In September 1941, during the 3-year long bombardment and starvation of Leningrad by Hitler’s army, thousands of Leningrad’s citizens starved to death and were forced to eat one another to survive. Dmitiri Shostakovich, a world-renowned composer, crafted a symphony during this horrific time that would rally his fellow citizens and awaken the rest of the world to the plight of Russians during the siege.
Anderson’s compelling and thorough rendering of Shostakovich’s life took me from the Russian Revolution in 1917 to Lenin’s takeover a few months later and finally to the rise of Stalin’s regime and the siege of Leningrad by Hitler’s army. Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad is an excellent example of gripping narrative nonfiction – I learned more about Russian history through the lens of Shostakovich’s life than I ever did in a history class.
Teacher’s Guide to the novel.