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Playing for Time Paperback – December, 1997


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Playing for Time + Music of Another World (Jewish Lives)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Syracuse Univ Pr (Sd); New edition edition (December 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815604947
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815604945
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #311,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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It teaches us that good always wins over evil.
Jessica A.
If you're unfamiliar with this title, check out the movie first with Vanessa Redgrave giving one of the best acting performances I've ever seen.
DWinston
That sort of does come through...you can tell that she's not as perfect as she portrays herself as, but it's a very absorbing read nonetheless.
Book Lover

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Jessica A. on November 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
Playing for Time, a grade-A book by Fania Fenelon, is a document not only about the Holocaust, but one that goes deeper: it shows how music brought redemption of spirit in the Hell of Hells. When Fania and her friend are brought to the death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, she is recognized by a girl in the camp's orchestra as a Parisian caberet singer. She is accepted in to the orchestra, where she is forced to sing the opera Madame Butterfly for the SS. Fania does not let the hardships of the camp take over her spirit, though. She uses music as a weapon, and, as an orchestrator as well as singer for the group, she orchestrates marches by Jews and anti-Nazis right under the noses of her captors, who never catch on. Fania's love of music allows her to survive Auschwitz, and when she is sent with the rest of the "Orchestra Girls" to Bergen-Belsen near the end of the war, her passion for life pulls her through a severe case of typhus. One day she learns that the Nazis are going to shoot the prisoners of Bergen-Belsen at 3:00 that afternoon. The English arrive at the camp at 11:00 that same morning. Fania just barely survived the war, and afterwards she returned to Paris and started again as a caberet singer. She died of cancer in her hometown in 1983. Playing for Time teaches us many things. It teaches us that the human spirit cannot be killed. It teaches us that good always wins over evil. And it teaches us that if you have a love, stick to it. One day it might just save your life.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is an absolutely incredible book. An already powerful story it is taken to a new level by the constant reminder that this is first hand experience.
It is perfect for nearly anyone, the musician will relate to the music, the historian to the accuracy and the avid reader will simply latch on and be unable to let go.
It brought tears to my eyes.
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
I read this book a number of years ago. It left an indelible mark. It is the story of women survivors in a concentration camp. They literally "played for time," with musical instruments. The movie "Life is Beautiful" brought this book to mind this week. That is why I looked it up. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in reading about courage in the face of adversity. The remarkable will to survive demonstrated by the women portrayed in this book is inspiring and unforgettable.
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By DWinston on April 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're unfamiliar with this title, check out the movie first with Vanessa Redgrave giving one of the best acting performances I've ever seen. Then read the book and it fills in so much more in the way of depth and candor. I highly recommend this book and the movie of the same title.
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By Book Lover on October 26, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book years ago, but since no one has ever reviewed it, I figured I would give it a go. My first exposure to the Holocaust was watching the made for TV film PLAYING FOR TIME at the age of nine years old when it aired on HBO. The movie was so haunting that it has stayed with me for thirty years and led to me trying to get my hands on the copy of the DVD for years. When I found it available I bought the book as well. The book isn't necessarily well written, but because it's real and from the heart it kind of places you in the moment as though you were truly there. She tells the story from her point of view entirely and you also have to realize that it is biased. Her personality does come shining through in the story and although she does have a good heart she is a bit self centered and tends to glorify herself a bit. A lot of the survivors have disputed her account, and that's very realistic as well, because if you told a story about your workplace including all the good and bad that you saw in others from your perspective, they wouldn't agree with it. And they'd probably have a different, less flattering perspective about you, too. I've done a lot of writing without saying what the story is about...basically, Fania Fenelon is living in Paris as somewhat of a B celebrity as a popular singer in nightclubs. Although she is half Jewish, she is non practicing and has never identified herself as Jewish until she is caught working with the French Underground. Suddenly nothing but her ethnicity matters and she's shipped to Auschwitz where she meets another woman, Clara, who has found herself in similar circumstances.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book that reveals firsthand a very little known but very important part of the Holocaust.
i could not put it down. The first hand accounts and descriptions, brought history and people, now passed away, alive to me.
This is a book to be experienced and remembered.

If the past is forgotten, we are destined to repeat it. People in the crematoria scratched with the nails of their hands 'Do not
forget us' on the walls where they died. We need to reminded of what we seem to have forgotten, and to pass the truth down to our children.
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