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"A survivor of Theresienstadt and a world-class Czech pianist shares her amazing story of survival and triumph. Now living in London since she relocated from Jerusalem to be closer to her only son (now deceased), Herz-Sommer is shortly turning 108, still playing the piano, disciplined and abstemious in her daily habits and fairly active, as Stoessinger records over interviews with her between 2004 and 2011. These are short segments that amplify important aspects of her life, such as her acquaintanceship as a young girl in Prague with Franz Kafka and his circle, her happy though too-brief marriage and successful early career as a concert pianist and teacher, the birth of her son in 1937 just as the Nazis were exerting their terror over the Jewish community in Prague and their abrupt deportation to Theresienstadt in 1943. …[W]hat Stoessinger’s work reveals startlingly and firsthand are details of life in the concentration camp, especially how the musicians coped with the horrible conditions and even formed a vibrant community. … 'Every concert played there,' Stoessinger writes, 'became a moral victory against the enemy.' … Rounding out this work are memories from Herz-Sommer’s students and friends, reflections on favorite authors such as Spinoza, Rilke and Zweig and even recipes."—Kirkus Reviews
“I have rarely read a Holocaust survivor’s memoir as enriching and meaningful. Get Caroline Stoessinger’s book, A Century of Wisdom, telling Alice Herz-Sommer’s tale of her struggles and triumphs. You will feel rewarded.”—Elie Wiesel
“A Century of Wisdom is a stately and elegant book about an artist who found deliverance in her passion for music. Caroline Stoessinger writes with a special purity, as though she were arranging pearls on a string of silk.”—Pat Conroy
“As one of millions who fell in love on YouTube with Alice Herz-Sommer, a 108-year-old Holocaust survivor who plays the piano and greets each day with no hint of bitterness, I’m grateful to Caroline Stoessinger for writing a book that explains this mystery. You will be inspired by the story of Alice Herz-Sommer, who lives to teach us.”—Gloria Steinem
“I walked on the cobblestones in Prague for thirty years wondering who might have walked on them before me: Kafka, Freud, Mahler. It feels like a miracle to have encountered, in Caroline Stoessinger’s wonderful book, Alice Herz-Sommer, who walked with them all—with a heart full of music.”—Peter Sis
“Caroline Stoessinger’s celebration of music and life and of the meaning and legacy of Alice Herz-Sommer’s remarkable, love-filled journey across the bitter, hate-filled years of twentieth-century madness is lyrical, compelling, and profoundly moving. This is an extraordinary, enchanting, entirely inspiring book—most timely and needed now.”—Blanche Wiesen Cook
This is one of those books that one reads very slowly, not wanting it to end.
Exuberance for learning and life, teaching and sharing music, and her love for others are what keep this centenarian alive.
Caroline Stoessinger's book is a must-read - a truly inspiring story of Alice Herz-Sommer's incredible journey.
Uplifting, fascinating, inspiring account of a rare and independent genius of how to best live a life of meaning and joy. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Lizabeth R. Diamond
Really fascinating story and makes one realize all the horrible things that went one thru the war.
Things we never knew or heard about.
Definitely worth reading.
A wonderful woman and a joyous, wonderful triumph of the human spirit. I first learned of her through viewing The Lady In Number 6 on Netflix. What spirit, love and wisdom. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Colorado Jack
i usually try to avoid intimate portrayals of Holocaust victims because what i already know about this horrible debauchery gives me nightmares. But this account is different. Read morePublished 2 months ago by susie sharp
So far so good. Works well. Love the quick connects. My old one lasted 12 years. Hope this one lasts as longPublished 3 months ago by Didier
very poignant but compulsive story. Alice's tale deserves to be read by everyone to help the world be a better place.Published 3 months ago by pav
Tucked away in her small London apartment, Alice would have been just another Holocaust survivor had a documentary crew not made the Academy Award winning "The Lady in Number... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Annemarie E. Havner
Book was okay but without some background in the musical pieces she chose to play it was a bit repetitive. Her courage comes through.Published 4 months ago by Kathleen L. Wycoff