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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living through the Siege of Leningrad
This is an extraordinary book dealing with the stark horror of the siege of Leningrad in 1941. This isn't just a plain narrative of events that take place during the first year of the siege; we are taken into the starved, wandering minds of Anna and her family, as they are finding difficulty in working out when night becomes day, spending much of their time sleeping...
Published on 11 Mar 2011 by bookworm

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3.0 out of 5 stars A good read for those interested in the period
Great if you are interested in modern history but a bit turgid if not. Well written with some great descriptions
Published 1 month ago by John Brocklebank


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living through the Siege of Leningrad, 11 Mar 2011
By 
bookworm "Sue K" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Siege (Paperback)
This is an extraordinary book dealing with the stark horror of the siege of Leningrad in 1941. This isn't just a plain narrative of events that take place during the first year of the siege; we are taken into the starved, wandering minds of Anna and her family, as they are finding difficulty in working out when night becomes day, spending much of their time sleeping just to conserve energy. It is told in a matter of fact, unsentimental way of how Anna goes about the everyday business of feeding her 5 year old brother from anything that is available to eat - including the boiled skin of a leather manicure case - as well as taking care of her father, her lover and a family friend who are all living together in their small apartment. The Siege takes place during one of the harshest winters on record - something the Russians would find trouble dealing with even if they were fit, healthy and well fed. They will burn books and furniture to stay warm and eke out an existence on nothing more than a ration of 125 grams of bread a day. Many of the population can't even summon the energy to stand in the queue for this meagre ration and often die there and then in the streets. However, the book is not without hope as gradually supplies do manage to get through and the Leningraders (what's left of them) start to feel alive again, even though the Siege was to last for another few years. This book highlights the extraordinary plight of a city coping against all odds. A brilliant book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding, beautifully written, 12 April 2012
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This review is from: The Siege (Paperback)
After reading Zennor in Darkness by this author, I was hooked! So I purchased a couple more by her, including this one 'The Siege' - it had me gripped from the start, beautifully written, she paints pictures with words - it was a book I could not put down, reading it every chance I got - in the bath, in bed, took it to work . . . you get the idea. I so wanted to know what would happen to the characters in the book . . . . and ordered the sequel as soon as I finished it (it took me less than a week to read!). I have since read the sequel, and hope she makes it into a series with another volume! Recommended book - recommended author.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The SIEGE, 29 Mar 2011
This review is from: The Siege (Paperback)
This is a brilliant book, well researched, and a powerful picture of a tragic period in Russian history.One feels the cold, this is a book steeped in real atmosphere. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in history of our time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Seige, 27 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Siege (Paperback)
I read this book at my reading group. It was very well received and caused lots of discussion in the group. The terrible privations that the people of Leningrad suffered were very well documented and I can thoroughly recommend the book. It was well written and and the whole group gained a great deal of knowledge from it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Making history fascinating, 18 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Siege (Paperback)
This is one of the best books I have ever read. I have recommended this to many people who have enjoyed it just as much as me. Love it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not for those who like a comfortable read, 3 July 2014
This review is from: The Siege (Paperback)
This book paints an extraordinary picture of an episode in the 2nd World War that I think is often overlooked. Not for those who like a comfortable read though - it is a very tough story. The description of the discipline necessary to survive in such difficult circumstances are very vivid. And of course 1,500,000 people did not survive - this was the death toll over the 2 years and 4 months of the blockade. The characters are so well realised - not romanticised. And the desperate attempts to keep warm made be shiver. I am not particularly Helen Dunmore fan - I picked up this book because I had become interested in this period in history when I read 'The Madonnas of Leningrad'. I am so glad that I did.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A good read for those interested in the period, 10 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Siege (Paperback)
Great if you are interested in modern history but a bit turgid if not. Well written with some great descriptions
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting, 7 April 2014
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I enjoyed this book very much. An interesting storyline outlining the struggle in Russia during the siege. I was compelled to finish this.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Moving Novel, 21 Feb 2014
By 
Peter Godfrey (Cheshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Siege (Paperback)
This is a challenging novel which describes very eloquently a famous episode in the 2nd world war. The novel brings home the horror visited on the citizens of Leningrad, when it is besieged by the invading by German army, by focussing on the daily life of a family trying to survive it. As their life is so grim, this is often a difficult read. The reader is encouraged to continue by the excellence of the writing containing some wonderful evocative descriptions of what the characters see. The big picture and the historical context are only referenced through asides and their impact on the characters' lives. The author demonstrates amazing imagination in painting such a detailed and convincing word picture of a situation she cannot have actually experienced. I would strongly recommend this book but only to people who are happy to imagine very distressing events that they are most unlikely to have to experience in real life. I intend to read more of Helen Dunmore's books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Every word convinces, 23 Sep 2013
This review is from: The Siege (Paperback)
I first read this book in 2007, then re-read it two years later, and am just about to read it again. Yes, it is that good. I like Dunmore's books as a rule, but this one gripped me like no other. It is, at its most basic, a tale of a family struggling to survive during the 1941 siege of Leningrad. I have read non-fiction works about this topic and have enjoyed them but none affected me as deeply as this. It always helps to have a personal slant on a tragic event, and Dunmore has done this brilliantly. The boiling of the boot leather for soup has stayed with me since the first reading, and is one of the book's anecdotes I most frequently retell.
It convinces from the first word to the last: a simple story of survival against terrific odds. Compelling.
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The Siege
The Siege by Helen Dunmore (Paperback - 16 Dec 2010)
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