Customer Reviews


217 Reviews
5 star:
 (167)
4 star:
 (33)
3 star:
 (11)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding book
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)...
Published on 1 Dec. 2007 by S. Jones

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sympathy for the devil
I thought this book would be an impartial account of one of the climactic battles of WWII, but instead it turned out to be an anti-soviet propaganda piece with more than a little sympathy for the nazis and a number of factual errors and tactical omissions. Criticising the red army for executing deserters while not mentioning the thousands of Germans of the 6th army...
Published 5 months ago by Cirkux


‹ Previous | 1 2 322 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping, terrific book, yet very depressing, 16 Nov. 2013
By 
Matthew Turner "loyalroyal" (Reading, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Stalingrad (Paperback)
I found Antony Beevor's Stalingrad to be a gripping, fantastic book, yet the horrors it describes makes this a depressing, uncomfortable read. The vast majority of the book deals with the actual Battle of Stalingrad, but Beevor sets the battle in its historical and strategic context by briefly outlining Germany's invasion of the USSR under Operation Barbarossa, and the Wehrmacht's push to the Caucasus and Volga river.

The book reveals the full horrors of the battle, made all the worse as it fought between the armies of two of history's most reprehensible and evil regimes. This was not just a battle, but a political, ideological struggle, where no quarter is given or expected.

I was repeatedly struck by the callousness and brutality of both sides, towards their enemies, the civilians and even their own soldiers. One could not help but feel for the German soldiers, once encircled and trapped in the Kessel, being subjected to starvation, lice, frostbite and cruelty. The Soviet soldiers too suffered. I was also struck by the leadership of Hitler and Stalin. In Hitler's case this should be a lack of leadership. Hundreds of miles away Hitler tried to dictate the battle, even down to the last battalion, but could not, or would not, understand the military necessity to retreat or the logistical difficulties the Sixth Army faced. his constant meddling was both incompetent and fatal to the battle's outcome. Stalin, although just as much a dictator as Hitler, at least had the sense to listen to his generals and give them a relatively (when compared to Hitler) free rein.

Other reviewers have done a superb job in reviewing this book. I can merely agree with their views and recommend this book as a must read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Comprehension, 19 Nov. 2008
This review is from: Stalingrad (Paperback)
I daresay that there are quite a few people out there who have a layman's interest in the events of the Second World War but may be daunted by this book's 430-odd page length (nearly 500 including appendices and notes).

If this block of paper had been dumped in front of me as part of the necessary reading for a history exam I might've preferred to take up smoking instead.

But I'd have had little to fear. It's not dull or boring. It's not written in a slow or difficult manner. It's a thoroughly informative and exciting read that you'll constantly wish to get back to.

A good deal of the information in this book comes from personal letters and diaries written by those deeply involved in the colossal war-within-a-war that was the battle for Stalingrad. It justly exposes not only the horrific mistakes made by the leaders of both sides but the truly heartbreaking experiences of the hundreds of thousands of men and women involved.

The sheer level of atrocity goes beyond what the reader can possibly comprehend. The suffering far exceeds what was described in the levels of purgatory in Dante's 'The Divine Comedy'. This really was Hell on Earth.

But this is also a book that reveals the extraordinary resilience and unbelievable bravery that exists in mankind. There really is something of the superhuman revealed in these pages. And not only on the part of the mighty Russian fighters but of the Germans forces too.

Within these pages the reader is frequently reminded that the people involved are simply humans like the rest of us. Not all the Wermacht were cold blooded Nazi killers, not all the Red Army were ruthless bloodthirsty Stalinists. They were just people driven or forced to achieve an aim.

If only this book could be a final lesson to all of us to desist from the kind of insanity it describes.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible slice of WW2 history, 1 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Stalingrad (Paperback)
There is probably is little more I can add that hasn't already been said about this book, other than add to the weight of opinion that it is a very, very, very good read indeed.

It's no small thing to string together an event of such enormous importance as the events at Stalingrad, the months and indeed years that preceded and followed the battle, the thousands of miles of terrain relevant to the conflict; and the millions of lives caught up in such apocalyptic events.

