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The Pianist: The Extraordinary Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939-45 Paperback – 31 Dec 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New Ed edition (31 Dec 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753814056
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753814055
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Feb 2003
Format: Paperback
This account of life in the Warsaw ghetto allows the reader to view the 're-settlement' of Jews during WW2 from a completely different perspective than the one usually portrayed in literature of the period, penned by holocaust survivors.
This is simply because it is not a recollection of concentration camp life, but that of a young man who managed to escape the net constantly threatening to close in around him.
The tale is told from a somewhat detached point of view, which indeed makes it all the more compelling in my mind. The matter-of-fact manner in which the author embraces his horrific experiences, brings his shattering ordeal home to the reader in horrifyingly blunt detail.
This is the type of subject that should never be ignored or brushed over; the heroism of the people who lived through the Nazi regime should always be addressed as a statement to mankind; and 'The Pianist' in its own way, indeed makes such a statement.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By "thomashoneyman" on 4 Jun 2003
Format: Paperback
The Pianist is a deeply moving tale of repression and survival which highlights the plight of Jews in Warsaw over the course of the second world war and particularly the journey of one man, Wladyslaw Szpilman, whose courage and determination to survive should inspire awe in every reader.
It is always incredibly humbling to read accounts of the atrocities during the war and the Pianist is no exception. I feel torn when writing about this book as it is hard to write positively about such a awful period of time, but the narrative is heart breakingly effective and although one experiences great relief when the war is over, the plight of millions of Jews less fortunate than our Pianist is brought back into the picture by the moving excerpts from the diary of Wilm Hosenfeld.
It is a must-read in order to fully understand what went on and to appreciate what so many gave.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David Firth on 22 Dec 2003
Format: Paperback
The Pianist, the true story of Polish-Jew Wladyslaw Szpilman, that inspired the Academy-Award winning movie with Adrien Brody, is truly wonderful.
The book is written in a very simplistic form which parallels the simplicity in which Szpilman's life is barbarically ruined by the invasion of the Nazis. His story is told in a style free of hatred or bitterness that makes you, as a reader, respect him, especially considering the awful, tragic and harrowing events that plague him throughout the text.
The Pianist is an unforgettable account of one man's struggle under Nazi oppression. One of the messages that Szpilman communicates in the book is that it is not where we come from, for example Poland, or what religion we are, for example Jewish, or even our politics, that defines us; it is what we do with our lives. Szpilman is taken by the Nazis and is defined as a Polish Jew; nothing else, but by the end of the novel the reader understands him as being a pianist, simply a pianist. We learn this lesson also in the Nazi Captain, Wilm Hosenfeld. He saves Szpilman, proving that though he is a Nazi, the oppressor of Szpilman's world, he has the power to be good.
When you reach the end of the book you will be shocked, horrified and outraged at what Szpilman suffered and endured. But the most outrageous part, for a modern reader, is that it is all true, and that is what makes The Pianist a must-read. People must never forget the tragedy we are all, somehow, capable of commiting.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Mar 2000
Format: Paperback
The Pianist is a moving eye-witness account of one man's survival in Nazi-occupied Warsaw. Wladyslaw Szpilman--a Jew and famed pianist for Polish Radio--relates his memories of the unutterable and unrelenting horrors of the Holocaust in Warsaw--the random executions, starving children, mass deportations--with a sober, almost uncanny detachment. And though the machinery of extermination is all around him, he somehow evades his pursuers through friends willing to risk their lives to hide him. His father, mother, two sisters and a brother are all deported and sent to their deaths in concentration camp. And, when it appears, near war's end, that he is at the end of luck, trying to still keep himself concealed in a part of Warsaw that his been systematically destroyed by the Germans, he finds an unexpected saviour: Wilm Hosenfeld, a German Army captain who, rather than kill Szpilman, provides him with a hiding place and necessities to kept him alive until the Soviet Army finally liberates the city. This slim volume written with in a kind of terse, no-nonsense style that will keep the reader riveted to each episode in Szpilman's incredible Odyssey, is probably one of the best books I have read in the area of Holocaust literature.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Sep 2001
Format: Paperback
This book tells the story of Wladyslaw Szpilman's incredible
and unlikely survival through the war years in occupied Warsaw.
Szpilman describes the horror of the Warsaw ghetto and tells of the sickening
brutality administered by the Gestapo and Jewish Secret Police
towards the Jews.
He narrates with a chilling frankness and leaves the reader feeling
both shocked and relieved that they are not in his situation.
The book reaches the pinnacle of sadnesss when Szpilman watches his
own family being taken in cattle trucks to the death camp in Treblinka.
Somehow though, he finds the will to carry on despite the odds being
stacked heavily against him. A house fire, accute malnutrition and
near capture are all obstacles in Szpilman's plight.
Eventually he is found by an German enemy soldier who saves him
from the brink of starvation and certain death...
Of all the second world war accounts I have read this has got to
be one of my favourites.
A captivating read - full of the stuff of escape and near misses
Great !
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