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Between Giants: The Battle for The Baltics in World War II (General Military) [Hardcover]

Prit Buttar
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
RRP: £20.00
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Book Description

7 May 2013 General Military
During World War II, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia found themselves trapped between the giants of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Over the course of the war these states were repeatedly occupied by different forces, and local government organizations and individuals were forced to choose between supporting the occupying forces or forming partisan units to resist their occupation. Devastated during the German invasion, these states then became the site of some of the most vicious fighting during the Soviet counter-attack and push towards Berlin. Many would be caught up in the bitter fighting in the region and, in particular, in the huge battles for the Courland Bridgehead during Operation Bagration, when hundreds of thousands of soldiers would fight and die in the last year of the war. By the end of the war, death and deportation had cost the Baltic States over 20 per cent of their total population and Soviet occupation was to see the iron curtain descend on the region for four decades. Using numerous first-hand accounts and detailed archival research, Prit Buttar weaves a magisterial account of the bitter fighting on the Eastern Front and the three small states whose fates were determined by the fortunes and misfortunes of war.

Frequently Bought Together

Between Giants: The Battle for The Baltics in World War II (General Military) + Battleground Prussia: The Assault on Germany's Eastern Front 1944-45 (General Military) + The Battle of Konigsberg: The Struggle for the East Prussian Capital, October 1944 to April 1945
Price For All Three: £39.73

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (7 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780961634
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780961637
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.3 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 112,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


This volume is likely to become the "reference" book on the fate of the Baltic States during World War 2. The author's research has produced an excellent text and it is a very enjoyable read. He does not condone or praise the opposing sides of the conflict but presents their actions against the backdrop of the then situation and not with post-war prejudices. He deserves a "Well done" and significant praise for his scholarly work. --Military Archive Research

About the Author

Prit Buttar studied medicine at Oxford and London before joining the British Army as a doctor. After leaving the army, he has worked as a GP, first near Bristol and now in Abingdon. He is extensively involved in medical politics, both at local and national level, and serves on the GPs' Committee of the British Medical Association. He appears from time to time on local and national TV and radio, speaking on a variety of medical issues. He contributes regularly to the medical press. An expert on the Eastern Front during World War II, he previously wrote the critically acclaimed Battleground Prussia: The Assault on Germany's Eastern Front 1944-45 (Osprey 2010).

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a first-rate account of a campaign mostly neglected in the English language.

The author has not just tapped a myriad of English and German sources, published or otherwise, but also accounts from the Baltic nations in their native tongues which makes for wide-ranging coverage.

From the military viewpoint the book chiefly covers the 1941 campaign and the battles of 1944-45 with some excellent first-hand accounts provided. However, by far the most gripping - and harrowing - chapter is the account of the treatment of the Baltic's Jewish population after the Nazi occupation. There are some truly heartwrenching stories reproduced here.

Overall another excellent addition to WW2 from the author (whose Battleground Prussia: The Assault on Germany's Eastern Front 1944-45 (General Military) is another 'must buy').

The Kindle edition is an absolute bargain. At a fiver there's no excuse for not buying.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very detailed and balanced history 14 July 2013
By And
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The historical context for the Baltic nations is well described. Each of the countries is thoroughly examined as the stages of the approach to war develop. There is lots of interesting detail and the prose style is that of a good writer.
The military detail is copious but never mechanical, never just a list of army units and locations. A very wide range of sources is cited for each chapter and this makes it a very authoritative account.
The war in the Baltics has not had much airtime in the literature of WW2 and this book does a good job to fill the gap. I would have liked a few more maps,though.
I thoroughly recommend this book to all those wishing to gain a better understanding of these events.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
By Dave History Student TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I thoroughly enjoyed Mr Buttar's "Battleground Prussia" and was anxious to read this sequel. Like the first book this book is highly researched and is packed with lots of details regarding the giants' prewar history, the combatant's organization, the evolution of Blitzkrieg, operational experience, weapons and their victims under occupation.

The author begins his saga with background information of the key players not exclusively but mostly during the interwar period. During this prewar period the author explains why the Soviets did so poorly during the first year of war and includes the military purges that destroyed the command structure, poor training of the troops and the use of obsolete planes, tanks, other weaponry and lack of communication equipment. Several reasons why Germany attacked its larger economic partner deals with defeating Communism and creating a new larger living space for the German people as well as controlling Russia's natural resources. Germany also sported several military advantages that would temporarily overwhelm the Soviets. It also includes practices and ideologies as well as relationships between Germany, Prussia, Soviet Union, the Baltic countries and to a lesser degree Poland.
While the book contains a lot of material and insight of this period, it doesn't provide a complete look at the operations for Army Group North for the entire 1941-45 period for it doesn't provide coverage of the siege of Leningrad. It does cover the planning of Operation Barbarossa and the German advance up through Aug/Sept 1941 period when AGN captures the three Baltic countries.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but not complete 16 July 2014
By Strv 74
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a very good study of what took place in the Baltic countries during WWII. Prit Buttar is an excellent writer of these kind of books and the presentation is very readable and full of facts that are hard to find in other books.

The Strength of the book is how he manages to bring in the various Baltic peoples efforts and suffering in the overall struggle between Germany and the Soviet Union. There are numerous facts about small resistance movements and all kinds of personal stories that might have little impact on the war but gives us a Baltic approach to what took place.

Some of the facts are quite surprising and need further study. The Most surprising for me was finding out that Jews in some cases helped the Soviets arrest and deport nationals from these republics. If true, and the book is not clear on this, it is something that I guess few have heard about before. An other surprising fact was the Poles efforts to conquer Vilnius before the Soviets got there.

The Chapters on the German and Soviet murders of the civilians in these countries is a hard read but necessary in order to understand what took place. It is quite surprising to read Soviet commanders comments that they were liberating their homeland when they were actually invading these countries again. Few were sorry to get rid of the Germans but few were also happy about receiving the Soviets.

The Tactical and Operational presentation of the fighting between Germany and the USSR are fairly easy to follow and supported by some maps. But it is as always easier if you are familiar with the geography in advance. I was actually reading the book while traveling through Estonia and that improved understanding a lot.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Husband enjoy this book
Published 3 days ago by Ryder
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
To me an unknown war, well worth a read.
Published 14 days ago by David A Cassell
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many unit numbers!
This book is very detailed and covers quite a short period of history, from the prelude to war to the end of 1914. Read more
Published 29 days ago by drone
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A history of how the nazis occupied and fought in the Baltic areas,
Published 1 month ago by Johnw
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read.
I enjoyed this book very much. It covers an area of the eastern front that I knew nothing of.
The author takes you through the background and then moves forward with a clear... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Keith F. Massey
5.0 out of 5 stars Timely
Having been brought up to see the Baltic states in the Soviet era as 'captive nations', but never really believing this broad generalisation, this book is a well argued and... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Alan Jordan
4.0 out of 5 stars Operation Bagration
I inititially chose it as I had little knowledge of the course of operations on the Baltic coast toward the end of the war. Read more
Published 7 months ago by D. H. PRYDE
4.0 out of 5 stars The population in the middle
This book tells the story of people caught in the middle
your dammed if you do and dammed if you don't
Published 7 months ago by Chris Creevey
4.0 out of 5 stars The Baltic War Shock
Although living through that time I did not know just how savage that battle was.
I was also shocked to read that other countries in that area were killing the jews almost as... Read more
Published 8 months ago by George Nieman
4.0 out of 5 stars Between Giants - The Baltic conflict in full.
An excellent book on a topic rarely covered by historians. It would have 5 stars but there was not enough personal accounts inserted. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
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