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The Volga Rises in Europe Paperback – 7 Nov 2000

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Product details

  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Birlinn Ltd (7 Nov. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841580961
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841580968
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 12.7 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,227,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A.D.M. on 20 April 2008
Format: Paperback
This is the first Eastern Front book that I have read, and perhaps it is not the best place to start for a military over-view, but Malaparte provides a fascinating look at an aspect of war in the Russian campaign that I suspect has precious little coverage in English. The first half of the book sees Malaparte following the front east, a few miles from the "action", encountering civilians and writing in a very detached, almost dreamlike fashion about his experiences. There are no recurring characters, there is little criticism of the German actions or policies that brought about the campaign (he does write about communism and how it has affected the civilians he meets to quite some extent), and it is an eery, poetic recount of snapshots into the life and death that he encountered on a daily basis. Half way through, and German intervention sees Malaparte "re-deploy" to the fight for Stalingrad, and we see a different situation, but still told in his thoroughly engaging style. I would not recommend this book to people who want maps, orders of battle, and discussions of tactics or grand strategies, but I would suggest that anyone interested in this campaign who wants to delve a little deeper than usual give this a read. It's quite short too, so won't take you long.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By N. Brennan on 4 Jan. 2009
Format: Unknown Binding
Very observant, (too) flowery writing from close behind the front line. Detailed battlefield walks and sights with AGS. He paints pictures with words of the landscape and devestation of war. Creates Suspense on sentry duty in freezing conditions on the Karillian front(anticipating a knife across his throat at any moment) and wandering the soviet graveyards. Portayals of the soviet soldiers mind, their ethos and beliefs. No propoganda here. He does however go on a bit...
He knows(in summer 1941) what happens to Jews, looters and commissars ! an interesting read
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Dispatches from behind the lines. 29 Jan. 2002
By rgzig - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Volga Rises in Europe is a collection of dispatches describing the German invasion of Russia in World War II, written for publication in Italy. Malaparte accompanied the German Army in the Ukraine between June and September 1941 and was a guest of the Finnish Army in the Karelian Isthmus between March and November of 1942. Notwithstanding its subject and the picture on the cover, the book is more of a travelogue than a war memoir. Although Malaparte gets to the front lines on occasion, more often his accounts describe scenes of past battles after the front has moved on. Much of the book is a description of the terrain, such as the Finnish forests, and the people he meets, both soldier and civilian. In addition, Malaparte engages in a fair amount of social commentary and speculation, particularly about the Soviet system. His style is often poetic although there is a tendency to imbue certain incidents with more importance than they perhaps merit. Malaparte is at his best when he describes the people he meets such as the Ukrainian peasants trying to reopen their church, which the Soviets have turned into a seed warehouse, or his visit with an elderly woman and her friends and relations at Soroki. For those interested in military history there are descriptions of small skirmishes, the crossing of the Dneistr and attacks on the Stalin Line. In Part 2, Malaparte describes the trenches outside the besieged Leningrad, the siege of the naval station at Kronstadt, as well as the convoys to Leningrad over frozen Lake Ladoga. Malaparte makes it clear that from the beginning of the war, the Russians were fighting to the last man. I was also surprised at the frequency with which Russian aircraft appear early in the war since other accounts relate that they were largely destroyed in the opening days. Overall, this book was not what I expected, but is very readable and provides some frank descriptions of lesser known aspects of the war.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
something different 3 May 2005
By paul mckerracher - Published on
Format: Paperback
having been an avid wwii reader for many years, i found this book to be a welcome change of pace from the usaual run of the mill, bog standard wwii book.

i do of course realize that there are very many excellent studies of this period of time available,and i own many, but i loved this book for the excellent way it was written, and mainly for the mental images it put into my head.

the eastern front has always been of special interest to me and to read something completely different about it, and learn new aspects of it was truley welcome.(i know i cant spell).
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Not your average record of the Russian front 25 April 2007
By Tess - Published on
Format: Paperback
Curzio Malaparte was an Italian correspondent traveling with the German troops on the Russian front. In an extremely indignant preface, he enumerates the indignities he and his work suffered before, during and after the publication of the individual articles and, later, the book. Don't read the preface. You won't want to read the book if you do. And that would be a shame, because the book, for all its flaws, is an interesting read. Malaparte is interested in describing ordinary life on the front, for soldiers and civilians both, and his depictions of human interactions can be by turns touching, funny, and more than a little creepy. However, one is always intensely aware that he is a Writer; the language is lyrical, often overly so, and it often seemed that each narrative was following a set pattern: peaceful peaceful touching peaceful peaceful ARGH twist ending (often involving dead people). Other times he just sticks with peaceful peaceful peaceful. What I am saying is, it can get a little montonous. Nonetheless, it is an interesting book, in part because it is fascinating to watch Malaparte wander across the Russian front, not oblivious to the death and destruction around him but seeming in a way to be impervious to it. One never really gets the sense that he thought any of this touched him, or that he really felt any responsibility for it, and he is more interested in exploring his own feelings than trying to get inside the heads of the people he talks to. This is sometimes frustrating, but watching him go is an interesting exercise, and the writing is occasionally as beautiful as he thinks it is. On the positive side, his perspective-- with the German troops but not actually German (and therefore no apologist; he both sees and comments on negative aspects of German behavior, most of which references were apparently censored out of the original articles)-- is unusual, as is his attention to the ways in which the war has affected the local civilians.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Beauty in an odd setting 8 April 2004
By Mikel - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is a poetic look at what the author sees. He obviously never heard Sherman's line, "War is hell." The descriptive narrative is beautiful yet still holds weight.
If war were what he describes the human race would never be in a different state.
An Italian Narrative of the Ukrainian & Finnish Fronts in WWII 9 May 2015
By Old Pismire - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An offbeat but entertaining account of the German invasion of the USSR from the eyes of an Italian journalist.
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