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on 18 March 2015
I read 'The Pianist' when I first heard about the film adaptation being released (it was a few years before I actually saw the film) and the book has always stayed with me. The strength of Wladyslaw is inspiring and heartbreaking as he lives with his world changing from losing his job, his home because he and his family are Jewish, moving to the ghetto to narrowly escaping the train which takes his family away, never to be seen again.

I enjoyed 'The Pianist' from start to finish, it's such a thought provoking story, a story of courage and what you will do to survive. The author's style of writing is surreal, he tells you what happened but there is no feeling, which you understand, he wrote his story a few years after the war, the shock of everything that had happened remained, which made the story more heartbreaking.

A memorable book, I enjoyed reading about what happened next for the author and the story of his saviour.
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on 3 June 2014
this is not a book for entertainment, it's reality at it's harshest, but if you don't care about disney movies and meaningless entertainment, and you like to learn something instead, this is a book you want to read.
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on 27 May 2017
Brilliant book
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on 20 July 2017
subject not easy to read about, but compelling
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on 7 November 2015
Superb book more captivating than the film. Well written by the author and one that is hard to put down
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on 2 June 2007
As quite a few reviewers did, I read this book after watching the film. I found the book, as I do most holocaust based books, to be horrific, sad and terribly tragic. Wladyslaw Szpilman is a pianist working for a Polish radio station when Poland falls to the German invaders in 1939. The subsequent segregation and systematic annihilation of the Warsaw Jews is then described with Szpilman and his family being the obvious fulcrum of the story.

Szpilman describes in depth the formation of the Jewish Ghetto, the Ghetto uprising, the Warsaw uprising, the `relocation' of his family to the gas chambers, the beatings, shootings and the random murder of so many of his race. A story of pure savagery that even after so many books, films and documentaries still shocks the reader to the core.

The main theme of this book however concerns the miraculous survival of the author. He is picked out from the `relocation' queue by an old friend who is now a Jewish Ghetto policeman and then embarks on a hide and seek escapade through various safe houses in Warsaw. Living with an instant death sentence if discovered, Szpilman is hidden at these various locations for weeks at a time, always alone and often without food. Eventually in the courageous Warsaw uprising the author is forced to take refuge in an abandoned building which catches fire, he is then discovered by the Germans and shot at but escapes. In what is a virtually a now abandoned Warsaw he takes refuge in other abandoned buildings and is eventually caught in one foraging for food by a German Captain namely Wilm Hosenfeld. Expecting the worse Szpilman finds the opposite and his life is saved by this kind and honourable German officer. Hosenfeld befriends Szpilman, hides him, feeds him and provides him warm clothing. Hosenfeld then disappears from the story when the Russians enter Warsaw and the Germans retreat. However the story has a twist as Hosenfeld gets taken prisoner by the Russians and in the post war period Szpilman finds this out and tries to find Hosenfeld to barter for his release. Alas this humanitarian Captain dies in a Russian prison camp in the early 1950's.

A sad but miraculous story, sometime told in quite a banal matter of fact matter with not much emotion....but it is said in the book that the author wrote the book immediately after the war ended...after so much horror I doubt if the author had any emotion left!
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on 4 June 2003
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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on 27 February 2003
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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on 27 August 2008
I bought this book purely on the strength of seeing the excellent movie of the same name and I can honestly say that it is amongst the top ten books I have ever read. I, like many other people, have caught glimpses of what it must of been like to be a Jew during the second world war especially in German occupied countries. I have always thought to myself that it must have been a living nightmare. I was wrong, it must have been far worse than that.

Wladyslaw Szpilman describes here the true horror of life as a Jew in a truly descriptive but never angry way. His story is almost beyond belief at times and you wonder how the hell he survived. As he tells his story you are left wondering just how he managed to escape the nazi's time after time. Lucky? It seems rather churlish to call him lucky as he endured almost six years of a living hell on a daily basis. He also lost his entire family. Father, Mother, brother and two sisters all murdered. But there is no doubt that he needed massive amounts of luck to survive. He tells his story in a calm way which is a surprise as he wrote this book very soon after the war. Perhaps the full shock of everything he had witnessed was still too raw, maybe he kept his true feelings intact to keep control of his anger. He tells his story brilliantly and describes scenes of horror in a calm way which almost adds to their sheer brutality.

Have no doubts, this must be one of the most telling accounts of war ever wriiten. It isn't about the concentration camps ,he wasn't there so can only comment on the rumours he heard. It is about life in Warsaw, life in the ghetto and it is incredibly sad but also a tribute to human survival.

Also featured in this book are brief extracts from the diary of German officer Wolf Biermann. This is a man that helped Szpilman despite the fact that he took an enormous risk in doing so. What also emerges is the fact that he helped several Jews during the war but was destined for his life to end tragically. He could be called another innocent victim amongst the many millions but here is the chance to see what a fine man he was.

This is a book about two remarkable men. Read it, it is quite simply a brilliant book about the horrors of war.
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on 21 April 2017
I bought two books. But I just received one product!!!!!!!!!!!! That's really terrible experience. Hope you can solve my problem as soon as possible!
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