But, as in his book about the battle of Berlin, Beevor manages this admirably. He has a real gift for conveying tactical events infused with the humanizing voices and characters of an enormous cast of characters, from Hitler and Stalin, their Generals and senior officers, to ordinary soldiers and civilians. The equal weight given to contemporary voices ensures that this book is no dry history lesson- the narrative is grand and yet personal at the same time.

This book is very popular, and deservedly so. A real page turner.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How Hitler was really defeated, 10 Jun. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Stalingrad (Paperback)
El Alamein, Midway, Stalingrad. The three turning points for the Allies during World War Two (I exclude Hiroshima). Stalingrad was THE decisive victory, from which point Hitler knew he could never win. Antony Beevor has pulled together the right balance of research; intimate moments in the dug out, to Paulus' decisions. The horror of how the battle was fought, the fact that anyone managed to survive, the bravery of both sides, the sense of betrayal by the German forces, is all there. Sometimes it is a humbling experience to read the book; catch yourself wanting to learn more about the conditions, the starvation, the vicious fighting, and you will understand what I mean. That is the strength of the book. Written in a style that makes you want to stick matches under your eyelids to read more is no mean feat. Beevor has in one book explained how the human spirit can never be broken. My only wish is that he were to do the same for the Battle for Berlin. For a Russian view, read Vladimir Karpov's "Russia at War" or track down a copy of "The year of stalingrad" by Alexander Werth. Beevor still tops these two in my opinion. If anyone ever tells you who won the war, correct them; it was the Russians at Stalingrad. Beevor has (for me) reappraised a previously undervalued watershed in warfare per se. Read it. The book should come with a "money back if not completely satisfied" sticker: there would be few takers.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid overview of the conflict, 18 Jan. 2002
This review is from: Stalingrad (Paperback)
Stalingrad is a carefully balanced mix of a factual history book and a narrative of the profound suffering that occured on both sides. The focus is almost entirely on the battle for Stalingrad, although enough is given on either side to put the battle in context.
It reads well, although I found it focussed too much on detailed facts (such as the movement of specific divisions) in parts. Overall though, manages to stay well clear of being classed an overly fact-heavy history text book. Stalingrad flows well despite not having any real central characters. This void, if anything, would be my only complaint.
The importance of this conflict is such, that it should be read by anyone interested in World War II and/or Russian history.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Un-putdownable, 6 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Stalingrad (Paperback)
An incredible story, by an outstanding storyteller. Stalingrad must rank with the Battle Of Britain as one of the major game-changers, the heroic epics, of World War II.

Others have provided more scholarly reviews of Beevor's book, so I have little to add. Suffice to say that although he writes a history (from Germany's invasion of Russia, to the annihilation of her Sixth Army), he engages your attention as might a writer of crime or spy thrillers. I never find his text dry. It is vibrant and succinct, with an attention to detail which nicely fleshes out the picture, but is never overdone.

Beevor's genius is to do the hard miles of research into numerous texts & sources, and collate it all into a compelling narrative, which I found un-putdownable.

After 18 months of advance, 2000 miles deep into the Russian hinterland, the German Army experiences the elation of success, rolling in Panzer columns unopposed across the vast Russian steppe (prairie) between the rivers Don and Volga. It is midsummer, shirtsleeves and shorts weather, with letters from home, and another major victory anticipated, as they approach Stalingrad, the model Soviet city, commanding the river Volga, & funneling Russia's vital war materials shipped from Britain & America, through Iran & the Caspian Sea.

They find Stalingrad's defenders ferociously stubborn, despite massive aerial bombardment reducing the city to rubble, and so a second Russian winter falls upon them, along with exhaustion & frostbite. They have little inkling that the Russians, thought to be on their last legs, are preparing, under Marshal Zhukov & Generals Chuikov & Yeremenko, a massive, audacious & devastating counterstrike.

Beevor has a knack for putting you in place, as he sets the scene, on both sides, in the run-up to 19 Nov 1942, when Zhukov's forces were unleashed, up to 100 miles to the rear of the German spearhead in the city. Two Soviet army groups, attacking on both German flanks, manned largely by Romanian, Italian, & Hungarian divisions, and more vulnerable than the central German divisions.

