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Russia's Heroes 1941-1945 [Hardcover]

Albert Axell
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

28 Jun 2001
Nazi Germany threw men and equipment against Russia in unprecedented numbers in World War II. This is the story of the ordinary and extraordinary men and women soldiers of Russia: the snipers who engaged in duels in No Man's Land; Cossack cavalry regiments crossing the ice at night to raid ammunition dumps; pilots out of ammunition using their propellers to cut off the tailplanes of enemy aircraft; and more. Using interviews and primary evidence collected in Russia, Albert Axell tells the story of the Eastern Front as it unfolded, interweaving his accounts of individual exploits with the progress of the war itself.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 279 pages
  • Publisher: Constable; 1st Edition edition (28 Jun 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841193127
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841193120
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 302,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'...engrossing and at times quite moving.' -- Financial Times

'...gripping, poignant...' -- The Spectator

'Axell has spoken to many survivors of the battles and uses their testimony to create a highly readable account of the Eastern Front.' -- News Letter, Northern Ireland

About the Author

Albert Axell was born in New England in 1942. He studied history, philosophy and economics at the University of Wisconsin and later worked as a reporter in Alabama, Virginia and Ohio. While in Japan, he was a regular contributor to The Economist and other magazines.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but lightweight 17 Feb 2006
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This was not quite the book I expected.
Some of the tales about individuals are OK but others leave a lot to be desired. I was probably looking for something a bit deeper and what I got was a book which seemed to scratch at the surface.
There seems to be an absence of 'first' hand accounts (perhaps with the passage of time there was no one left to give them) and I felt that the book comprised a collection of cobbled together sketchy 'fifth' hand accounts of actual events with very little background.
Definitely not a book for the serious reader but if you want an easy read and some basic information on the bravery of a number of individuals from different arms of the Russian military it's OK.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring 9 Oct 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
A book packed full of the personal and collective sacrifices and endurance of the Soviet Forces and People in the Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany.
The author relates accounts of incredible courage and valour but also heartbreaking stories of fortitude and suffering, none more so than that of a mother losing her 9 nine sons in combat. He conveys the stoicism and determination of the Soviets to withstand and eventually overcome the Germans despite the cost involved.
This book pays tribute to the unbreakable spirit of the individual to battle against and surmount overwhelming obstacles, both physically and mentally, in the most terrible of circumstances.
This book is a little gem which will inspire and leave you full of admiration for the Soviets who endured the sufferings of the war on the Eastern Front
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and inspirational 14 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback
Very inspiring real life stories of the valour and sacrifice of the Russian people during the Great Patriotic War against the Nazi monstrosity that invaded their motherland in 1941.
Recalling the heroism and great losses in such battles as Smolensk, Stalingrad, Leningrad Moscow, and the narratives of many heroes and heroines who helped save the world for the Nazi evil.
As much as I despise the Marxist-Leninist system and the tyranny of Joseph Stalin, I greatly admire the resolve and courage of the Russian people in defeating the ultimate evil of Nazi terror. This was a war of the Russian people for the defence of their motherland, not a Communist war. Patriotism and love for Rodina (the Russian birth land)-when in extremity mean readiness to die when the Motherland-are verifiable features of the Russian character.
As was seen in the valiant defence of Russia by it's people in 1812 when an earlier tyrant, Napoleon. had tried to invade and ravage their homeland.

Three days after the Nazi invasion of Russia The London Times of the 25 June 1941 published a letter from Prince Vsevolode, nephew of the last Tsar Nicholas II who was executed by the Bolsheviks, Vsevolode wrote " WE are fighting a common foe and whatever our differences in the past have been I feel that all Slav races should unite to rid the world of Nazism".

