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Budapest: The Stalingrad of the Waffen-SS (Dover Thrift Editions) [Paperback]

Richard Landwehr
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

12 Jan 2012 Dover Thrift Editions
Merriam Press Siegrunen Monograph 2. Fifth Edition (January 2012). The battle for Budapest was the culmination of three and a half years of bitter, unequal struggle against Soviet Bolshevism and its capitalist allies. The Waffen-SS troops involved constituted the backbone of the defensive effort and took the severest losses. For IX SS Corps and the "Florian Geyer" and "Maria Theresia" Cavalry Divisions, Budapest was another Stalingrad. "Maria Theresia" in particular had the unfortunate distinction of being the only large formation of the Waffen-SS to be almost totally obliterated. This work details the vicious struggle from beginning to end, a struggle in which 40,000 defenders tied up almost half a million Soviet combat and support troops, buying the Germans much needed time. Contents: Chapter 1: Budapest: The City of the Unvanquished Heroes; Chapter 2: The Retreat from Eastern Hungary; Chapter 3: Development of the Budapest Defense Ring; Chapter 4: The SS Cavalry Division in the Karola Positions: November 1944; Chapter 5: The Budapest Bridgehead Takes Shape; Chapter 6: Budapest is Surrounded; Chapter 7: A Fight to the Finish: Budapest Will Not Surrender; Chapter 8: January 1945: The Hardest Month Imaginable; Chapter 9: The Final Struggle Begins; Chapter 10: Endkampf; Chapter 11: Breakout from Budapest; Chapter 12: The Formation of the SS-Totenkopf Reiterstandarten, 1939-1940; Chapter 13: Death of the Soviet Budapest Emissaries: Follow-up; Chapter 14: The Budapest Relief Attacks: Excerpts from the Diary of the 5th SS-Panzer Division “Wiking,” 2-12 January 1945; Bibliography. 101 photos; 6 illustrations; 4 maps.

Frequently Bought Together

Budapest: The Stalingrad of the Waffen-SS (Dover Thrift Editions) + Battle for Budapest: 100 Days in World War II + Between Giants: The Battle for The Baltics in World War II (General Military)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 178 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (12 Jan 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1468160052
  • ISBN-13: 978-1468160055
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 165,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an unusual book 15 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is really only for people who have a certain knowledge of the waffen ss. It contains many photos that I have never seen before,and the text has been well researched. My only criticism is it has been padded out with the photos,and so the page numbers containing text are fewer than is suggested.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The brave and forgotten 14 Sep 2014
By Leni
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As it has been pointed out this is a short read, but never the less for anyone interested in the true history of the Waffen SS and its foreign legions and not just that of the victors of WW2 it is a good read, to long have these men been tared with same brush as the SD and internment camp guards, the courage these men showed in the face of the communist Russian hordes should not go untold

How ever the quality of the copy I received was not as new as was stated, the book was warped and showed all the signs of being stored in the damp the paper was browning a sure sign of ageing.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but short read 8 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book deals with an interesting subject and has many "new" pictures. It is a short, quick read and informative.
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WWII from the SS Point of View 23 Dec 2012
By Carl Robinson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Budapest the Stalingrad of the Waffen-SS is a book by Richard Landwehr and it describes the siege of Budapest, where a small garrison of mostly Hungarian and German soldiers hold out against a larger Soviet force. This book is unique in that it is from the point of view of the SS men.

As far as this reviewer can tell, Richard Landwehr is a pen name. There isn't a biography about the author in the book. The bibliography mostly sites German books as well as some magazines and private archives.

It is written in a clear, 10th grade level reading style and can be read cover to cover in a single sitting. The book itself is an on-demand printing from Merriam Press and the text is clear and readable and there are good pictures of the SS men involved in the fighting. There is very little from the Soviet point of view.

The defense of Budapest is built around several Waffen SS divisions and the story of their stand is movingly told. Included are the stories of the wounded, who ironically are many of the only survivors as they are evacuated by air before the end. Included is the all important logistics actions as well as a war diary for the German force attempting to reach Budapest and lift the siege. The final struggle is a breakout by the defenders-few survive, most of the men are killed by Soviet artillery fire or are taken prisoner. Many of the SS men are murdered out-right or are taken into Soviet captivity for many years.

While many pious, politically correct readers might find a book about the Waffen SS' struggle against Bolshevikism distasteful. One should keep in mind that this was the darkest part of a ferocious struggle by Hungarians in their resistance to Communism. Indeed, Budapest was on the front lines against Communism for decades, first in 1919, and again in World War II. After the war, while under Red Occupation and Tyranny the Hungarians nearly overthrew their captors in 1956 and 1968. Their final victory came in 1989, when the Iron Curtain at last fell.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Budapest: The Stalingrad of the Waffen SS 17 Jun 2013
By lynG - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found the subject matter very interesting. My only complaint was that it had too many pictures & not enough text. There's not a lot out there about the battle for Budapest, especially from the German side, as so few of them survived the battle or Soviet captivity to give us their stories. Though I am not a Nazi, my admiration for the tenacious fighting qualities of the two SS cavalry divisions that fought there remains high. Both divisional commanders chose to die fighting, rather than surrender, as Wehrmact Field Marshal Paulus & General Seydlitz-Kurzbach did at Stalingrad.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Quality Product, Lacks Quality Writing and Historical Accuracy 31 Aug 2013
By D. Williams III - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The 2 star review is in no way a review of the publisher's product itself. The book is well made, a good portable size, and the paper and print quality are superior to most paperbacks. The text is easy to read, and the pictures are numerous throughout the book.

