The Extraordinary True Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939-1945
Picador, Hardcover, 9780312244156, 240pp.
Publication Date: September 1, 1999
On September 23, 1939, Wladyslaw Szpilman played Chopin's Nocturne in C-sharp minor live on the radio as shells exploded outside--so loudly that he couldn't hear his piano. It was the last live music broadcast from Warsaw: That day, a German bomb hit the station, and Polish Radio went off the air.
Though he lost his entire family, Szpilman survived in hiding. In the end, his life was saved by a German officer who heard him play the same Chopin Nocturne on a piano found among the rubble. Written immediately after the war and suppressed for decades, "The Pianist "is a stunning testament to human endurance and the redemptive power of fellow feeling.
"Proof that real life is much more exciting than anything film moguls could invent." --Anne Appelbaum, Literary Review (England)