Memories Before and After the Sound of Music – Book Review

Agathe von Trapp, born in 1913, is the eldest daughter of Baron Georg von Trapp. Agathe, her siblings and parents formed the famous Trapp Family Singers, which inspired the popular film, The Sound Of Music.This famous movie was based on books written by Maria about their lives and experiences from her perspective, which – of course – the movie producers had creative license with. After reading Agathe’s memoir, Memories Before And After The Sound Of Music, interest for Maria’s books will likely increase once again.

When I took on this project I reminisced to my husband about the bonding moments I had with my mother because of the movie; he went out and promptly rented the DVD from our local store. I think it is wonderful that the movie has survived all these years and can still be found on movie rental shelves. Memories Before And After The Sound Of Music is likely to experience similar success, simply due to how dear the family’s story has been to the masses.

The book is written as a non-fiction account from Agathe’s memory – as such, readers will see the changing times through the eyes of the eldest daughter of the family. Perhaps due to the fact that Agathe was a young adult at the time, the story does not include the causes of the turmoil. Her bitterness seeps through here and there – and at times, I got the impression that she had once harbored unpleasant feelings towards Maria and the movie producers, which seem to have healed. Agathe’s child-like adoration of her biological parents is apparent in their heroic and greater-than-life portrayal – but then, perhaps they really were like that.

Readers will find that Agathe’s book will travel farther back in time, before Maria entered their lives. The biography follows through to what happened after their escape and clarifies common misconceptions. I found it surprising that Agathe was 25 when the family left for America – the only “children” during the escape were those recently born from Maria.

Though this family’s story is definitely and inspiring riches-to-rags story, one cannot deny that this well-connected family certainly did not suffer like their countrymen. Isolated castles and mansions, pristine lakes and mountains, private farms, fully staffed estates… no, this was certainly not suffering, by any account. However, the war left the family with nothing but the loyalty and love of their fans and friends. This was enough for them to survive Ellis Island, find a home in America, record albums, go on tours and establish a successful music camp – which is operating today in Vermont.

As a fantastic bonus, the center of the book contains over 30 pages of photos of the family starting in 1875 through to images of the family today, including one shot of the next Trapp family singing group.

Author: Agathe von Trapp

Publisher: Publish America

ISBN 10: 1-4137-6026-0

ISBN 13: 978-1-4137-6026-2