My issue comes with the written material. I enjoy studying the Eastern Front conflict of WW2 and I was excited to find a book on a less well published topic for English readers. Given that this is labeled as a historical book, I expected to read about facts not biased opinions and speculation. The book is completely lacking in any effort to cover the Soviet side of the conflict. I would be less concerned with this bit if the German/Hungarian portion had been covered in depth. Instead, the author strings together a lose timetable of events, with no supporting facts or citations. He offers quotes and statistics with no supporting material and constantly reminds the reader of how glorious the SS defenders of Budapest were, and how monstrous the Red Horde descending on the city was.

I did not want to read an ideological debate on which side was 'rightous', but dehumanzing the Soviet forces erodes the credibility of this work. As another reviewer said, the book is written on what I would consider a 10th grade reading level. I too was able to complete the book in one sitting. The ease of the read was refreshing, but the clear biased nature of the author ruined it for me. I was compelled to finish reading the book for completion sake, but in no way did I feel that I was reading historically acurate information.

I can't recommend this book on the simple ground that it can not be viewed as a reliable source of information. I am sure wikipedia probably covers this topic with more depth and accuracy anyhow.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Short, useless maps, biased, and the text is so awful it's unreadable 20 Dec 2013
By Hexameron - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of the worst WWII books I've read in years, I couldn't wait to put this down forever. Richard Landwehr is an irresponsible historian and laughably poor writer. He has cobbled together an unreadable mess of what should be a tautly dramatic account of a monumental battle in the annals of the Waffen-SS. Of the 177 pages, roughly 90 is comprised of actual text. The rest is blurry photo reproductions and blank pages.

The five maps in this book offer little utility for the reader and none of them relate to the text. They're low-quality facsimiles that give no indication of troop movements, counter-attacks, towns, roads, and hills that Landwehr describes. Try understanding this without a map: "Along the Danube opposite the north point of Margarethen Island to the church 500 meters west of Hill 300, then due west of Zoeldmal to the north of Hill 259 including the Orban and Sas Hills, then to the rail and road crossing at Horthy Miklos Street before returning back to the Danube." That's a typical sentence in this book.

Other reviewers keep saying this book is an easy read. No. Easy reading is Max Hastings and Antony Beevor. Landwehr is torture to read because he's 1) tediously dry and 2) conveys giddiness and bias for the subject that I found distasteful.

Landwehr is drier than stale bread. He describes military maneuvers in such a tepid and wooden fashion that he might as well quote battlefield reports in full. Actually, he does that at one point. And it meshes well with his dull summaries, an example being: "The 12th Hungarian Infantry Division was subordinated to the 13th Panzer Division while 1st Hungarian Armored Division was sent to IV Panzer Corps." Only once or twice does the narrative get interesting and that's when he quotes powerful first-hand accounts from SS soldiers. These accounts told me more about the siege in one page than Landwehr accomplishes in a chapter. Another annoyance is that Landwehr never abbreviates or offers shorthand for division names. Every time the Florian Geyer division is mentioned, you will have to read its full appellation: "8th SS Cavalry Division 'Florian Geyer'".

When he's not dull and pedantic, Landwehr is engaged in chauvinistic bias against the Soviets, zeal for the righteous cause of the SS defenders, and immature off-hand remarks. Landwehr routinely refers to the Soviets as "communists" and "Reds". He casually describes Red Army operations as a "communist onslaught" (p. 12) or "Red tide" (p. 13). He says, "It is to be hoped that [the Waffen-SS defenders] be remembered for all time by those of us who still live free from the communist tyranny they fought against!" Landwehr goes so far as to claim this: "because of their [Waffen-SS] actions the world is a little better place today than it would have been had the city been evacuated or surrendered." This is totally baseless speculation that no responsible historian would argue without evidence or reasonable analysis.

Equally irritating is Landwehr's amateur enthusiasm (often using exclamation points) and exaggerations of the "valiant" defense of the SS divisions. Examples of his hyperbole: "Disaster was staved off by hard work and courageous counter-measures on the part of the German divisions." "With super elan the SS men charged into the enemy positions..." (p. 84) "The defenders of the city were putting up an awesome resistance." (p. 89) "...haggard defenders still fought on...displaying unfathomable courage and tenacity." (p. 117). Landwehr also digresses into sophomoric story-telling, in one instance virtually giggling over an SS officer receiving a shrapnel wound to the buttocks.

Bottom line: Landwehr is one of the worst writers on the Waffen-SS, perhaps even of all WWII monographs I've ever come across. I actually pined for Rupert Butler and Bruce Quarrie. You're better off reading the chapter on the Siege of Budapest in Great Battles of the Waffen-SS. And if you're looking for depth, read these instead: The Siege of Budapest: One Hundred Days in World War II; Tomb of the Panzerwaffe: The Defeat of the Sixth SS Panzer Army in Hungary 1945.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More Horrific Catastrophe than Romantic Heroism 1 May 2014
By Rob Fitzgibbon - Published on Amazon.com
Read Budapest: The Stalingrad of the Waffen-SS if you're interested in little Waffen-SS detail nuggets, but note that Landwehr's whole point is to paint the siege of Budapest as a Waffen-SS Thermopylae and portray the troops of the IX SS Corps as heros. It is biased and unbalanced and deliberately ignores the catastrophic collapse of the German defenses in the city.

A far more scholarly, more readable, and more balanced book on the Budapest siege is Krisztian Ungvary's "The Siege of Budapest"
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