The great sacrifices and achievements helped reduce the casualties of the Western democracies- a great debt owed by the West to the Russian people.
This inspiring and exciting book celebrates the heroism of such brave people as the great aeroplane engineer Alexander Yakoklev , father of the famous Yak-1 and Yak-3 fighter planes.
Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Courage and Sacrifice 17 Oct 2001
By Chapulina R - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book contains a series of anecdotally-presented portraits of Soviet sacrifice and courage during the four years of War. When the immensely powerful German forces invaded on 22-June 1941, neither the Allies nor the Nazis believed that Russia could long endure. Hitler had stated at a conference of his generals that Russia was to be "annihilated", her cities and everyone within to be destroyed. No one expected the resolve of the people to resist and defend their land. Noted historian Albert Axell compiled many of these portraits of ordinary Soviet soldiers and their often extraordinary heroism from his personal interviews with veterans and/or their surviving families. Others derive from Western eye-witness sources and German military records. The end result is an apolitical collection, free from Soviet wartime hagiographics -- for the most part, that is. Included, notwithstanding, are the romanticized legends from frontline propaganda: teenaged partisan Zoya Kosmodem'yanskaya's patriotic exhortations following her unspeakable torture, and sniper Vasiliy Zaitsev's duel with the German master-shooter. But the majority of the narratives are straight-forward, unembellished recollections. Also featured are biographies of less famous but no less proficient snipers Lyudmila Pavlichenko, Fyodor Okhlopkov, and Nina Lobkovskaya. Here, too, are accounts of the defense of the Fortress of Brest, and anecdotes of civilian valor during the battle of Stalingrad and the blockade of Leningrad. Here are interviews with Nadya Popova, a pilot from an all-female bomber regiment; Alexei Mares'yev, a pilot who lost his legs but returned to fly with artificial limbs; and a few desperate aviators who survived "taran" (ramming) Luftwaffe planes. And here is the fate of Yakov Dzhugashvili, a POW disowned by his father, Josef Stalin. Among "Russia's Heroes" are representatives of a wide spectrum of Soviet citizens: Ukrainians, Georgians, Siberians, Eastern Asians, Cossack cavalrymen, and Jewish generals. As a daughter of a seaCaptain of the North Atlantic Convoys, I'm especially proud that Allied merchant mariners had been honored as Soviet heroes and are included in this book! In recent years many of the specific topics of Axell's research have been presented in greater depth, but "Russia's Heroes" provides a fast-paced and fascinating overall view of the human dimension on the Eastern Front.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Debt Owed To So Many 4 April 2011
By Randall Stephens - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
On my first visits to Russia I would occasionally encounter an elderly person who would mention American lend - lease contributions to the defense of the USSR during their youth, and they would say thanks.

As I read this amazing book, "Russia's Heroes, 1941-445" by Albert Axell the feelings of debt and gratitude to the selfless sacrifice of so many "Soviet" men, women and children deepened.

From the defense of Brest to the "Night Witches" flying Polikarpov biplanes at Novorossisk, to the sniper wars and the memory families lost to the murderous Nazi horde - I will never forget to thank those who did not turn back and fought to their last breath for freedom, life and ultimate liberty at such a horrible cost.

Thank YOU!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and gripping 14 Nov 2012
By Gary Selikow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Very inspiring real life stories of the valour and sacrifice of the Russian people during the Great Patriotic War against the Nazi monstrosity that invaded their motherland in 1941.
Recalling the heroism and great losses in such battles as Smolensk, Stalingrad, Leningrad Moscow, and the narratives of many heroes and heroines who helped save the world for the Nazi evil.
As much as I despise the Marxist-Leninist system and the tyranny of Joseph Stalin, I greatly admire the resolve and courage of the Russian people in defeating the ultimate evil of Nazi terror. This was a war of the Russian people for the defence of their motherland, not a Communist war. Patriotism and love for Rodina (the Russian birth land)-when in extremity mean readiness to die when the Motherland-are verifiable features of the Russian character.
As was seen in the valiant defence of Russia by it's people in 1812 when an earlier tyrant, Napoleon. had tried to invade and ravage their homeland.

Three days after the Nazi invasion of Russia The London Times of the 25 June 1941 published a letter from Prince Vsevolode, nephew of the last Tsar Nicholas II who was executed by the Bolsheviks, Vsevolode wrote " WE are fighting a common foe and whatever our differences in the past have been I feel that all Slav races should unite to rid the world of Nazism".

The great sacrifices and achievements helped reduce the casualties of the Western democracies- a great debt owed by the West to the Russian people.
This inspiring and exciting book celebrates the heroism of such brave people as the great aeroplane engineer Alexander Yakoklev , father of the famous Yak-1 and Yak-3 fighter planes. The wonderful 'night witches' the young Russian women who put their lives in such peril to fly sorties against Nazi forces, bombing so close to the ground that they had to ensure the force of the blast form the ground did not hit their own planes. These women, such as the legendary Nadya Popova, craved the right to 'fight' and 'die' for their motherland.

Another heroic and special female fighter was the partisan girl, Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya wo embarked on raids and sabotage against the Nazis, After her capture, torture and execution by the SS, she was an inspiration to the heroism of the Russian people, and declared a hero of the Soviet Union.

The author describes the horrors and sacrifices suffered by the people during the siege of Leningrad, and the role played by soldiers of officers of the different nationalities such as the Cossack, Siberian and Jewish fighters.
An interesting chapter on the Russian soldiers stationed in Britain and their dalliances with local British girls. One naval officer Konstantin Lyumbimov enjoyed waltz with a stately lady later finding out it was none other than the Queen Elizabeth (wife of George VI, later the Queen mother) anyone interested in World War II or military history and the spirit of heroism and human sacrifice needs to read this enthralling real life narrative.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tough People 23 Dec 2003
By T. Corbett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is full of stories of brave men and women who fought a monstrous evil, did not whine about it, did not expect or ask for help.
They suffered dearly and were some of the bravest fighters ever.
Think of the Alamo defenders on a huge scale.
5.0 out of 5 stars A selection of tales of epic indurance of an entire people struggling against a terrible enemy 9 Jun 2013
By Gian C. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very interesting, moving and envolving manner to describe that war from the side of the people wich more contribuited to defeat the hitleriam nazism.
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