Synopses & Reviews
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.
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.
"Anderson brings his narrative A-game to this
dense work of nonfiction, blending the complex strands of the story into
a satisfying whole. Embellished with scores of photographs and peppered
with the author’s own commentary on the symphony, the text and
supporting materials supply historical background for music enthusiasts
and musical interpretation for history buffs. Source notes, index, and
bibliography will aid report writers, but the most appreciative audience
is likely to be engaged readers who settle into the tragic yet
uplifting story of a suffering nation and its musical documentarian." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
"A must-have for high-school classrooms and
libraries. It’s the work of an author who has never jumped onto any
trend-wagon, but has instead followed his own keen intelligence toward a
big, essential story." New York Journal of Books
About the Author
M. T. Anderson is the author of Feed, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, as well as The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation Volume I: The Pox Party, winner of the National Book Award and a New York Times bestseller, and its sequel, The Kingdom on the Waves, which was also a New York Times bestseller. Both volumes were also named Michael L. Printz Honor Books. M. T. Anderson lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.