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Moscow 1941: A City & Its People at War: A City and Its People at War Hardcover – 6 Apr 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books; First Edition edition (6 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 186197759X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861977595
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 4.1 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 244,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

engrossing and masterly account...this is a significant contribution to our understanding of the Great Patriotic War (The Independent)

In the grim roster of battles, Moscow has always been overshadowed by Stalingrad....Rodric Braithwaite's epic history, skilfully drawing on the experiences of ordinary Russians, goes a long way to setting the record straight. (Sunday Telegraph)

Extraordinary story. (Simon Mayo Radio Five)

Braithwaite...has written the best history book of the year so far. (Sunday Herald)

With great skill, he maintains tension throughout this sinewy, moving and consummately crafted history of the soviet union's darkest hours...it is the stuff of epics. (Glasgow Herald)

A vivid picture of the stark and bloody struggle for national survival with which Russia's war began. (Economist)

Braithwaite...retells the story with verve and compassion. (The Guardian)

an impressive account (Financial Times)

It is remarkable to find new material, new insights and even fresh revealing reflections on Stalin (The Tribune)

dramatic and frightening reading (Daily Express)

a masterful account (Times)

an outstanding book...these accounts provide a fascinating insight not only into the war but also into Soviet society. (THES)

a splendid read, full of interesting material, and essential for anyone trying to understand the Russians...and the war they fought and won at such a great cost (BBC History Magazine)

one of the most overlooked moments in history...the strength of Moscow 1941 lies in its eye for detail, the snapshots of everyday life that set the scene (Observer)

Together with his remarkably clear, concise style...and his empathy with the people, he achieves a graphic vividness which puts this book on a level with Beevor's (Mail on Sunday (5 stars))

a remarkable epic, vividly portrayed (Sunday Telegraph)

vibrant and humane portrait of a remarkable city in the face of a terrible enemy. He has succeeded triumphantly in restoring the Battle for Moscow to its proper place in history (Daily Telegraph)

a real taste of people's history...he allows them to tell their stories of comradeship, inventiveness, hunger and horror (New Statesman)

A heartbreaking and thrilling story of peerless heroism and misery on a barely imaginable scale...the reader staggers from laughter to tears, while never forgetting that blood is flowing. (Simon Sebag Montefiore Daily Mail)

a wide-ranging and excellent account...Braithwaite never shirks the terrible truths (Antony Beevor Sunday Times)

About the Author

Sir Rodric Braithwaite was British Ambassador in Moscow during the fall of the Soviet Union. He has also been Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee. He lives in London. Click here to visit the author's website.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Girth VINE VOICE on 29 Sept. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Visiting Moscow on the way to the airport I surprised the Intourist guide asking if I could stop the bus. I wanted to see the monument marking the point at which the Germans got closet to Moscow. She was puzzled "You are interested in that?" Yes, I have always been fascinated in twentieth century Russian history, politics, economics and society - events on an enormous scale and the enigma that is the Russian spirit. It is really hard to write a dull book about Russia, "Moscow 1941" isn't but you have to look at the subtitle "A City and Its People at War" to appreciate what Rodric Braithwaite is writing about.

This is a not hard-core military account, it is more a social commentary. Moscow is never going to have the impact of Stalingrad or siege of Leningrad (900 days, 1 million died). But "by one measure- the number of people involved -the battle for Moscow was the greatest battle in the Second World War therefore the greatest battle in history." Although 926,000 were killed this is more than the battle for Moscow as the armies of the centre manoeuvred. The city was never taken; it was in danger for a comparatively short period (effectively out of the front line by December 1941) and bombed less intensively than London. Moscow had enormous importance to the Soviet economy, with a huge concentration of war industries so for the Germans it's capture was more than symbolic. The city did suffer; living under a totalitarian communist regime as well as enduring the German invasion. At the most critical of times there were purges and self-inflicted cruelty - business as usual for the secret police.

Braithwaite provides a wider perspective on communist Russia. I can appreciate it might be seen as tangential having little to do with Moscow in 1941.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on 18 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read a few versions of the Battle of Moscow and I can honestly say that this is the best . Highly recommended.It fully describes the build up with the scene set from both sides , accurate portrayal of those involved in the Kremlin alongside the soldiers and the people who lived in Moscow at the time . If Stalin had lost this battle , which was immense , then it is probably that germany and Hitler would have won the war in the East , which of course was Hitler`s intention and target all the time following the defeat of Poland followed by the rapid fall oif France and the Low Countries.Broderrick Braithewait , the author , lived in Moscow as our ambassador is a Russiam history expert and admirer of the Russian people has , in my opinion , wriiten the definitive account of the momentous events which took place in Moscow 1941 perhaps the pivotal year of WW2 in many ways.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. C. Gilbert VINE VOICE on 3 May 2006
Format: Hardcover
The most interesting aspect of Braithwaite's excellent account of the momentous battle for Moscow is the way he manages to get "inside" the Russian people to an extent that I have never before witnessed. From his evocative introductory history of the city, through the numerous glimpses into the individual, human consequences of the war and onto the details of the battle and its aftermath, the book is a triumph. The Russian people are represented neither as cowed automatons bent under Stalin's will (indeed, the pages heave with accounts of dissent) nor simply as numberless masses streaming from Siberia westwards to overwhelm and crush the Nazis. There's a lot more understanding of the "Asiatic soul" of the Russian people, of their relationship to their land, to their religion and to their western neighbours, which gives the book far more depth and warmth than the usual "weight of numbers under a cruel dictator" response to the "why" of the Russian victory.

The battle for Moscow is little-known since it was subjected to a media black-out by the Soviets, and Braithwaite easily repositions it up with Stalingrad as the biggest and possibly the most important of the War. An absolute delight to read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Hopper TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 May 2009
Format: Paperback
The quote on the front cover by Simon Sebag Montefiore "a heartbreaking and thrilling story of peerless heroism and misery on a barely imaginable scale" sums it up perfectly. The author's account is a perfect mixture of military, political and social history, enlivened vastly by the interviews conducted with ordinary survivors about their experiences and those of their families and comrades who died. 5/5
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By D. Harris TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Jun. 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book presents the battle for Moscow in 1941 through interviews, diaries and other accounts from participants, both civilians and combatants (a distinction, as soon becomes clear, that is very blurred) on the Soviet side. It is a fascinating story of cruelty, courage - and of sheer obstinacy on the part of the defenders in a battle which has not so far had the recognition it deserves.

Braithwaite presents enough of the wider context, and eschews enough detail, to make it clear what was happening. (I do think that a few more maps would have helped, though). He also sets out the evidence in a number of areas that are still controversial, and shows how the changing politics of Russia, and the need in some quarters to discredit the former regime, have opened up areas to debate, and led to new interpretations, sometimes to the indignation of the veterans.

At the centre of the book is, of course, Stalin and his leadership. The effects of this - the cruelty and the waste, but also Stalin's role in stiffening resistenace - are made plain, but the book keeps its focus on the battle rather than being side tracked into a more general assessment of Stalin and his role in the war.

In the end, the impression the book left me was of the Russian people, defending their country quite literally "at all costs", not because of but despite the regime (and to the surprise of those, on both sides, who thought that revulsion at that regime would lead them to welcome the invader - a lesson the current crop of Western political leaders have disregarded) .

The outcomes of particular historical controversies, and the crimes of the regime, can take nothing away from their courage and sacrifice, which this book documents well.
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