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Stalingrad: Memories and Reassessments (Cassell Military Paperbacks) [Paperback]

Heinrich Graf von Einsiedel , Joachim Wieder
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

14 Nov 2002 Cassell Military Paperbacks
Stalingrad in the Second World War has become a by-word for misplaced military endeavour - and courage, endurance, heroism beyond all human belief. Joachim Wieder survived the German collapse, and the subsequent years in Soviet captivity, to write his memoir of the battle in 1962. It was no routine account; he found it necessary to re-examine what motives drove the Germans on in the face of hopeless odds, why orders were issued that could only lead to certain death, the lies promulgated by high command, the whole morass of unjustified and pointless conflict. This is an absorbing evaluation of war, revised in 1993 in the light of later information on the battle, and available now in English for the first time. It was the first German book on Stalingrad to be published in the Soviet Union.


Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New Ed edition (14 Nov 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0304363383
  • ISBN-13: 978-0304363384
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 14.4 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 869,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Wieder was an orderly officer in Enemy Intelligence on the staff of VIII Army, well placed to contrast and compare Russian and German tactics. Comrade and friend of Wieder for fifty years, Heinrich Graf von Einsidel helped in the researching and updating of the later edition of STALINGRAD. Wieder was an orderly officer in Enemy Intelligence on the staff of VIII Army, well placed to contrast and compare Russian and German tactics.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book but too much "not my fault". 10 Sep 2012
By Ron
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A different view of Stalingrad. You get insight further into the German mindset. However, it was at times very much a defense of those people there being mislead by Hitler and Von Manstein. Still worth reading.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 29 Aug 2008
By Chris
Format:Paperback
I would highly recommend this book. Of 300,000 German soldiers trapped in the Stalingrad pocket only 91,000 were alive when they were finally overun by the Russians. Of these only 5000 made in back to Germany years after the war ended. The author was one of those survivors, who at the time was a junior officer. If you are aware of this particular battle, this book has plenty of fresh material to make it worth getting. If you have never heard of Stalingrad this is as good an introduction as any other. The fact that it was written by someone who was there makes it a powerful read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A difficult read 1 Mar 2009
Format:Paperback
This book is written in a style that seems to underline the extensive vocabulary of the author. If you are looking for an easy read to get some good, solid information on the Battle of Stalingrad then you might be better off looking elsewhere for it. This book, at times, makes for an intensely laboured read, consisting of lengthy, multi-layered sentences, some of which are 6 lines or more long. However, I am a relatively inexperienced reader which might offer at least some explanation for my hard time with this paperback.

If you are after good military information then, again, this book might not be the best. Any talk of fighting is on a very high, tactical level, seldom mentioning any individual's stories. The author seems keen to focus his attentions on the disastrously poor conditions and hardships the soldiers had to endure, which if course played a huge part in this conflict.

To summarise, read this if you are an accomplished reader wanting an insight into the terrible cold, lack of food and other difficulties from the point-of-view of the German soldier on the ground. If you want an entertaining read that doesn't seem like hard work, buy a different book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT BOOK 10 Sep 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book belongs on your bookshelf. Alongside you simply must have Joel Hayward, "Stopped at Stalingrad: The Luftwaffe and Hitler's Defeat in the East 1942-1943". These books give a tactical perspective and a strategic perspective. They therefore go hand in hand to give a complete picture.
This is a very nice book from reader's point of view. It reads like fiction, but it is not!
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best Synopsis of the Battle for Stalingrad 29 Jun 2003
By Jason Huckabee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Written from the perspective of an Intelligence Staff Officer, this book offers an outstanding blend of the perspective from the top as well as a more junior officer. Specific sections on von Manstein, von Seydlitz, and Paulus are also quite insightful. No matter what other fine books you have on Stalingrad, i.e. Beevor, definitely add this one to your collection.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stalingrad: Memories and Reassessments 2 July 2003
By Brian Weight - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I found this book to offer a different view
of von Manstein and von paulus than people
are used to. Written by someone who was
in the pocket of stalingrad, it offers
a first person view of the battle. For fans
of von manstein, the book offers a critical
and i thought a fresh view of the man, who is
held in high regard by most historians but not
so high by this officer in the sixth army.I found
book to be fast read. You'll enjoy it
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An additional research tool, not the definitive book. 29 Sep 2006
By J. A. Avid Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This was a dificult book for me to read, written in a very stiff style. Only about a quarter of the book is actually about the author's experience in Stalingrad and I felt the restricted manner of writing failed to bring out a feeling of being there for the reader. Other chapters in the book focus on analyzing Manstein's and other's analysis and actions pertaining to the battle. I was looking to feel and understand the horror and tactics of the battle, but instead found this work to be more of a philosophical discussion of the battle, the actions of Germany's wartime leaders, and other peripheral subjects. Any contribution by an actual veteran of the battle is welcome and thus the four stars I am awarding it. However, I was not engrossed in this work and could not even empathize with the author because of the detached style of writing.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for any intelligent discussion on Stalingrad 21 Mar 2012
By EndSieg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As the title implies, this book is divided into two parts, of roughly equal lengths:
1) the first part is the "Memories" of a survivor, Joachim Wieder, a "Staboffizier" in 8 Army corps (not the LI corps under von Seydlitz) who survived that horrific battle;
2) the second part is the "Reassessments", written by Wieder and Heinrich Graf von Einsiedel, where political, military and human responsibilities of the political and military commanders are analyzed and evaluated.

