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Agathe von Trapp, the oldest daughter in the Trapp Family Singers, offers readers the real story behind an American classic in her poignant and fascinating autobiography Memories Before and After The Sound of Music. The courageous family and events immortalized in the beloved Broadway musical and hit Hollywood film come vibrantly alive in these pages, and Agathe’s post-Sound of Music life is equally compelling.

From Booklist

From the seasoned perspective of her eighty-nine years, Agathe, the eldest von Trapp family daughter paints a rose-hued portrait of life before and after the highly fictionalized Broadway and Hollywood account of her famous family’s story. Though diehard Sound of Music fans may be disappointed to learn that the von Trapps’ “escape” from Austria—they simply boarded a train to Italy—was much less dramatic than the memorable Technicolor climb over the mountains depicted in the movie, their hearts will still be blessed with the sound of music that resonates throughout the pages of this charming, family-friendly memoir. Agathe dishes no dirt; in fact, her recollections of her beloved Mamá, Papá, stepmother, and fairy-tale-like childhood in Austria, are all refreshingly positive and upbeat. A gentle patriarch, unlike the strict disciplinarian portrayed in both the stage and film versions, Georg von Trapp, oversaw the musical education of all his children after the death of his first wife. After immigrating to the U.S. and embarking on their collective musical career as the Trapp Family Singers, the close-knit bonds forged in their Tyrolean childhoods never frayed. Though less fantastical, Agathe’s homespun recollections, illustrated with her own sketches and family photos, is a must-read for diehard Sound of Music fans. Sugar-sweet but never saccharine. --Margaret Flanagan

Review

“The eldest daughter in the Trapp Family Singers writes poignantly…..In her telling, we learn the real details in this truly providential tale about a tight-knit, devoted, and wonderfully gifted family.” -- Publishers Weekly

“Agathe von Trapp’s World War II story is the stuff of legend -- or, as she would have it, myth. In her memoir, Memories Before and After the Sound of Music, von Trapp, the eldest sister in the famed singing family, attempts to set the record straight...Charming.” -- Washington Post

“Many fans of ‘The Sound of Music’ are curious about how much of it is truth and how much is poetic license. This newly released paperback offers some first-person insight.” -- Newsday

From the Back Cover

The heartwarming true story of the family made legendary by The Sound of Music—as told by Agathe, the eldest von Trapp daughter.

The Sound of Music has captivated generations with its inspiring story of courage, love, music, and familial devotion. Audiences the world over have taken the von Trapp family into their hearts, joyfully celebrating their many triumphs and their daring escape from the Nazis.

In this charming, poignant, and unforgettable memoir, Agathe von Trapp, the eldest daughter, shares the true story of her family, the events that inspired the internationally beloved musical and film, and what happened to the von Trapps in the years after. Blessed with impeccable recall, Agathe shares her vivid memories of a childhood spent in an idyllic Austrian home with her brothers, sisters, and gentle, loving father; of the tragic loss of their mother; of the arrival of Maria; and of the bonding of a close-knit group of siblings who achieved great fame and endured great hardship.

Beautifully adorned with Agathe von Trapp''s sketches and personal photographs, Memories Before and After the Sound of Music transports readers to a bygone time as it tells the intimate, loving story of a renowned and truly remarkable family.

About the Author

Agathe von Trapp was born in Austria in 1913. A member of the original Trapp Family Singers, Agathe traveled with the group on their worldwide concert tours in thirty countries. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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4.4 out of 54.4 out of 5
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Top reviews from the United States

AmandaPup
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Thoroughly enjoyed
Reviewed in the United States on June 29, 2016
I always enjoy reading about the average person and I suspect Agathe von Trapp would have considered herself average even though she tells of a life foreign to most of us. No show biz glamour and even her early life of privilege doesn''t sound overly coddled. Before... See more
I always enjoy reading about the average person and I suspect Agathe von Trapp would have considered herself average even though she tells of a life foreign to most of us. No show biz glamour and even her early life of privilege doesn''t sound overly coddled.
Before buying the book, I read one review which puzzled me and I am addressing it to help others. The reviewer remarked that the book seemed to have been written to "get even" although no suggestion as to with whom. Having previously Maria von Trapp''s story (decades ago) and enough other commentary to know that the original Maria was not the sweet naif of the show and movie. She was a strong willed woman capable of dominating her husband and directing everyone''s life as she thought. Perhaps just what was needed at the time, but I wondered if Agathe had spoken unkindly of the woman she called Mother. No such thing. She speaks respectfully and fondly of Maria.
The only point at which I felt there was any regret shown was in the reaction to the Sound of Music. She admits to being unhappy with the show, especially with unflattering and totally inaccurate portrayal of her beloved father.
She is certainly not the first person to be disappointed when dramatic license is chosen over accuracy of detail. I recall that upon seeing Sunrise at Campobello, Eleanor Roosevelt remarked something to the effect that it was an interesting play but the characters were not accurate portrayals of the originals. In time Agathe von Trapp came to have similar feelings about the Sound of Music.
52 people found this helpful
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Paul Ritz
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Behind the Sound of Music
Reviewed in the United States on July 11, 2018
This was a pleasant summer read. It’s really a number of books wrapped into an easy read. First it’s a brief history of the Trapp family going back several generations.! It’s intetesting because it also includes a nice historical perspective of ever changing... See more
This was a pleasant summer read. It’s really a number of books wrapped into an easy read.

