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The Pianist: The Extraordinary True Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939-1945

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  46,532 Ratings  ·  824 Reviews
Named one of the Best Books of 1999 by the Los Angeles Times, The Pianist is now a major motion picture directed by Roman Polanski and starring Adrien Brody (Son of Sam). The Pianist won the Cannes Film Festival’s most prestigious prize—the Palme d’Or.

On September 23, 1939, Wladyslaw Szpilman played Chopin’s Nocturne in C-sharp minor live on the radio as shells exploded ou
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Hardcover, 240 pages
Published September 4th 1999 by Picador (first published 1946)
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Arghavan I've seen the movie when I was younger than you, I don't recommend it in your age though.
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Community Reviews

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Samadrita
This is the first time I am reviewing a book that I have tried and failed to rate.

How do I decide on a rating anyway? Should I judge the prose? the content? the author's style of presentation? his narrative voice? the quality of the translation?
Do I even have the right to?

Awarding a star rating to this man's unbelievably harrowing and miraculous tale of surviving a war which claimed the lives of 6 million of his fellow brethren for no reason at all, seems a more sacrilegious act than calling In
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Merna
I loved The Pianist for a number of reasons but the supreme reason goes to Władysław Szpilman's storytelling. Szpilman writes down the struggles which he endured in order to survive in Warsaw under the occupation of the Nazis. Władysław voice never grows bitter, neither do his emotions twist to constant abhorrence and it’s why, I find myself respecting him so admirably. His story was in no means told to invoke hatred or disgust towards Germans. His intention was not to spit out political stateme ...more
Dem
Apr 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2
The Pianist by Written immediately after the war by survivor Wladyslaw Szpilman. This book was suppressed for decades. The Pianist is a stunning testament to human endurance and tells the story of the horrendous events that took place in Nazi-occupied Warsaw and the Jewish ghetto.

This is quite a short book but it certainly packs a punch. You can almost feel the urgency of the writer to get his story down on paper and yet the story is told in such a way that you feel a confidence and a clarity th
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Diane S ☔
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roadrallyteamb
As always these books are so incredibly hard to read, not just to read but to understand how these cruelties could have ever happened. This book was different in that it was not only written by someone in Poland who survived the Holocaust, but someone who probably only survived because of the help of a German officer.

Excerpts from this officer's diary are included in the back of the book as are explanatory notes tying everything together. The tome of the book is rather matter of fact, since it
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I've read a lot about World War II, but I'd never fully grasped the complete destruction, the utter devastation of the city of Warsaw. Hitler was like a bratty child with a toy he'd rather destroy than share with anyone else. When he knew he was going to lose the war, he ordered that Warsaw be reduced to rubble. Among the ruins there was a Jewish musician named Wladyslaw Szpilman who had managed to survive for six years, and a German named Wilm Hosenfeld who saved Szpilman's life one last time. ...more
Missy J
description
Monument of the Umschlagplatz in Warsaw today.

I don't know how to write a review for such a horrifying account of what Wladyslaw Szpilman experienced as a Jew in Warsaw during the Holocaust. His writing is very dispassionate and precise, yet he really brought forth the horrors of the war and his daily life struggles with losing his family, hunger, stress, uncertainty and fear at that time. I was also very much inspired by how strong his instincts were in certain situations. It's incredible how d
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Scarlett
'Tomorrow I must begin a new life. How could I do it, with nothing but death behind me? What vital energy could I draw from death?
I went on my way. A stormy wind rattled the scrap-iron in the ruins, whistling and howling through the charred cavities of the windows. Twilight came on. Snow fell from the darkening, leaden sky.'


- Władysław Szpilman


6 July, 1943
Why does God permit this terrible war with its dreadful human sacrifices? Think of the terrible air raids, the awful fear of the innocent civ
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RJ Corby
Feb 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I became interested in reading "The Pianist" after seeing the excellent movie, directed by Roman Polanski, that was based on the book. After thoroughly enjoying the movie, I had very high hopes for this tome, and I was not disappointed. This book is a stunner, bringing to life the horrific conditions and brutality that Wladyslaw Szpilman endured to survive six years of Nazi brutality in Warsaw, Poland.

What's truly amazing about this book is how Szpilman tells the story with a sense of detachment
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Miguel
Nov 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hitler atamancou os ressentimentos da Alemanha derivados da capitulação da Grande Guerra. Assim sendo, propagandeou, impunemente, valores ímpios, iníquos, ferozes, sanguinários, como a formação de ghettos, remanescentes medievais, e o extermínio de raças que degenerassem da ariana.