The "Memories" part is easy to read, in terms of words, not in terms of the description of the unconceivable suffering of 6th Army's (and others, such as part of 4th Panzer) troops. A striking statistic (from page 147, "reassessments") is the average flown in food of 6 tonnes/day or 20 grams of food per man per day (translated into English units, that's 0.7 ounce/day) during the first three weeks of the airlift!

The "Reassessments" part is more difficult to read as it evaluates the responsibilities of the commanders not simply from a military point of view, but also, and more importantly so, from an ethical (soldierly ethic and human ethic, intertwined but not identical) and psychological points of view. The Generals subjects of that analysis are:
a) General of Artillery Walther von Seydlitz-Kurzbach (a name of importance since the German defectors to the Soviets were routinely called the "Seydlitz Truppen") who commanded LI Corps, part of 6th Army;
b) General, Feldmarschall at the end of January 1942, Friedrich Paulus (not "von Paulus" as is regrettably found in many books and movies) commander of 6th Army, part of Army Group Don;
c) Feldmarschall Erich von Manstein, commander of Army Group Don, charged with the relief (and one has to be careful about the definition of that term) of the Volga front, while securing its northern flanks and the northern flanks of Army Group A to the south in the Caucasus;
d) The subordinate officers, especially Chiefs of Staff, of those CICs;
Hitler is of course evaluated but it runs like a thread through or leitmotiv common to the above analyses.

A quick summary would not do justice to the complex conclusions derived in this book. General, and simplistic, impressions are more appropriate and the reader can then go deeper in the book's arguments and decide for himself:
a) von Manstein's culpability in the Stalingrad debacle is much greater than what he wished to convey in his, of course self justifying, at least to an extent, memoirs Verlorene SiegeLost Victories: The War Memoirs of Hitler's Most Brilliant General;
b) Paulus' culpability is thereby diminished but remains an essential factor in the destruction of his army;
c) von Seydlitz was the, silenced and overruled, voice of reason and soldierly ethic.
Let the reader make up his/her own mind. But in any case, agree or disagree, the arguments of this book have to be considered in any discussion about responsibilities for the Stalingrad debacle.

Two factors reduced my rating from 5* to 4*:
1) the documents in the appendices (part III of the book) have a gap between end of November and mid January, and therefore do not include what I consider to be the critical telex exchanges between Paulus and von Manstein of 19 and 23 December 1942 with respect to "Winterstorm" (opening a relief corridor to 6th Army, resupplying and reinforcing it to enable to continue the hold on the Volga) and "Donnerschlag" (the breakout of 6th Army to the southwest, gradually abandoning Stalingrad in the process), that of 23 December being noteworthy for Manstein's reply to Paulus' request for "Donnerschlag" (Thunderclap in English): "That authority I cannot give today. I am hoping for a decision tomorrow" (see page 489 of Earl Ziemke's Moscow to Stalingrad: Decision in the east). For those interested in the actual telex messages of those two critical dates, they can be found in Craig's Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad (Movie Tie-In): pages 252-257 for the exchanges of December 19 and pages 277-279 for those of December 23. A short 3 page summary of the Stalingrad battle is found on P 543-545 of Kershaw's HITLER, NEMESIS. A more detailed military (i.e. no responsibilities analysis) analysis is found on P 479-502 of Ziemke's MOSCOW TO STALINGRAD.
2) Stalingrad is considered by the authors as "an exemplary singularity within the framework of this [Hitler's] suicidal madness". Given some of the later major defeats of the Wehrmacht, east and west, termed "second Stalingrads" or "worse than Stalingrad", this was not a singularity, it was, unfortunately, the first example of the application of that suicidal madness, the reasons for which were outside the scope of that book (but which Ian Kershaw examines, at least to some extent, in his Hitler: 1936-1945: Nemesisand his The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1944-1945).

A MUST READ FOR ANY WWII AMATEUR HISTORIAN.
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