First it’s a brief history of the Trapp family going back several generations.! It’s intetesting because it also includes a nice historical perspective of ever changing Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Secondly, it provides nice information about the family prior to Maria entering the scene. Her obvious love and affection for her parents is nice. In addition, it gives nice information regarding her mother and grandmother.

The next phase is Maria’s entrance into the family. It clarifies the timeline the obvious changes made by Hollywood.

Another pleasant aspect of the book is it takes us to a simpler and more innocent time as she describes their moving to Amera and touring.

Finally, I enjoyed the way the author came to terms with musical. She finally appreciated it for its influence and how it has affected several generations. Nicely done. There is a great deal of detail that sometimes drags. However, I thought it was a nice pleasant read about a subject that is dear to many people
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Cynthia K. Robertson
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not quite The Sound of Music, but still interesting...
Reviewed in the United States on April 24, 2017
After reading a book about movie musicals, I decided to read something more about the story behind one of the biggest musicals ever—The Sound of Music. Agathe Von Trapp was the second child and oldest daughter of Captain Georg Von Trapp, and Memories Before and After The... See more
After reading a book about movie musicals, I decided to read something more about the story behind one of the biggest musicals ever—The Sound of Music. Agathe Von Trapp was the second child and oldest daughter of Captain Georg Von Trapp, and Memories Before and After The Sound of Music is her autobiography. It is mostly delightful and includes sketches drawn by the author. However, fans of the movie may be disappointed that the life of the Von Trapp family is often quite different from the movie-version.

Memories Before and After The Sound of Music spends much time describing Agathe’s childhood. Her father was a handsome submarine commander in the Austrian Navy. Their mother, also named Agathe, came from Austrian aristocrats on one side, and a wealthy British inventor and industrialist on the other. They married and had seven children before Agathe died from scarlet fever. Their childhood is disrupted by World War I, and then again with the rise of the Nazi party and World War II. The author makes a special effort to tell the reader all the fiction in the movie based on their lives. She claims that their father wasn’t stern but loving and kind. He was always interested in music and never had them stop performing after the death of his wife. Step-mother Maria was also not the wonderful woman portrayed by Julie Andrews, and she was only hired to tutor one sister who was sick at home. Although it seems like there was genuine affection between Maria and her step-children, Agathe claims that Maria could also be quite difficult. But at some point, Agathe comes to accept The Sound of Music and the role it will play in the lives of all the Von Trapps.

I will admit that I thought this book got bogged down in spots. There seems to be a lot of name dropping with castles and estates in which the family stayed. But several themes shine through, and they are family, faith and music. Even after the family stopped touring in 1956, they remained close and the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont is still the center of family activity.

