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Stalingrad [Paperback]

Antony Beevor
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (195 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 May 1999
This is a timely analysis and re-creation of the turning point of World War II. In October 1942, a panzer officer wrote "Stalingrad is no longer a town...Animals flee this hell; the hardest stones cannot bear it for long; only men endure". The battle became the focus of Hitler and Stalin's determination to win the gruesome, vicious war on the eastern front. The citizens of Stalingrad endured unimaginable hardship; the battle, with fierce hand to hand fighting in each room of each building, was brutally destructive to both armies. But the eventual victory of the Red Army, and the failure of Hitler's Operation Barbarossa was the first defeat of Hitler's territorial ambitions in Europe, and the start of his decline. An extraordinary story of tactical genius, civilian bravery, obsession, carnage and the nature of war itself, "Stalingrad" will act as a testament to the vital role of the soviet war effort.


Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (6 May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140249850
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140249859
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.6 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (195 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 311,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Antony Beevor was educated at Winchester and Sandhurst, where he studied under John Keegan. A regular officer with the 11th Hussars, he left the Army to write. He has published four novels, and ten books of non-fiction. His work has appeared in more than thirty foreign editions. His books include The Spanish Civil War; Inside the British Army; Crete -- The Battle and the Resistance, which was awarded a Runciman Prize, and Paris After the Liberation, 1944-1949 (written with his wife Artemis Cooper). He has also contributed to several books including The British Army, Manpower and Society into the Twenty-First Century, edited by Hew Strachan and to Russia - War, Peace & Diplomacy in honour of the late John Erickson.
Stalingrad, first published in 1998, won the first Samuel Johnson Prize, the Wolfson Prize for History and the Hawthornden Prize for Literature in 1999. The British edition was a number one bestseller in both hardback and paperback. Berlin - The Downfall 1945, published in 2002, was accompanied by a BBC Timewatch programme on his research into the subject. It has been a No. 1 Bestseller in seven countries as well as Britain, and in the top five in another nine countries. The book received the first Longman-History Today Trustees' Award.
In May 2004, he published The Mystery of Olga Chekhova, which describes the experiences of the Chekhov and Knipper families from before the Russian revolution until after the Second World War. His Russian research assistant Dr Lyubov Vinogradova and he edited and translated the war time papers of the novelist Vasily Grossman, published in September 2005 as A Writer at War - Vasily Grossman with the Red Army 1941-1945.
He has also published a completely revised edition of his 1982 history of the Spanish Civil War, with a great deal of new material from Spanish sources and foreign archives. This came out in Spain in September 2005 as La guerra civil española where it became the No.1 Bestseller and received the La Vanguardia prize for non-fiction. It appeared in English in spring, 2006, as The Battle for Spain - The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939. It has been a top ten bestseller in eight countries.
D-Day - The Battle for Normandy, published in June 2009, has been a No 1 Bestseller in seven countries, including the UK and France, and in the top ten in another eight countries. It has received the Prix Henry Malherbe in France and the Duke of Westminster Medal from the Royal United Services Institute.
His most recent book, The Second World War, published in June 2012, is being translated into twenty-one languages. It has already been a No 1 bestseller in Britain and four other countries, and a bestseller in another four. Altogether, more than five million copies of his books have been sold.
Antony Beevor was made a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 1997 and in 2008 was awarded the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana by the President of Estonia. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1999. He was the 2002-2003 Lees-Knowles lecturer at Cambridge. In 2003, he received the first Longman-History Today Trustees' Award. He is also Visiting Professor at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck College, University of London. In September 2003, he succeeded Philip Pullman as Chairman of the Society of Authors and handed over to Helen Dunmore in September, 2005. He has received honorary degrees of Doctor of Letters from the University of Kent and the University of Bath. He was a judge of the British Academy Book Prize and the David Cohen Prize in 2004, and is a member of the Samuel Johnson Prize steering committee. He is married to the writer and biographer Artemis Cooper and they have a daughter Nella and a son Adam.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Hitler made two fundamental and crippling mistakes during the Second World War. The first was his whimsical belief that the United Kingdom would eventually become his ally, which delayed his decision to launch a major invasion of Britain, whose army was unprepared for the force of blitzkrieg warfare. The second was the ill-conceived Operation Barbarossa--an invasion of Russia that was supposed to take the German army to the gates of Moscow. Antony Beevor's thoughtfully researched compendium recalls this epic struggle for Stalingrad. No-one, least of all the Germans, could foretell the deep well of Soviet resolve that would become the foundation of the Red Army; Russia, the Germans believed, would fall as swiftly as France and Poland. The ill-prepared Nazi forces were trapped in a bloody war of attrition against the Russian behemoth, which held them in the pit of Stalingrad for nearly two years. Beevor points out that the Russians were by no means ready for the war either, making their stand even more remarkable; Soviet intelligence spent as much time spying on its own forces--in fear of desertion, treachery and incompetence--as they did on the Nazis. Due attention is also given to the points of view of the soldiers and generals of both forces, from the sickening battles to life in the gulags.