O Pianista é o testemunho de um intelectual, de um artista e colunável polaco, que desfia as recordações latejantes desse período histórico por demais inesquecível e pungente. Não se insurge contra a superintendênc
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Joana Esteves
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, biblioteca
Um relato incrível!

Por mais livros que leia sobre o assunto, fico sempre sem palavras quando leio mais uma história, mais um relato de alguém que viveu na primeira pessoa tudo isto...
Carmo
Oct 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Este é o testemunho de Vladyslaw Szpilman: cidadão polaco, músico de profissão e judeu. Era também filho, irmão e amigo. Quando acabou a guerra já não tinha irmãos nem pais, e a maioria dos amigos tinha morrido às mãos dos nazis. Sofreu na pele desde os primeiros dias da invasão, foi perseguido e resistiu até aos últimos dias de aniquilação total. Assistiu à destruição da sua cidade, Varsóvia, viu os judeus confinados a um gueto imundo, sujeitos a uma imensa carnificina, desapossados dos seus be ...more
AMEERA
Jun 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
best book talking about war I recommend it
Ryan
Nov 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wladyslaw Szpilman was a trained pianist, a Pole, and a Jew, and in The Pianist, he explains how he survived World War II in the Warsaw Ghetto. It sounds like the sort of book you'd want your kids to read in high school, so I was surprised to learn that The Pianist was a "banned" book.

You can believe the subtitle: this memoir of "one man's survival" is indeed extraordinary. The Jews within the ghetto were killed by the German police, they died of hunger, and they were gathered into cattle cars a
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Smierc miasta = The Pianist: The Extraordinary Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939–45, Władysław Szpilman
عنوان: پیانیست : دفتر خاطرات سالهای 1939 تا 1945 میلادی؛ نویسنده: ولادیسلاو اشپیلمان؛ ژرژ پطرسی؛ تهران، انتشارات ماهی؛ 1393؛ در 228 ص؛ شابک: 9789642091980؛ موضوع: جنگ جهانگیر دوم - قتل عام یهودیان - سرگذشتنامه موسیقیدانان یهودی لهستان - قرن 20 م
عنوان فیلم: پیانیست؛ کارگردان: رومن پولانسکی؛ تهیه کننده: آلبرت س. رودی؛ نویسنده کتاب: ولادیسلاو اشپیلمن؛ نویسنده فیلمنامه: رونالد هاروود ؛ با
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Oana
First, I need to mention that I have seen the movie before reading the book, and I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that it changed my life, hopefully turning me into a better person. I’m at a loss of words in expressing what a masterpiece the movie is, and how Roman Polanski (a Holocaust survivor himself) is the God Almighty of directing.

With that out of the way, I’m adding that I was perfectly aware that the book couldn’t possibly be as good as this majestic movie, whereas it is a Holoca
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Negin
This book is an amazing memoir of a Jew’s survival in Nazi-occupied Warsaw. Szpilman does not sound at all bitter or angry. His writing is in fact rather detached and dispassionate. The reason may be is that he wrote it shortly after the war and was still suffering all the terrible after-effects and shock.

The German officer’s diary was fascinating. What an incredible angel of a man. That’s all I have to say. The kindness of strangers so often brings me to tears. In fact, retelling his part of t
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Karolina Kat
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is not possible to evaluate a personal account of losing everyone and going through hell.
Lisa
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The introduction to this book by Władysław Szpilman's son Andrzej reminds the reader that his father was a musician, not a writer. Despite this, The Pianist is a powerful memoir, perhaps all the more so because it is written in this honest, guileless way.

It is a slim volume but includes all of the horrifying details of the Warsaw Ghetto that you may have seen in the film version of The Pianist, starring Adrien Brody. I was quietly pleased that the director Roman Polanski (himself a survivor of
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Emma 1
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to know what to write about this book as it is a story of survival that leaves one speechless. Like many, I read the book after seeing the movie. I saw it twice in the cinema; it was adapted to cinema with no changes to the original book. It is an amazing testament to man's will to survive.

I remember at the time thinking, whatever so called 'problems' or challenges I was facing, they were nothing.

I cannot imagine what it took for Mr Szpilman to go on with his life.
Dora Santos Marques
A minha opinião em vídeo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXWH-...

