal (starred review)

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. Trapped between the Nazi invading force and the Soviet government itself was composer Dmitri Shostakovich, writing a symphony to rouse, rally, eulogize, and commemorate his fellow citizens: the Leningrad Symphony. 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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