Even though Agathe’s story doesn’t always parallel The Sound of Music, it is still a fascinating one. And where The Sound of Music ends with their escape from Austria, Agathe fills in the time after that as they settle into American life.
22 people found this helpful
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Bettye Hull
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The REAL story behind the Von Trapps
Reviewed in the United States on August 6, 2018
This was written by the oldest daughter, Agathe (Liesl in the movie). It was an eye opener to discover things like Agathe was 25 when they came to America, and that they returned and lived more years in Austria before returning permanently to the US. There is not much... See more
This was written by the oldest daughter, Agathe (Liesl in the movie). It was an eye opener to discover things like Agathe was 25 when they came to America, and that they returned and lived more years in Austria before returning permanently to the US. There is not much about Maria (the 2nd wife of the Captain), but Agathe paints a wonderful picture of their loving father who was not nearly as stern and military-ish as the movie portrays. Too bad there weren''t photographs of the various houses they lived in, and reading it on an e-reader makes it harder to enjoy the photos there were because of size. I enjoyed discovering more about the singing family as they became more "real" through Agathe''s eyes. Also, it was good to see Agathe''s opinion of The Sound of Music go from irritation to appreciation.
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Holly AW
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not much about the Sound of Music....
Reviewed in the United States on August 1, 2018
The book title is misleading as there is very little about The Sound of Music in it. Indeed, there is very little about the Von Trapps after the Captain marries Maria. I knew that the stage play and the movie were highly fictionalized and I bought this book hoping to learn... See more
The book title is misleading as there is very little about The Sound of Music in it. Indeed, there is very little about the Von Trapps after the Captain marries Maria. I knew that the stage play and the movie were highly fictionalized and I bought this book hoping to learn more about the real family adventure with Maria. However, And the makes clear early on that she didn''t like the play or the movie and so does her best to make most of the book about the family before her mother''s death and Georg''s second marriage to Maria. There is mind numbing detail about events from her early childhood that have to be based on others '' memories. It felt like she didn''t care much for her stepmother as there is very little about her and next to nothing about what led to her marriage to Georg other than he needed someone to take care of his seven children. Now don''t get me wrong, there are things to learn in the book, but it should not have Sound of Music in the title. It was worth reading but could have been so much better IMHO. Hence 3 stars.
6 people found this helpful
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AvdRedr
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Reveals the truth behind the story that became The Sound of Music.
Reviewed in the United States on August 24, 2019
Like many who have enjoyed The Sound of Music movie, I was interested in finding out how much of the story was true, and how much Hollywood had taken “artistic license” with the story. They seem to have gotten three things right. The Von Trapps were Austrian, they were... See more
Like many who have enjoyed The Sound of Music movie, I was interested in finding out how much of the story was true, and how much Hollywood had taken “artistic license” with the story. They seem to have gotten three things right. The Von Trapps were Austrian, they were almost all musically talented and could sing, and lastly, Maria was a problem for the Abby! The rest of the movie they took large license with how they portrayed the story. Agathe, the eldest daughter does provide a more intimate view of the family and the timeline of events that lead us to know them as portrayed in the movie. I was especially interested in Captain Von Trapp and his Word War I experiences that lead up to his notoriety as a hero to the Austrians. The book is very much a memoir and drags with too much detail from her early memories. However it does portray a family life that at times fit the movie version, but most of the time was filled with the family memories that you would expect. Worth the read.
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Jane Hahn
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The real story
Reviewed in the United States on June 3, 2017
Written in a very simple way, the Trapps'' lives were just as amazing as the fictional Sound of Music. I learned how before Maria, their mother died of scarlet fever nursing the children. They did not escape Austria by walking over the mountains-they took a train to Italy!... See more
Written in a very simple way, the Trapps'' lives were just as amazing as the fictional Sound of Music. I learned how before Maria, their mother died of scarlet fever nursing the children. They did not escape Austria by walking over the mountains-they took a train to Italy! Their mother had a weathy English father and an aristocratic Austrian mother. Their father was raised Lutheran in an area of Italy that had been part of Austria. Maria was an atheist before her conversion and came to be a teacher for just one of the children who had been sick. Their father was a kind caring man, unlike the movie. Anyway, their lives before the war in Europe and afterwards in America make for an extraordinary true tale.
6 people found this helpful
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Judy
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A story of faith
Reviewed in the United States on March 19, 2017
I read this book today on Kindle. My only regret is that the drawings do not come through very well on my Paperwhite. As described, this book tells the true story of a musical family displaced by war who went on to bless thousands with their music. As I write, I am... See more
I read this book today on Kindle. My only regret is that the drawings do not come through very well on my Paperwhite. As described, this book tells the true story of a musical family displaced by war who went on to bless thousands with their music. As I write, I am listening to a remastered collection on Amazon Music which was free when I ordered the CD.

What I like most about the book is its portrayal of a family of Christian faith. Agathe''s faith was born early in her life. She makes frequent references to God''s providence in caring for her family. She accepts those hardships God did not prevent, such as the loss of her first mother, their homes, their way of life. It. Is a gentle, upbeat read.
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Top reviews from other countries

Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great book very insightful
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 21, 2021
This book is fascinating if you have an Interest in the sound of music and the von Trapp family it''s a great book just don''t expect it to be a written record like the sound of music it''s not like the film at all but I actually thought it was better because of that. Shows...See more
This book is fascinating if you have an Interest in the sound of music and the von Trapp family it''s a great book just don''t expect it to be a written record like the sound of music it''s not like the film at all but I actually thought it was better because of that. Shows you a different side to the family everyone thinks they know.
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Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent read very interesting
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 9, 2021
Excellent read, I found this book so interesting and very enjoyable. As a big fan of the film I was always curious to read about the real lives of the von tramp family singers. I really loved reading this book and could no put it down. It''s such an amazing read,would highly...See more
Excellent read, I found this book so interesting and very enjoyable. As a big fan of the film I was always curious to read about the real lives of the von tramp family singers. I really loved reading this book and could no put it down. It''s such an amazing read,would highly recommend this book to be read.
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ink
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Very Interesting Book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 16, 2020
Though I am only Half way through it answers many questions we all have.
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envelope
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 1, 2018
Good to get the non film version of events
2 people found this helpful
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🙋🏽 🐚 🤎💛🧡
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Light & EASY Read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 14, 2015
Thank God for Agatha Von Trapp.....Writing a book that IS EASY to Read & A Total Delight.....including being ''A Light Read''......& About her and the very ''Real & Alive People'' in her life.....that helped ''paint a picture'' of Clarity & Understanding & Compassion, loss &...See more
Thank God for Agatha Von Trapp.....Writing a book that IS EASY to Read & A Total Delight.....including being ''A Light Read''......& About her and the very ''Real & Alive People'' in her life.....that helped ''paint a picture'' of Clarity & Understanding & Compassion, loss & Trust..... Thanku Amazon for this Book!! 👍👍🏾👏👏🏾😜
2 people found this helpful
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