Many believe Stalingrad to be the turning point of the war. The Nazi war machine proved to be fallible as it spread itself too thin for a cause that was born more from arrogance than practicality. The Germans never recovered, and its weakened defences were no match for the Allied invasion of 1944. We know little of what took place in Stalingrad or its overall significance, leading Beevor to humbly admit that "[t]he Battle of Stalingrad remains such an ideologically charged and symbolically important subject that the last word will not be heard for many years". This is true. But this gripping account should become the standard work against which all others should measure themselves. --Jeremy Storey

Review

A superb re-telling. Beevor combines a soldier's understanding of war's realities with the narrative techniques of a novelist . . . This is a book that lets the reader look into the face of battle (Orlando Figes Sunday Telegraph)

A brilliantly researched tour de force of military history (Sarah Bradford The Times) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Stalingrad is a superb book. Before reading it I had no knowledge of the eastern front, but Antony Beevor's account has compelled me to find out more. The book not only provides a full account of the battle, but an overview of Operation Barbarossa and the strategy in southern Russia. The books main triumph lies in its ability to relate the story from both the German and Russian perspectives of the battle, from an ordinary soldier's point of view as well as the Generals and of course Stalin and Hitler. The author's use of different sources is unbelievable, although I think it could have done with a few more personal accounts - but this is a very minor gripe. With violence portrayed on TV so much, you might think we have been made unshockable (if thats a word) towards war stories, but I definately felt sickened by what I read in this book, especially towards the end with the subjugation of the Sixth Army. It may be that the Stalingrad story is just so unbelievable that it makes this book stand out, but Beevor is as competent an author as any in helping the reader truly understand. Stalingrad is the definitve account of the most momentous event of W.W.2.
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stalingrad - Turning Point of World War II? 1 Feb 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is probably one of the best I've read about WWII and one of the most accessible. It brings to life the futility of war and the insanity of both Hitler and Stalin. In these pages - their disregard for the lives of their soldiers is brought brilliantly to life. I didn't want to put the book down!
Operation Barbarossa proved to be one of the key turning points of World War II. This book provides the perspective to understand so much of what happened and why. Hitlers inability to trust his generals and their lack of courage in acting against him becomes clear through the actions of the high command at Stalingrad. Through Anthony Beevors descriptions of the sacrifice of the Sixth Army you find yourself asking the question - what would have happened if the British army at Dunkirk had received similar suicidal orders ?
The stories of horror and courage at Stalingrad are numerous but the book never descends into cheap emotion and always maintains it's objectivity. It helps you understand the military and political machinations during the battle - empathising without being partisan.
It's stunning to learn the level of callousness displayed by both Stalin and the German army towards ordinary Russian soldiers during and after the campaign. The bravery of all the ordinary participants but espeically the average Russian soldiers and civillians cries out to you. This book astounded me with the portrayal of the human capacity to overcome adversity - it inspired me and made me cry. It'll help you understand not only Stalingrad but also beyond. It gave me an insight into both the Russian people during WWII and the events during the Russian advance through Germany. Read it!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 3 Oct 2007
Format:Paperback
Great book, brilliantly written. I believe this book set the patch for history / war books to follow. If you like WWII history, yoy must own this one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
The author does a good job of conveying the descent into the horror and despair of Stalingrad. When the Axis offensive started, the confident German ground troops waved happily to the supporting Stukas overhead, who acknowledged the gesture by switching on their sirens.
Within a few months, and despite the Soviet commissars' propensity for slaughtering their own side - some 15,000 were executed for acts of "treason", such as failing to dissuade one's comrades from retreating - the shivering, lice-ridden Germans started to die, unwounded in battle, of cold, hunger, sleep deprivation, and despair.
Even with defeat, the ordeal was not over; not until 1956 was the last surviving German PoW released.
In a gleaming white city on the Volga, the forces of Nazism and Communism jointly created a little terrestrial Hell. Beevor achieves the near-impossible here: he actually makes you feel just a little sorry for the Germans who went there, never to return.
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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Staggering 26 Nov 2007
Format:Paperback
I have read and re-read this book because of its brilliance. It is chilling but very very accessible. The humanity and inhumanity is so well written that it appears almost to be a work of fiction. You do not need to be an avid war historian to enjoy this book as I found most of the interesting parts to be on the day to day life in the kessel and the slow ebbing away of all hope that the 6th army would be saved. The letters home are particularly sad, many were found in a mail sack of a plane that was shot down by the Russians.

