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102 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Patriotic War brought alive in one volume!
I first read this splendid one-volume history of the Russo-German conflict of WW2 more than thirty years ago and its immediacy, masterful simplification of complex campaigns and operations, colourful evocations of heroism and cowardice and outright pathos have never left me. This is not a detailed history and the concentration is on a few major, but decisive, campaigns...
Published on 25 Oct 2001 by Donal A. O'Neill

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2.0 out of 5 stars Barbarossa
Unfortunately I had to give up part way through reading this as I found the writing slow, ponderous and disorganised. After reading the first few chapters I could not believe there was not one mention of Russia's war against Finland. How could this be left out of any serious discussion of Operation Barbarossa?

There was also little attempt to describe the...
Published 1 month ago by Neil Lennon


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102 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Patriotic War brought alive in one volume!, 25 Oct 2001
This review is from: Barbarossa: The Russian German Conflict: The Russian German Conflict, 1941-45 (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
I first read this splendid one-volume history of the Russo-German conflict of WW2 more than thirty years ago and its immediacy, masterful simplification of complex campaigns and operations, colourful evocations of heroism and cowardice and outright pathos have never left me. This is not a detailed history and the concentration is on a few major, but decisive, campaigns but these are covered with such verve that the reader is quite likely to be fascinated by the subject for the rest of their lives, and to seek out ever more thereafter. Though meticulous in his descriptions and evaluations, Clark is never a neutral observer - and this is probably what makes the book so totally unforgettable even down to individual episodes. His judgements on men can be devastating - his summary of the clownish ineptitude and outdated heroics of Budenny is as succinct and merciless as anything in Gibbon - and his accounts of epic-scale actions never fail to reflect the human cost. The image of hundreds of thousands of Russian prisoners trudging towards starvation, slave labour and medical experiments after the great 1941encirclement battles in the Ukraine, and of isolated pockets fighting to the last man, as loudspeakers relayed the exhortations of Stalin, will stay with the reader forever. Clark's account of Stalingrad was powerful enough to send my wife and myself to the city itself within months of reading the book - a powerful and unforgettable experience. Clark did not just give us the feel the nightmare of street fighting across entire square miles of blazing ruins and factories, but he helped us visualise the abject misery of the Sixth Army's entombed survivors as, in the unlikely surroundings of a rebuilt department store's basement, we found the spot where von Paulus surrendered. Simultaneously, we were conscious that somewhere to the west that von Manstein's relief forces were stalled, supplies packed in trucks that included even British vehicles captured at Dunkirk eighteen months before. By such details is history brought alive. The section on Kursk could almost stand alone as a modern Illiad and description of the destruction of Army Group Centre, and of the final battles in Germany itself, conveys the full horror of what it means to be part of a hitherto coherent organism in terminal collapse. I came to this book again when my daughter asked me to recommend an introduction to the subject - and from her enthusiasm, three decades on, I sensed that in this book we probably have a timeless classic. Other books deal with the Great Patriotic War in greater detail - commander's accounts, of which the best is probably von Manstein's "Lost Victories", war-correspondent's accounts like Alexander Werth's "Russia at War" or Curzio Malapartre's searing "The Volga rises in Europe", modern reassessments of specific campaigns like Anthony Beevor's superb "Stalingrad" and popular histories like Harrison Salisbury's "The Thousand Days" - but none can equal this as an introduction and as an overview. By the sweep of the narrative, by the elegance of the prose, by the power of the imagery and, above all, by the sheer humanity of tone, this marvellous history justifies Alan Clark's entire life. A wonderful book.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you're into miltary history, then this is a good read., 16 Sep 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Barbarossa: The Russian German Conflict: The Russian German Conflict, 1941-45 (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
This book made me see the Russo-German campaign in a new light. Previously-held beliefs that the Russians were somewhat fortunate to survive the might of the Nazi war machine in the early stages were swept away by Alan Clark's account of the unpreparedness of the Wehrmacht for the campaign in the first place, the arrogance and ineptitude of the German high command and the stubbornness and bravery of the ordinary Russian soldier. He goes into great detail about the movement of armies and who did what and where, interspersed with personal accounts from people who actually did the fighting. He also makes reference from time to time of the constant in-fighting between the German generals, vying for personal power bases and favours from Hitler, all to the detriment of the German war effort. Alan Clark traces the campaign from beginning to end, from the early years of German successes to their disatrous failures at Leningrad, Stalingrad and Kursk, and finally to the Russians at the gates of the Fuhrerbunker in Berlin. If you like strategy, then this is for you.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Riveting Read, 15 Oct 2004
By 
Frank Black (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Barbarossa: The Russian German Conflict: The Russian German Conflict, 1941-45 (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
While not containing the small personal details of Beevor's Stalingrad and Berlin, this book is nonetheless a fascinating read, and will make you eager to learn more, which is no bad thing. Clark's grasp of politics is clear from his descriptions of the machinations of the German high command and in the final months the mistrust between the allied leaders as they approached Berlin. An excellent grounding in the subject, almost worth buying for the verbatim texts of many of Hitler's conferences alone, which clearly chart his mental disintegration towards the end. Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gripping account of the titanic struggle in the East, 11 Dec 2006
By 
J. Turner - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Barbarossa: The Russian German Conflict: The Russian German Conflict, 1941-45 (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
I never tire of returning to Alan Clark's account of Barbarossa, which whilst sometimes short on technical detail, recounts with some style the ebb and flow of four years of violent conflict. To a certain extent the story is told from a German rather than Russian perspective, with considerable space given to the volatile relationships between Hitler and his generals. The text covers the entire campaign, from conception to Hitler's suicide, and the fate of the principal participants thereafter. It conjures vivid images of the scale of the campaign, the strengths and weaknesses of the leaders who shaped it, and the toll it took upon both sides. My only gripe is the poor standard of the insufficient (and sometimes confusing) maps. Compulsory reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complete history of 1941-45 Russo-German war, 20 Feb 2001
By A Customer
An excellent and brilliant book, mainly seen and described from the German side of the court, but exhaustive and, last but not least, written in a very good and sometimes "literary" English. I warmly recommend this book to everyone interested in the WW2 Eastern Front.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 6 Sep 2006
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This review is from: Barbarossa: The Russian German Conflict: The Russian German Conflict, 1941-45 (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
I came across this book having previously read Stalingrad Berlin and Moscow 1941. It is an excellent read which is easy to follow and understand. Further it addresses the questions that seemed to arise from the other books previously mentioned in that it gives you a good oversight to the whole battle along the Eastern Front. My only issue with this book is that having originally been published in 1965 Alan Clarke did not follow this up with reference to any of the new information which have may have come to light especially since the changes in the Soviet Union. Unfortunately now he is dead we will have to wait for another author to take up the mantle. (He does address this question in 1985 in the book however so much has come to light since then.)

