Daniel Beer

Surrounded Sound

Leningrad: Siege and Symphony

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Quercus 558pp £25 order from our bookshop

St Petersburg: Shadows of the Past

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Yale University Press 464pp £25 order from our bookshop

A European capital built in defiance of nature, perched precariously on the Baltic coast, St Petersburg has commanded endless discussions over Russian national identity, state power and the towering achievements of Russian culture. The city remains swathed in collective myths and memories of imperial glory, assassination, revolution, terror and war. In the decades since Stalin’s death its inhabitants have often struggled to articulate an identity that can reconcile such a grandiose, inspiring and tragic past with a sometimes underwhelming, squalid and frustrating present.

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