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4.3 out of 5 stars8
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 6 September 2001
Quite simply the best reference source to date on the "Great Patrionic War". Volume one of a two volume set. Takes a good look indepth like never before of the Soviet war-machine and ineptness of its command structure, to the turning of the tide at Stalingrad. Make sure you have an atlas handy as there is not one singal map to look at, unlike Volume two. Still, a book required on everyones shelf who thinks they know the Russo-German War 41-45.
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on 12 February 2016
"The world will hold its breath" said Adolf Hitler when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. This is an extremely detailed account of Operation Barbarossa and the follow up attacks by the Germans which took them all the way to the city on the river Volga which bore Stalin's name. The author has drawn extensively on contemporary sources from both sides and builds a compelling narrative. In parts it is heavy going but it portrays a titanic struggle between possibly the two most powerful armies in history. The initial success of the German blitzkrieg dealt a series of apparently mortal blows to the Red Army which lost huge numbers of men and materiel in demoralising encirclements but the Russian bear just managed to survive until the arrival of the muds and snows of winter. As German spearheads closed in on Moscow the sense of panic is palpable but Stalin kept his nerve and the Soviets managed to hold on until Siberian reinforcements arrived in the nick of time. The danger period had passed and the fighting moved further south to Ukraine, again with spectacular results for the Germans. The attraction for Hitler of the capture of Stalingrad is obvious but because of an over-extended front it was also a major gamble. Impeccably and forensically researched material organised into a compelling narrative this is the definitive book of the early stages of the Eastern Front in WWII. Highly recommended.
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on 19 December 2007
This is a moderately interesting but at times mind-numbing account of the first two years of the Russian Front during the Second World War, written almost exclusively from the Russian perspective, and at a strategic-to-army level (the Stavka high command and its relation with the army groups and the logistical services). Don't look here for accounts of what it was like for a German infantry squad or Mark IV tank to encounter a T45, or to be a Russian colonel or divisional commander during the catastrophic campaigns of 1941-42; it's all about Zhukov flying into crisis situations to sort things out and incompetent generals being called back to Moscow to be shot. I'm sure John Erikson did a fantastic job at the time this book was written to secure all the information in this book, but there's no sign of any revision and new knowledge after the opening of Russian archives post-1991, and it is simply extraordinary that there isn't a single map in the whole book. The publishers (Cassells) should be ashamed of themselves: even if there weren't any maps in the original publication, why didn't they commission some when they re-published it in paperback format? Finally this book wins absolutely no prizes for its prose style, which is workmanlike at best. John Erickson has a single metaphor for all his descriptions of military action: it's all about slicing and dicing and hacking, ad nauseum. OK, we are largely dealing with armies being moved over maps and crises in the supply chain, and Erickson is generally good at marshalling his material and guiding you through a massive war, but he very rarely gets into the blood and guts, fear and passion of what it felt like to be a general as your forces collapsed about you, with a sense of responsibility for the very survival of your country. This to me is a major failing in any work of military history that claims to be a classic or definitive.
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on 27 February 1999
This is an excellent book which deals with Operation Barbarossa from the start of the offensive until the defeat of the Germans at Stalingrad. It is very detailed and obviously the author has had access to archives previously not available previously - this makes the book very interesting. The only problem is that the book has no maps !!! Unless you have an atlas, or an indepth knowledge of Russian geography you will struggle to deal with the in depth details of troop deployments. Buy it - but make sure you have an atlas !!!
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on 14 December 2015
probably the finest (2 books) on the war preparation and tactical capabilities of the Soviet Union in WWIII. (also Road to Berlin by same author)
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on 21 August 2015
Everything ok.
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on 31 July 2007
The road to Stalingrad is a very good study of the early years of the war on the Eastern Front. If you are looking for an introductory text or a light read this is NOT the book to buy but for the more committed or the more interested it is a very worthwhile read.
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on 5 August 2011
Glantz writes in massive detail that he got from (now outdated) Soviet sources. The detail (the trees) obscures the perspective (the wood). Erickson is the same. His wife is/was Yugoslav, so the Soviets trusted him. They gave him lots of detail, again therefore obscuring the perspective. Almost 500 pages ewithout a single map, but an ocean of detail isn't incompetence its propaganda. Russians/Soviets are good at 'maskirovka' concealment/deception/subterfuge. Too much detail conceals the line between reality and illusion. There are plenty of books out there now that are shorter than Erickson and Glantz, published since 1990 with access to open sources, that are both more informative and more intersting, with better tables and graphics. Look on Amazon and you'll find them.
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