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Notes of a Russian Sniper: Vassili Zaitsev and the Battle of Stalingrad [Hardcover]

Vassili Zaitsev
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
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Book Description

30 Jun 2010
As a sniper, I ve killed more than a few Nazis. I have a passion for observing enemy behaviour. You watch a Nazi officer come out of a bunker, acting all high and mighty, ordering his soldiers every which way, and putting on an air of authority. The officer hasn t got the slightest idea that he only has seconds to live. Vassili Zaitsev s account of the hell that was Stalingrad is moving and harrowing. This was a battle to the death fighting street by street, brick by brick, living like rats in a desperate struggle to survive. Here, the rules of war were discarded and a psychological war was being waged. In this environment, the sniper was king an unseen enemy who frayed the nerves of brutalised soldiers. Zaitsev volunteered to fight at Stalingrad in 1942. His superiors recognized quickly his talent, and made him a sniper. He adapted his hunting skills to the ruins of the city, watching his prey with nerves of steel. In his first 10 days, Zaitsev killed 40 Germans. He achieved at least 225 kills and the tactics he developed are still being studied. Zaitsev was used a symbol of Russian resistance against the Nazis. His exploits, including a famous duel with a Nazi sniper, remain the stuff of legend. His account is absorbing to anyone interested in World War II and seeing how one person could survive in the most extreme of conditions.

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Notes of a Russian Sniper: Vassili Zaitsev and the Battle of Stalingrad + Sniper on the Eastern Front
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 193 pages
  • Publisher: Frontline Books; 1st edition (30 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848325657
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848325654
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.3 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 144,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Read 20 July 2010
This book isn't just about killing Nazi's, nor is it a book about the heroics of Stalin and his Red Army. It's the harrowing tale of one man's experiences in the mother of all battles, where retreat wasn't an option.

Zaitsev's prose and the translation is superb and makes this book a page-flipping good read. There's no bravado. No Communist rhetoric. Just 100% honesty.

For those who've seen the film 'Enemy at the Gates' and want to read the real facts from the horses mouth. Buy (or read) this transcript. Books don't come any better!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant!!! 13 July 2010
By MrJames
What can i say but wow. This book had me hooked from the first to the last word, i couldn't put it down. The detail of the accounts that vassali Zaitsev gives makes you believe you are right there with him, whether it be duelling a german sniper or being buried alive by artilllery strikes.

A must read if you enjoyed "Sniper on the Eastern Front: The Memoirs of Sepp Allerberger" or "Red Army Sniper on the Eastern Front: The Memoirs of Joseph Pilyushin "
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sniperism at its best! 9 Mar 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've read this book in a day. Absolutely fascinating, written by one of the world's most celebrated WWII snipers:Vassili Zaitsev.

Zaitsev had received very basic education in his early life, yet his writting is simple and to the point, depicting cinematographically the dire developments, mortal combats and tragic reality of life in the Stallingrad ruins.

Do not expect to read the script of "Enemy at the gates" here and perhaps one should ignore some Soviet propagandistic features that are obvious in parts of the book. If you are interested in getting a good description of what war was for a Red Army soldier and particularly a sniper, I recommend you read this book with an open mind.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The book is a great addition to any library with a military interest. Unlike so many books written about Stalingrad this one has a much more honest feel to it and that shows through. The emotions and devotion to his country are clearly visible throughout. An amazingly insightful read written by a truly incredible individual.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Humble account of true heroism 26 Dec 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I own many books about WW2; the personal accounts are always the best. I found this book an insightful account of the mind of s sniper and the battle for Stalingrad. The Nazi's loss at Stalingrad was the turning point in the war and Zaitsev played a key role in demoralising the Germans which lead to their ultimate defeat. The tactics, mind games, patience, intelligence and bravery really stands out. What impressed me the most was just how humble he was and didn't seek glory for himself but trained other snipers and fought for the greater cause.

The one observation was how much Zaitsev loved his country. This is an honourable thing and he hated the fact that the Germans (who he classed all as Nazis) had attacked his country. However, he never mentioned the fact that Russia invaded Poland and were in league with the Nazis beforehand. I want to give Zaitsev the benefit of the doubt that he might have not known too much about it since he grew up in the Urals and was posted to the east before volunteering for the front. It poses the question, he if was Polish, what would he think of the Russians? If he did know, the way he talks he would have naively agreed with any Soviet policy. This takes nothing away from him as a man, a soldier, a patriot and someone who wanted to stop evil at any cost. A very honest and passionate read from start the finish.
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4.0 out of 5 stars View from a target shooter 11 Jun 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having put down William Craig's 'Enemy at the Gates' I found a note of Zaitsev's book in the bibliography and devoured it fairly quickly.
Whilst I appreciate that some readers will find the fact that he was writing from the point of view of a party member unpalatable, this did not particularly jar with me, taking into account the aggressiveness of the German war machine and the constant toll on soldiers and civilians alike. This was his contribution to the 'Great Patriotic War' after all!
From the point of view of a marksman then I can express nothing but admiration for Zaitsev. Take it from me, hitting the mark at distances of 200 up to 1000 yards with a carefully calibrated cartridge, a modern target rifle and a high powered 'scope, and a bipod or rest, whilst lying on a grassy bank, is no picnic. As far as I know, Zaitsev had the luxury of a Mosin Nagant service rifle, issue ammunition, an indifferent scope, hunger and discomfort and return fire (or worse). If you doubt this perspective then pop down to Bisley and try it sometime.
An interesting man and a good read.
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By Tyreman
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
YES, a very enjoyable read, right up from his childhood in the backcountry to his introduction to the navy and subsquently onto the front lines with his rifle.
The book was well put together and all aspects tied in well to make a very enjoyable read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good read 25 April 2014
By /
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having seen the film "Enemy at the Gates" this book, on which it is based, is a good first hand account of the conditions Vassili faced during the siege of Stalingrad in WW2
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good
Published 2 months ago by G Hair
5.0 out of 5 stars Enemy at the gates - The true story
This tells the story of the Russian sniper Vassili Zaitsev. If you loved the film then please read this... Read more
Published 8 months ago by D
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended
A riveting read ... I started reading this in a car park before a training course ... went back to the car park during the lunch break and finished it before I went to sleep the... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Tony King
2.0 out of 5 stars Short, lacks detail, and too often reads like pro-Communist...
Ive read many books regarding the War on the Eastern front - a hobby that I started about 15 years ago when I first read Anthony Beevors absolutely excellent 'Stalingrad'. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Chief.
5.0 out of 5 stars A different perspective
After viewing the movie enemy at the gates which was supposed to cover much of Vassili Zaitsev's storey I found his own storey to be vastly different but very interesting.
Published 15 months ago by wermates
5.0 out of 5 stars Great lifestory.
Good book! Much better report of his life than in the movie. Great homage to his life. Very good book.
Published 16 months ago by Nuno Gouveia
5.0 out of 5 stars best book ever!
if your interested in the great patriotic war,snipers or just a good read, then this book is for you!
trust me, you wont be disappointed
Published 19 months ago by connor palfrey
4.0 out of 5 stars Notes of a Russian Sniper
A good book, going into the background of Zaitsev and how he came to be in Stalingrad and became a sniper. Read more
Published 21 months ago by H. T. I. Anson
5.0 out of 5 stars Notes of a Russian Sniper
If you've seen 'Enermy at the Gate' with Jude Law - forget it, read this account from the Vassilis' point of view with no political spin. Read more
Published on 10 Jan 2012 by 2.8iman
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