Overall an excellent read and a good insight to Hitler, his Generals, the Third Reich and The Eastern Front.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent narration but lacking critical parts, 31 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Barbarossa: The Russian German Conflict: The Russian German Conflict, 1941-45 (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
Being aware that this book is no 30/40 years old, I decided to read Alan Clark's work on this atrocious conflict that involved two of the most powerful war machines of this century.
The book has good reviews and offers a perfect overview to the gigantic subject.

The narration is fluid and the chapter division quite helpful.
More importantly, the author keeps away from overdescription of unit positions, movements of troops, etc. which can blur the vision sometimes. This is especially true for a campaign like Barbarossa.
Its is quite often that military history authors lacking politic and economic knowledge prefers to concentrate on purely militaristic matters.

However, I had a really good time reading the book but was quite dissapointed and would say frustrated that the book was very light on:
- The Leningrad siege
- The battle for Berlin
- The role of the luftwaffe and the war in the air

Despite the above, there are some really brillant parts such as the Stalingrad chapters, or the addition of recorded dialogues between Hitler and his staff, or personal accounts such as the 2 ou 3 pages long account of the russian sniper.

Finally, I recomend the reading of Guderian's book "Panzer Leader" which presents the conflict through the eye of the famous tank theorist and leader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mammoth enterprise, 19 Sep 2009
By 
Sussman "Sussman" (London CA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Barbarossa: The Russian German Conflict: The Russian German Conflict, 1941-45 (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
I read this work in the very late nineties, by that time this work was already `dated'. We are now, at the time of writing this review, into the second decade of the 21st century where there is more factual information available and, if you couple this with current IT resources, it thus enables historical writers to write four times the amount of information in terms of such things like, maps, battle statistics and wealth of information from new Russian archive sources and individual accounts from the men, women who served in the soviet armed forces. The resultant is historical works, that are written in great depth on just single events, like `Kursk' etc that fill up the same space as this book. These resources and sources were just not available to Alan Clarke, when he took on this `Mammoth' enterprise. To be able write a single volume history of Hitler' failed gamble in the `East' was a huge task to say the least. After saying all of the above, I must say that this is a very readable account and flows more like an action adventure novel, and for me this book ignited my interest on the war in the East and has been a catalyst in my further reading on the subject by such authors as Mark Healy and his excellent work on Zitadelle. Mr Christer Bergstrom, and his work on the use aviation in the war, there are other notable works and this list works is longer every year.
For me the way Clarke explains Hitler's ever changing relationship with his generals activities are illuminating, and this work shows the relationships were complex and as one reviewer puts it `downfall cannot be solely blamed on him' him being Hitler.

Flaws yes, lack of updated information yes - in fact the answer is yes to all of these criticisms. However, for me this is very readable, anecdotal and reasonably comprehensive work that is carefully distilled into a fine narrative and thus is highly recommend.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book, 22 Mar 2004
This review is from: Barbarossa: The Russian German Conflict: The Russian German Conflict, 1941-45 (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
The book is well written containing all the relevant info in an enjoyable to read way. Arguments for and against Hitlers intervention in his generals affairs are very informative showing that the Wermachts downfall cannot be solely blamed on him. Well worth a read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 9 Sep 2008
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This review is from: Barbarossa: The Russian German Conflict: The Russian German Conflict, 1941-45 (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
This book has been favourably reviewed many times here so I won't add detailed comments. This is the second time I have read the work and I can hardly fault it (yet I shall). Even though one knows the ending it reads like a novel one cannot put down; Clark engages his reader very well indeed. Clark, sensibly, does not regard Hitler as a mindless monster as of the "Black lagoon": he recognizes Hitler's personal bravery and his brilliance. Indeed, he partially exonerates Hitler of blame for military cock-ups which were attributed to the Fuehrer post hoc in the memoires of German generals. The story is a tradegy for the Russians, ultimately more so for the Germans, and for the many hapless others caught up in a conflict imbued with crazy racial doctrines.

Which leading character comes out best from Clark's account: Hitler or Stalin? It's a toss up really. Stalin had no compunction about starving peasants or culling his military leadership in purges. Hitler, for the most part, did not persecute those he regarded as his own countrymen yet he was merciless to those deemed racially inferior (which included some of his own countrymen).

The only reservation I have of this work is the quality of the maps. Clark frequently refers to locations that are not on his maps. To get the best out of this book one needs to refer to a war atlas of Russia at that time.
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