Beginning in 1939 prewar Prague, While the Music Played focuses on the story of young Max Mueller, a curious bright romantic—a budding musician, piano tuner, and nascent journalist. Max is on the cusp of adolescence when the Nazi influence invades Prague’s tolerant spirit with alarming speed as he struggles to understand the changing world around him. When his father, noted German conductor Viktor Mueller, is conscripted into the German army and finds himself increasingly promoting the Nazi message, Viktor’s best friend, noted Czech composer Hans Krása, protests the occupation in every way he can. As everyone Max loves is compromised by intolerable conditions, he becomes increasingly isolated, and is forced to find his own way. With each step, Max’s journey grows more conflicted. Music is the one constant connecting him to both the lost childhood he cherishes and the man he still hopes to become. But will it be enough to sustain him against the relentless Nazi threat? With a seamless blend of historical and fictional characters, told from multiple points of view, and sweeping across the capitals of Prague, London, and Berlin as World War II ravages Europe, this meticulously researched book is unique with its diverse and interweaving narratives, threaded with news accounts, and encompassing some of the most triumphant and devastating moments of the war—from the opera houses of Berlin to the music halls of London and the making of the famous children’s opera Brundibár.
About the Author
Nathaniel Lande is a journalist, filmmaker, and the author of twelve books, including Cricket and Dispatches from the Front: A History of the American War Correspondent. He was creative director for the Magazine Group at Time, Inc.; director of Time World News Service; director of Time-Life Films, where his documentaries won over ten international awards; and executive producer at CBS and NBC Television. Lande was educated at Oxford University, earned his doctorate at Trinity College Dublin, where he was a Distinguished Scholar; and held appointments as professor of journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He lives in Santa Barbara, California.
This is an authentic european and lyrical story despite the fact that it is about war. Katona József Library of Bács-Kiskun County, Hungary
Meet our judging panel for 2024 Dublin Literary Award
VideoJune 2 2023
Highlights from the 2023 Dublin Literary Award Ceremony
Katja Oskamp and translator Jo Heinrich win the prize for Marzahn, Mon Amour.
VideoMay 26 2023
2023 Award Winners in Conversation with Rick O’Shea
Author, Katja Oskamp and translator, Jo Heinrich in conversation.
VideoMay 25 2023
Flowers Say it Better, Love – A poem by Sarah Creighton Keogh
Commissioned for the 2023 Dublin Literary Award Ceremony.