After 18 months of defeat and retreat, the Red Army at long last has its opportunity for retribution against the invader. Beevor states that on this day:

"For those who took part, it was the happiest day of the whole war, including even the final German surrender in Berlin".
.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Young eyes young minds, 4 Feb. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Stalingrad (Paperback)
Young boys have for hundreds of years played at war and will no doubt continue for years to come. It is a sad fact that war as a game is fun and exciting. How many of the thousands of young German soldiers that marched on Stalingrad with this attitude one can only wonder.If the film Saving private Ryan is an education for young eyes as to the brutality of war, and without doubt it is, then this book is a stark education for our young minds. There are countless books on this subject and depending on the author and his/her national perspective it can seem that there were equally numerous battles for this city.What this book sets out to do is to show that the men who fought this war both Russian and German were victims.Victims caught between the minds of two men one a maniac and Stalin who would do anything to retain his grip on power. Beevor leads the reader through this filthy battle and strips it of all Hollywood. He manages to adopt a narative style which holds the attention but explains the history in a refreshingly easy format.As you assume that things can't possibly get worse for the fighting men up steps another idiot General and makes sure that it does. One is reminded of the Great War saying "Lions lead by Donkeys".Amid all the horror comes humour..The bogas notices put up by German soldiers and in particular the fact that a whole section of Panzers were left high and dry because mice got in and chewed the electrics! Russian trained mice no doubt.Millions died in this battle for one city. Beevor brings them back to us for a short time many of them not much older than our sixth form students. Let them read this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 1 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Stalingrad (Paperback)
A wonderful book, but let down a little by a chronic shortage of maps. Each new offensive should have been illustrated with a map as the technical maneouvering is very complicated. I suggest that future reprints should defer more to readers by including maps with each new chapter. Otherwise, a well-written, engrossing read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Research and character pictures make for great history writing, 15 Feb. 2010
This review is from: Stalingrad (Paperback)
This is an excellent book. I knew the basics, but Beevor's remarkable and detailed research transformed my impression of what went on. One of the book's reviews says it reads like a novel, and I read the book in constant disbelief that this all occurred in Europe less than 70 years ago. Beevor's description of character is outstanding. He gets across how totally nutty Hitler was (of course). I still don't understand the strategy - Hitler hadn't troubled to knock out the Soviet command and control in Moscow, so even if he'd captured Stalingrad and gone firm on the West bank of the Volga, the Russians could presumably still have fired across the river at the Germans forever. Hitler's hunger for land reminds me of Lex Luther's obsession with beachfront property, but it is consistent with the view that WW2 arose for economic reasons as Hitler needed ever more land and resources to fuel a society which was a basically a Ponzi. One senior person who comes out of the book quite well is Field Marshal von Manstein - interestingly, his Wikipedia article shows that although he was jailed by the allies for 4 years after the war, Churchill later spoke on his behalf and he ended up as an adviser to Adenauer, dying in 1973 aged 86. Stalingrad is a terrific book. Not a single misprint that I could spot either.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stalingrad - spell blindingly gut wrenching, 26 Dec. 2008
By 
Mr. R. Morris - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Stalingrad (Paperback)
Many books are written from the Western Allied perspective, which Ive read many and the Red Army usually receives a footnote mentioning their repulsive behaviour towards German women on their battle towards Berlin. After reading Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-45, by Max Hastings, I was inspired to read more about the Wehrmacht's drive into Soviet Russia.

Stalingrad was the obvious place to start, it does receive very high praise, which always leaves me wondering if a book justifies the 'blurbs' on the jacket cover. In this case it does and more. Beevors' greatest gift is his narrative, drawing a truly dreadful, apocalyptic picture in the readers mind. He manages to weave historical fact with a compelling tale of human misery, on both sides. The sheer manic megalomania of both leaders, Stalin and Hitler and their ruthless pursuit of victory whatever the cost left me feeling regret for soldiers of both sides. Yes, even the ordinary German soldier who had a choice of being killed by the Red Army or their own side if they refused to fight, deserve a modicum of sympathy. That said compared to the Western Allies, Russia paid in blood beyond our wildest comprehension.

I dare anyone to read this book and not come away with a feeling of shock, despair and anger.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 322 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Stalingrad
Stalingrad by Antony Beevor (Paperback - 4 Oct. 2007)
£6.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews