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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Duel" an Eastern Front Version
In his book "The Duel : The Eighty-Day Struggle Between Churchill and Hitler", historian John Lukacs provided a fascinating study of Adolf Hitler and Winston Churchill during the 80 day period from the ascension of Winston Churchill to the office of Prime Minister on May 10, 1940 until July 30,1940. "The Duel" ends with the decision by Hitler to cease...
Published on 3 April 2006 by Leonard Fleisig

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Historical essay
Well, author clearly stated that this book is not historical study, but rather a narrative. I'm not sure what he meant by that. If it is not historical - than what is it? Having read the book I found the answer... Though it was very obvious from the back page reviews from famous authors what kind of book it was. The only respectable from my point of view author (R. Overy)...
Published on 9 Jan 2011 by A. Bogdanov


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Duel" an Eastern Front Version, 3 April 2006
By 
Leonard Fleisig "Len" (Virginia Beach, Virginia) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: June, 1941: Hitler and Stalin (Hardcover)
In his book "The Duel : The Eighty-Day Struggle Between Churchill and Hitler", historian John Lukacs provided a fascinating study of Adolf Hitler and Winston Churchill during the 80 day period from the ascension of Winston Churchill to the office of Prime Minister on May 10, 1940 until July 30,1940. "The Duel" ends with the decision by Hitler to cease planning for a cross-channel invasion. Instead, Hitler began planning for an invasion of the Soviet Union. Lukacs' new book, "June 1941: Hitler and Stalin" is a rather brief study of the relationship between Stalin and Hitler in the month in which those plans, Operation Barbarossa, achieved fruition.
"June 1941" is not a monumental piece of writing, nor was it meant to be. Rather, as Lukacs notes in his introduction it is "less than a monograph but more than a narrative". Despite its brevity Lukacs manages to provide the reader with a good, concise summary of the events of that month. Lukacs does not inundate the reader with minutiae about the battle plans or the invasion itself. I think it fair to say that Lukacs expects a reader to have at least some passing knowledge of the commencement of war on the Eastern Front. "June 1941" seems more concerned with fleshing out the attitudes of both Stalin and Hitler to the other and the impact those attitudes had in shaping events. I believe he has done a good job.
In "The Duel" Lukacs indicated that by July, 1940 Hitler felt that a cross-channel invasion was not feasible. He told those around him that England was holding on by a thread and that its hopes (and morale) were based on the prospect that it might draw the USSR and/or the US into the war on its side. Hitler felt that if he could invade and defeat the USSR in short order that England would be compelled to negotiate an end to the war on terms favorable to Germany. "June 1941" takes up where "The Duel" left off. Lukacs asserts that Hitler's views had not changed by June 1941. Hitler's conviction that he could defeat the USSR in as timely a manner as his defeat of Poland and France were confirmed by the USSR's stunningly horrid performance in the Russo-Finnish Winter War. Lukacs makes some interesting statements about the nature of Hitler and Stalin's personalities throughout the book. The include Lukacs' belief that Stalin's personality was not that of a dogmatic Marxist but that of a Caucasian chieftain. As such, Stalin had a respect for Hitler's brutal real-politik and this respect colored his thinking.
Ultimately, Lukacs paints a portrait of a perfect storm of suspicion (of Churchill) and respect (for Hitler) by Stalin that facilitated the horrendous losses incurred in the opening days of the war.
As noted, the book is not intended to be an exhaustive treatment. However, I did note with some interest some direct criticism of other historians that seemed a bit jarring to me, all the more so because they were not really fleshed out but, rather, just left hanging in the air. He describes Alan Bullock's "Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives" as useless and Constantin Pleshakov's "Stalin's Folly" as being "inaccurate throughout". I have read both books and although I am willing to believe that their accounts are subject to dispute as are all historical accounts, I am not sure that unexplained and unexamined criticism such as this is fully warranted.
Ultimately, I found "June 1941: Hitler and Stalin" to be a worthy addition to the wealth of material available on this subject. Lukacs is an entertaining writer with a good deal of knowledge of his subject matter. The ability to communicate that knowledge in clear and precise tone is a gift and I have no hesitation in recommending "June 1941" to anyone with an interest in the beginning of one of the most brutal wars the world has ever seen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Historical essay, 9 Jan 2011
By 
A. Bogdanov (borkino faso) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Well, author clearly stated that this book is not historical study, but rather a narrative. I'm not sure what he meant by that. If it is not historical - than what is it? Having read the book I found the answer... Though it was very obvious from the back page reviews from famous authors what kind of book it was. The only respectable from my point of view author (R. Overy) couldn't force himself to say the bitter truth, so he called it "historical essay", which says it all.
Historically correct? I doubt it very much...
Shallow? You bet!
Misleading? Shall I say - it has rather peculiar way with history...
Opinionated? Where do I start?
Entertaining? Oh yeah! Even amusing!

To summarize - it is a historical essay, which has very little to do with history.
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June, 1941: Hitler and Stalin
June, 1941: Hitler and Stalin by John Lukacs (Hardcover - 12 May 2006)
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