This book should be used in schools to highlight the desperation and reality of war.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding book 1 Dec 2007
Format:Paperback
Beevor has succeeded in weaving a compelling, thoroughly researched piece of work documenting one of the darkest periods in modern history. The enormity of catastrophe that befalls first the Soviet citizen and Red Army following Germany's invasion, right through to the encirclement and starvation of the German Sixth Army, are described in a riveting (and sobering) detail. The earlier chapters of the book deal with the events that lead to the battle of Stalingrad, although obviously in much less detail than the battle itself (or else the book would span volumes). Where the book really shines, is it's readability - Beevor has the rare qualities of being both an expert historian and a storyteller at the height of his powers. He skilfully interweaves political events, battles, enormous acts of cruelty, military incompetence and personal suffering with staggering acts of heroism and self sacrifice. One of the best books I have ever read - and one that highlights why worlds should be moved to prevent war.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Looks good at a glance through
Not read yet. Looks good at a glance through.
Published 2 days ago by Gerry Swift
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent and chilling book
This tells a complicated story in a vivid and engaging way. An incredible achievement which I thoroughly enjoyed. Really great
Published 17 days ago by James Crawford
3.0 out of 5 stars The Youth of Today
The Youth of Today do not, on any level, understand the sacrifices their forefathers made to keep them in good shoes, clean books and away from wars, which is why I bought this... Read more
Published 20 days ago by D'Bruno
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing material he has been able to draw on
Rigorous, in depth account. Amazing material he has been able to draw on. Not quite sure how well he integrates the first hand accounts into the wider narrative. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Jim Jim Josiah
4.0 out of 5 stars Least us not forget......
What a gripping read......Saw this book, on holiday ,and thought it be a good read, although it taken a while. Horrific account of what happened, and the struggle to survive. Read more
Published 1 month ago by jayne westwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary
One of the best historical books I have ever read. No other book I have read comes anywhere near to describing the conditions in Stalingrad in 1941-1943
Published 2 months ago by Ashley Scorah
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling
If that is what is was like I am glad I wasn't there. Beevor moves easily from overall strategy to soldier's eye view to produce an informative and very interesting work. Read more
Published 2 months ago by jumac
4.0 out of 5 stars a great read. kept me going in a hospital stay
A bit confusing sometimes with all the army references to various divisions on both sides, but very readable despite this.
Published 3 months ago by Wombleman
4.0 out of 5 stars Epic Book for Epic events
Antony Beevor has made a name for himself as the writer of in depth books on two of the key battles of WW2 Stalingrad, Berlin. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Paul redmonkey
4.0 out of 5 stars Searing
I have only given the book four stars because I cannot relate to 'loving' such a book. It is nevertheless compelling, to say the very least. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Andy Graham, Truro
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