In 1979 the book Testimony - The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich - As related to and edited by Solomon Volkov was published. This book, according to Volkov, contains the words of Shostakovich as related to him in the last years of his life. Shostakovich insisted the book be published after his death with good reason considering the material in it paints him in a light that the Soviet authorities of the day wouldn't have exactly been thrilled with. However for the last 10 years or so there has been some criticism of this book with comments from friends of Shostakovich saying that Volkov must have made a lot of it up. Maxim Shostakovich remained silent for years on the subject but finaly agreed that the book has the ring of truth about it. Ian McDonald's excellent book The New Shostakovich (ISBN 0-19-284026-6) goes into some detail claiming the book to be fiction based on truth. Citing that the `signed' pages that Volkov claims Shostakovich signed as proof of the book's validity are in fact from other sources, and are only produced as the first pages of chapters. McDonald's book also delves into fascinating analysis of the times, both personally and politically and bases an analysis of the works of DSCH on this.
Personally, I own both books and find each of them interesting. I owned Testimony first, and it is an excellent read if just for the stories and ideas within. McDonald's book goes into much more detail on everything and provides a thoughtful, yet harrowing account of the life and times of Shostakovich. I recommend McDonald's book for anyone interested in a good analysis of the major works as well as the times they were written in.
Another poster to
alt.fan.shostakovich, puts an
case, demonstrating that Testimony is definitely
fraudulent. It may or may not be an accurate picture of the man
himself, but was not written by him.