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62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stalingrad: A comprehensive and harrowing account
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...
Published on 13 Jan 2004

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A battle of ideologies
Stalingrad. The high water mark of the Nazi regime. The biggest battle of the second world war. An epic clash between the Nazi and Bolshevik regimes that destroyed a city and cost over one million lives.

Beevor's account of the 1942 battle is fast paced and racy, a much more interesting than what I remember of school history lessons. It's the Germans versus...
Published 20 months ago by Mostly Harmless


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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.
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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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful account of an awful part of history, 29 July 2013
This review is from: Stalingrad (Kindle Edition)
This is so much better than many histories of WW2, which often seem to do little more than recount the events. Beevor brings to life the ferociousness of the fighting, the brutal waste of Stalin, the blind and useless cruelty of Hitler's "iron will" and the growing hopelessness and helplessness of the German army, all within the context of the tragic and utter destruction that Nazism wrought on the ordinary people it rolled over. His narrative makes compelling, awesome, but surprisingly easy reading. A great book.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating but disturbing read. Impressive., 24 Jun 2003
This review is from: Stalingrad (Paperback)
I was pleased to see that the reviewer below also praised Joel Hayward's book: 'Stopped at Stalingrad: The Luftwaffe and Hitler's Defeat in the East'. I also think that Hayward's book is perhaps the very best book on Stalingrad. It is definitive and very original in conception and focus.
But I still think that Antony Beevor's book is also a heavyweight in terms of Stalingrad research. It deserves its best seller status because it is so very gripping. Who can put it down once they start reading? Not me. The focus on Russiand AND Germans is evenhanded and Beevor avoids merely criticising the horrible Germans and praising the courageous Russians. What he does is criticise the vile leadership of both sides and try to portray the tortuous experiences of the troops on both sides, as well as the civilians, who had no choice but to follow their master's orders. Their suffering was dreadful ON BOTH SIDES, as Beevor shows with graphic prose.
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, well written, must have of a book, 16 July 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Stalingrad (Paperback)
Britain's great contribution to the Second World War was in not losing it..! Britain and the Commonwealth stood alone against Hitler from 1939 until 1941, a lone beacon against absolute evil and tyranny. Britain could never have won the war on her own, and perhaps not even with the Americans.
The war was won, in a great part, by the courage and sacrifice of the USSR, which lost over 22 million people. Stalingrad was the turning point, and marked the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany. The heroic sacrifices made by the Russian people at Stalingrad defy description, not least because they were suffering under the hand of Stalin, Hitler's only competitor in the modern evil and genocide stakes..!
Well thats enough philosophy..! Stalingrad is a suberbly written book. It is pure history but in the main it reads like a novel, you just have to keep turning the pages. The book is well illustrated with photographs and maps which enable you to get a true feeling for the campaign as it progressed from initial German sucess to final Russian victory.
As well as giving the historical context and progression, Stalingrad follows the personal fates and sacrifices of those involved, through letters, diaries and descriptions of events. These serve to bring the historical descriptions to life, giving characters to the plot.
When you read this book, you will understand not only about Stalingrad itself, including the Nazi-USSR alliance prior to 1941 and the after effects of Stalingrad, but you will also learn about the flaws in Nazi society which meant they had to lose the war and the strengths of the Russian people, even under tremendious subjugation.
If you enjoy modern history, buy this book. If you want to learn about the debt the free world owes to the Russian people, buy this book. If you want a gripping story, buy this book. If you have never bought a book before, buy this book..!
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1 of 1 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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars David against Goliath or the demolition of the Sixth Army., 29 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Stalingrad (Paperback)
Anthony Beevor is an excellent writer and this book, in spite of its true horrors, reads almost like a romance. The author refrains from entering the subjective terrain remaining almost always very factual. You will find here more honesty and competence and less new theoretical advances or formulations. Superbly researched, it flows smoothly from the beginning of operation Barbarossa into the deadly Stalingrad trap which cost the lives of thousands and ended in the annihilation of the Sixth Army, giving way to the psychological turning point of the war.

Logically divided and thus very easy to follow, it is rich in historical and military detail, never forgetting to enhance the human tragedy, either of civilians or combatants. You feel the tears running down the pages and the buildings crashing in your hands, and you ask yourself over and over how could men have endured such a calamity and how it was possible for this madness to have taken place just 70 years ago.

The rhythm of this dramatic tale is voracious, with tensions giving way to higher tensions which in turn explode into a never ending spiral of unheard violence. You despair with Chuikov and Paulus in their bunkers as the "Rattenkrieg" takes completely hold of your mind. Page after page you are pushed toward the end until there is nothing more left to read, just like there was no more city to see.

There are some critics in a few reviews, which accuse Beevor of taking the German side and being unfair and untrue when depicting the Russians. Well, all I can say is that they must have read another book, because after reading this one, I was left with an heroic image of the Russian army and with the impression that only the Russian soldier could have faced such a ferocious enemy and win.

A magnificent book.
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Stalingrad by Antony Beevor (Paperback - 4 Oct 2007)
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