Symphony for the City of the Dead

Symphony for the City of the Dead

 Symphony for the City of the Dead is an amazing story of the siege of Leningrad. I became fascinated with this particular WWII atrocity after reading Winter Garden, and I wanted more. Anderson did not disappoint. The story was well laid out, easy to follow and provided a fascinating history of Stalin and the millions of lives lost during this time.

 Historical Value- 5

Emotional Value- 5

Entertainment Value- 4

Personal character Value- 4

Age recommendation-  Adult

 

“Some love is so powerful after all, that it must always include sadness, because encrypted within it is the knowledge that someday it will come to an end.” 
― 
M.T. AndersonSymphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad

“Gradually, like the emigration of an insidious, phantom population, Leningrad belonged more to the dead than to the living. The dead watched over streets and sat in snow-swamped buses. Whole apartment buildings were tenanted by them, where in broken rooms, dead families sat waiting at tables. Their dominion spread room by room, like lights going out in evening.” 
― 
M.T. AndersonSymphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad

“Strangely enough, doctors and nurses noted that activity actually prolonged life, when it should have shortened it. Those who lay down and tried to conserve energy often were the ones who trailed off and died first.” 
― 
M.T. AndersonSymphony for the City of the Dead

“On the artillery shells produced in Leningrad, workers stenciled messages to the Germans: “For the blood of our workers,” “For our children’s anguish,” and “For our murdered friends.” 
― 
M.T. AndersonSymphony for the City of the Dead

“One day, many years after the siege was lifted and the war was over, two nutritionists met by chance. They introduced themselves. One, Alexei Bezzubov, had worked at Leningrad’s Vitamin Institute, seeking out new sources of protein for the hungry. The other, as it turned out, was Ernst Ziegelmeyer, deputy quartermaster of Hitler’s army, the man who’d been assigned to calculate how quickly Leningrad would fall without food deliveries. Now these two men met in peace: the one who had tried to starve a city, and the other who had tried to feed it. Ziegelmeyer pressed Bezzubov incredulously: “However did you hold out? How could you? It’s quite impossible! I wrote a deposition that it was physically impossible to live on such a ration.” Bezzubov could not provide a scientific, purely nutritive answer. There was none. Instead, he “talked of faith in victory, of the spiritual reserves of Leningraders, which had not been accounted for in the German professor’s” 
― 
M.T. AndersonSymphony for the City of the Dead

“The peasantry had only recently been freed from slave like servitude, and they were crushed with debt. The economy was stagnant. The country was hardly industrialized; there were not many factories. Though in St. Petersburg itself, nobles and sophisticates attended balls in Parisian gowns and discussed the poetry of the French, this ramshackle empire also included huge, frigid wastes of fir tree and tundra, deserts where the only inhabitants were nomadic families with their herds, and mountain towns that had never even heard the name of their distant ruler.” 
― 
M.T. AndersonSymphony for the City of the Dead

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