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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WARNING - this is a book of MUSIC!!, 26 Dec 2004
This review is from: The Pianist: A Roman Polanksi Film ; [arranged for Piano Solo] (Paperback)
Contrary to what some of the other reviews appearing on this page seem to believe, this book is not actually the book chronicalling the story of Wladyslaw Szpilman's war.
This book does however consist of the sheet music for several of the Chopin pieces included in the film 'The Pianist'.
If you are looking for the book rather than the music, you will find that it is titled: "The Pianist: The Extraordinary Story of One Man's Survival In Warsaw, 1939-45" by Wladyslaw Szpilman.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much better than the film, 1 Feb 2004
This review is from: The Pianist: A Roman Polanksi Film ; [arranged for Piano Solo] (Paperback)
The true story of a humble Jewish Polish piano player that endures all the hardship that WWII can throw at him.
Deeply moving, dark and often quite depressing...sometimes a little bit too depressing! Every glimmer of hope seems to be extinguished by yet another moment of terror inflicted by the Nazis.
If you thought the film was good, then you'll love the book!
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wartime Warsaw in microcosm., 24 July 2004
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John Williams (Apeldoorn, Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pianist: A Roman Polanksi Film ; [arranged for Piano Solo] (Paperback)
This is a remarkable book by a survivor of wartime Warsaw. Spilman lived through the invasion of 1939, the creation of the Warsaw Ghetto, the Ghetto uprising of 1943, the Warsaw uprising a year later, then the complete destruction of Warsaw before the belated arrival of the Soviet Army. His own brushes with death and the deaths of his family and friends make one marvel at the survival of this man. Was it fate, a sharp instinct for survival, or just an inordinate share of luck? Spilman wrote his story shortly after the events it describes. The style is remarkably deadpan in view of the horrific events it describes, as if the weight of his experiences had left Spilman in a state of emotional numbness. Perhaps if he had waited a few years he might have written a different book, with more detail (which I would have appreciated) and more attention to literary style, but it would probably not have had the immediacy and honesty of this account. (As moving as Spilman's wartime experiences is the short epilogue concerning Wilm Hosenfeld, the German officer who saved his life, and events after the war.)
This is a book about the experiences of one man. Do not expect it to provide an overview of the historical events through which he lived. This is not Spilman's purpose, and besides, throughout the time that he was in hiding his opportunities to learn what was going on in the world outside were very limited. If you are moved by this book to want to know more about the historical context, I would recommend 'Rising 44' by Norman Davies, a much fatter book than this one, but infinitely rewarding for anyone who gets to grips with it.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Graphic depiction of survival during the Holocaust., 28 Feb 2004
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M. D Roberts (Gwent, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pianist: A Roman Polanksi Film ; [arranged for Piano Solo] (Paperback)
Anyone who has been moved by the brilliant movie of the same name, will not fail to be overcome by this remarkable, written account of the extraordinary survival of Wladyslaw Szpilman, which actually contains more detail than what has been revealed in the film itself.
The first version of this book was written immediately following the end of the Second World War in 1945 but was immediately withdrawn from circulation and it’s availability quashed for many years by political authorities who clearly did not want such eye witnessed accounts as this to emerge. Too many painful truths about the collaboration with the Nazis of defeated Russians, Poles, Ukrainians and even Jews themselves were apparently found to be intolerable by many.
The reader is provided here with a graphic depiction of the grim details of life in Warsaw under the Nazi occupation and the isolation & suffering of a man with nowhere to go, other than to find a place to hide & survive under impossibly hostile conditions.
Whereas the vast amount of Holocaust memoirs tend to concentrate on the Nazi concentration & death camps, this story is different in that it revolves around survival in and around the Warsaw ghetto. The horrific manner in which the Jews were treated by the Nazis and their allies is really brought home to the reader in an almost detached manner which details how the murders of so many innocent Jews are carried out. The totally insignificant value placed on Jewish lives screams from the pages of this work. For the mere fact of being Jewish, human beings were cold bloodedly murdered on the spot without reason.
This book is indeed required reading for anyone interested in the Holocaust and the story itself provides a vital record of the Nazi atrocities outside of the concentration/death camps.
The reader is left to wonder how Wladyslaw Szpilman retained his own sanity after witnessing so much death, humiliation and depravation and then watching all his immediate family being herded into the cattle trucks destined for the Treblinka death camp. This proving to just be the “end of the beginning” of this story, with Szpilman’s own personal journey of survival yet to play itself out amidst a personification of hatred towards anything Jewish that yells “lest we forget” and “never again”.
This true story of a Jewish classical pianist who survived his own personal Holocaust is extremely easy to read and very difficult to put down. Watching the film should not offset the requirement to read this book.
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The Pianist: A Roman Polanksi Film ; [arranged for Piano Solo]
The Pianist: A Roman Polanksi Film ; [arranged for Piano Solo] by Chester Music (Paperback - 28 Feb 2003)
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