Que relato emocionante de um dos pianista mais famosos de Varsóvia.
Gostei mesmo muito deste livro. Super fiel ao filme.
Doreen Petersen
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii
Excellent book! Great info and reading. Definitely recommend this to everyone.
Imen Benyoub
This is the extraordinary survival story of Polish pianist Władysław Szpilman during the second world war in occupied Warsaw, when the Nazis entered Poland and the beginning of the endless cycle of horror for the Jewish population "half a million in the city"..Szpielman writes about the ghetto and how his family endured the harsh inhuman conditions in this crowded, barricaded part of the city, than the deportations of jews to concentration camps, how he was saved and separated from his family an ...more
Pamela
This memoir may be compact in size, and simplistic in delivery, but it’s colossal in historical and admonitory significance.

Szpilman’s terrifying (and miraculous) five-year experience during the Nazi’s siege of Warsaw and annihilation of Jews - beaten senseless, hunted down like an animal, fleeing for his life, hiding wherever he could, isolated, and starving– is as horrific as it is cautionary and hopeful.

I’ve read many books on WWII and the Holocaust – fiction and non-fiction. Each presentin
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 Irma Sincera
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tai turbūt pirmoji mano perskaityta knyga, kuri kažką iš pagrindų pakeitė mano mąstysenoje ir taip kaip aš mačiau tam tikrus dalykus pasaulyje. Tokios tikros, skausmingos ir atviros knygos niekada nebuvau skaičius.

Tai istorija vyro, kuris vedamas mano nuomone savo apsukrumo ir beproto didelės sėkmės išgyveno tai- kas atrodė neįmanoma.

Memuarai apima visą karo laikotarpį nuo jo pradžios iki pat paskutinės dienos. Karas truko 6 metus tai yra beprotiškai ilgas laiko tarpas kurį tau reikia išgyventi
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BAM The Bibliomaniac
I can definitely tell why this was made into a movie. It was full of sadness, betrayal, turmoil, frustration, and most of the book takes place with the protagonist in hiding in an attic! One of the best Holocaust books I've read because I truly expressed his emotions.
Julie
Jul 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished the last page of this Holocaust memoir during a rare silence in my house, which matched the spirit of this book and the sob in my throat.

But, let me back up for a moment.

I watched the movie "The Pianist" when it originally premiered and basically went into the fetal position as it ended and again pronounced "No more Holocaust movies for me." But, as our son is preparing to audition on piano for colleges in the fall, this movie came back to my mind, and I remembered that "The Pian
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Filipe Ronzani
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Após finalmente ter tido uma aula de história sobre a segunda guerra mundial, sinto-me cada vez mais compelido a ler sobre a guerra, especialmente sobre o holocausto. Não sei dizer oque me compele a tal ato, talvez seja a surrealidade dos atos cometidos contra seres humanos iguais, motivados grande parte por ideais,ou talvez seja pelos relatos serem uma sombria lição da história.
O livro em si é um relato do pianista Wladyslaw Szpilman de Varsóvia, na Polônia, que sobrevive à perseguição terrív
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George Rife
While not impressively "literary", this memoir of survival of the holocaust by a Warsaw Jew is well-written and is an incredible account of this man's very unlikely survival. The short and interesting appendix material should also be read.
Knihomoľka Bleise
Keď som si predstavila, že všetko, čo je tu napísané je skutočnosť, prišlo mi nevoľno. Miestami som sa mala chuť rozplakať. Bola som prekvapená, čoho všetkého je ľudská bytosť schopná.
Catarina
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Catarina by: Inês Beato
Depois de ter lido tanta coisa sobre o Holocausto, achei que a história d’ “O Pianista” não me chocaria. Felizmente, chocou, o que mostra que a minha mente e o meu coração ainda não se habituaram a ler sobre todas as atrocidades cometidas durante a 2ª Guerra Mundial.

Szpilman conta-nos a sua história de forma pouco afectada e humilde, como se não estivesse a sentir e a recordar tudo aquilo de que fala. Não chegou a ver um dos campos de concentração e extermínio de Hitler, mas toda a sua família p
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Polish pianist, composer and memoirist.
Szpilman is widely known as the protagonist of the Roman Polański film The Pianist , which is based on his autobiographical book recounting how he survived the Holocaust. In November 1998 Władysław Szpilman was honoured by the president of Poland with a Kommandor Order with a Star of Polonia Restituta.
More about Władysław Szpilman...

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“And now I was lonelier, I supposed, than anyone else in the world. Even Defoe's creation, Robinson Crusoe, the prototype of the ideal solitary, could hope to meet another human being. Crusoe cheered himself by thinking that such a thing could happen any day, and it kept him going. But if any of the people now around me came near I would need to run for it and hide in mortal terror. I had to be alone, entirely alone, if I wanted to live.” 44 likes
“Lying is the worst of all evils. Everything else that is diabolical comes from it.” 21 likes
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