From Library Journal
The Siege of Leningrad contains some of the darkest history of World War II. The German army, unable to complete a direct assault on the city, resorted to a 900-day blockade during which approximately a million civilians died. Most of the men and boys were sacrificed to the war effort, leaving mainly women and children to endure the horrors of extreme deprivation caused by the blockade. Simmons (Slavic studies, Boston Coll.) and Perlina, a survivor of the siege and now a professor of Slavic languages and literature, have collected memoirs and oral histories from women who lived through this ghastly drama and melded them into a powerful narrative. While hundreds of books on the subject spout official Soviet dogma, this volume has emerged since the fall of communism, and it offers the genuine voice of the people. The authors successfully capture women's battle for survival and heroic struggle to maintain a semblance of municipal life during the siege. The library, for instance, never missed a beat, circulating more than a million and a half books and documents. As this account details, the physical struggles were enormous. In winter, most citizens lived without heat as temperatures fell to 40 degrees below zero. Grass and leaves, along with glue and anything leather, were the staples of their diet, as all dogs and cats had long ago been eaten. Cannibalism saved many from starving. A very touching account of these women's remarkable accomplishments, this book is recommended for all libraries. Harry Willems, Southeast Kansas Lib. Syst., Iola
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"A very touching account of these womens remarkable accomplishments." -- Library Journal, April 2001