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War Without Garlands: Operation Barbarossa 1941-1942 Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
I have read widely on this subject, from war diaries to accounts of individual battles and to more general overviews. They are, of course, all bits of the jigsaw, and some are more vital than others. Despite its focus on both the initial Barbarossa end of the Eastern Front, and a heavy emphasis on the German experience, this book transformed my understanding.
Nowhere else did I gain such a vivid picture of the size of Russia. It's not just a simple case of maps, war diaries or figures for re-supply - it's the glueing together of all of this into a narrative that suddenly makes the great pushes and the kessels come alive - the strain on the German soldiers and the simple human scale of involvement in these actions.
In other accounts, of course, these first weeks and months seem to be a golden period for the Wehrmacht, as they plunge deeper and deeper into the Soviet Union, gaining stunning success after stunning success. The strain on and misery of the soldiers enjoying this apparent success comes out through Kershaw's knitting together of the narratives at various levels. This then helps feed into the reasons why the campaign spluttered out at the gates of Moscow, and provide a real, tangible picture of the overstretch that is often talked about in other accounts, without ever fully coming alive.
So, again, a piece in the jigsaw, but the most vital that I have read to date. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
I guess the first thing would be the recommendation to buy it. The read is easy and flowing. Easy, in that it is gripping and holds you, flowing in that as a history piece, it never becomes stodgy or bogged down.I would also say that I found this book to be tremendous value at the price as well. 580 pages for a few pounds in paperback.
The book provides an account of the opening months of Barborossa and does not, unlike other books on 'Barborossa' then file off to the years after. This book sticks with the opening operation, and the German attempt to knock out the Soviet Union quickly and in a series of co-ordinated hammer blows. Where the book or Mr Kershaw differs from other titles is that, not only is there the strategic overview, but we also get accounts of selected tactical encounters (rather than the strategic), and many letters and diary entries from soldiers serving. Most of these eye witness accounts are German, but Soviet offerings are included as well. Mr Kershaw does not then fall into the trap of "Well Corporal so and so who was there said this, so this must be true". He keeps these entries purely as embellishment, and as colouring of the subject he is trying to impart.
Despite having read many books on the subject matter, this was the first I have seen to concentrate on one of the first German obstacles, Brest-Litovsk. I was surprised to find out just how tough a nut this was to crack. But the main thrust of the book for me was the highlighting of the German Army's massive and quite frankly, unprecedented victories that kept bleeding themselves dry, or as Mr Kershaw put it from the translated German "Victoring itself to death".
and this seemed to be the main problem. Despite inflicting 2.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
great account of personal experiences of the initial stages of operation BarberossaPublished 3 months ago by lady jane grey
a very good book, it never gets to dry and academic, saying that he really gets the reader to understand just what an epic struggle the invasion of russia was or turned out to be,... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Jimmy
As good as this book is is it worth over £8 ? Was going to purchase when it was £5 but greed of publishers has now put me off buying it.Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very good read about a momentous part of the war
Informative and easy reading can't stop thinking the Germans
could have showed some common sense and saved... Read more
Extremely informative and well written. Good explanation of the campaign and the consequences of it. Personal accounts bring the book alivePublished 11 months ago by Matt Beeson
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