On June 22nd 1941, Hitler invaded the Soviet Union and German troops advanced towards Leningrad, Russia s second city with a opulation of three million. On June 27th the people of Leningrad began constructing fortifications around the city and steeled themselves for a defensive struggle which was to continue until January 1944. So fervent was the people s resistance that German forces, frustrated by their inability to take the stronghold, encircled the city in a 900-day-long siege, beginning on 8th September 1941, during which around 500,000 troops and up to a million civilians died. The Besieged takes us inside the fortifications and into the homes and lives of those trapped in Leningrad. The history of the Siege is recounted here by survivors who, in the summer of 1999, disclosed their memories of that time to writer Caroline Walton. Their stories describe humanity at its utter limit encompassing desperation, fear, grief, famine, murder and even cannibalism. But these are also stories of courage, camaraderie, fortitude, music, passion and pride, and of an elusive, not quite describable but ineffably human quality that allows hungry people to survive the worst that human experience can yield. Harrowing, yet uplifting, The Besieged is history in the broadest and best sense.