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on 30 April 2009
Straight away you're there amongst mud and machinery, facing terrible odds. But this book does not reveal itself like a set piece drama. It is not about genre, nor is it about the narrator and his ambitions. The account is relayed via contemporary letters which are delicately constructed to reveal the complexity and insanity of situation after situation. It is so clearly written that the images of battle reverberate around the mind, as if they had been on the silver screen. The accounts related in Conquest of the Factories for instance, of defending buildings with bricks when the ammo ran out, are so gripping because they are so personal.

The lack of mannerism had another effect too, I read the book as if it were me who had found those letters. Right through the work I was compelled to ask myself, what if it were me, what would I do, how would I cope? The account felt first hand.
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on 4 September 2014
Harrowing account by Russian and Germans involved in the battle. Well written and hard to put down. Is factual yet human story from those thrown into the cauldron.
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on 21 April 2014
Always been interested in the battle for stalingrad, this was the first book I read and was realy pleased with the content.
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on 10 November 2010
If you've ever wondered what it must have been like to have fought at Stalingrad, read this book. It is superb. It covers both Russian and German veiws. An excellent read.
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on 19 June 2013
This book gives a different view of the fight for stalingrad to anything I had read before. It is incredible how close the russians came to losing stalingrad.
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on 14 May 2013
i ordered this book for my partner,because he likes world war books
he haven't read this book but i hope this is a good book.
good service, arrived very quickly thanks
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on 18 July 2008
It doesn't get more authentic than oral history, events told by those who participated.
However, it requires proper veterans or documents to be taken into account and this is what Nastable fails to achieve.
Instead, he takes quotes from Soviet sources which never served anything other than communist propaganda purposes. Not only are these sources then (mis)taken for a fact, but he refers to them heavily when painting his black and white picture of Stalingrad. Sentences such as "it was a rare German officer who would show mercy to a Russian" show that Bastable not only has an amateurish knowledge and completely biased view on the war in Russia - it makes the reader wonder if he has ever spoken to a war veteran, German or Russian, in person. It all becomes too much when the author even justifies Ilya Ehrenburg's horrible propaganda aimed at Red Army soldiers to kill and murder anything German (this, of course, includes women and children). It's a known fact that the Soviet army had never respected the Geneva Convention or the Red Cross, in fact from day one they had been already killing prisoners and wounded at large. It is also known that Hitler had issued the murderous order regarding the treatment of commissars. But does the latter really justify the aforementioned atrocities which cost millions their lives?
With the author not only relying on unreliable sources but also missing any objectivity even when it comes to murder, this book is a waste of time and money.
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on 1 May 2010
This is a good read- there's lots of action, interviews and a reasonable overview of the battle and its consequences.

Some of the interviews, on a second reading, appear that they may have been "polished" by the party before publication, but I suspect that many Russians (and other Soviet peoples) viewed the Great Patriotic War as just that. After the horrific consequences of the German attack on Byelorussia, Ukraine et cetera they can have surely not been unaware of their likely fate under German (or should we call it Nazi?) occupation. This is an example of when Soviet propaganda was, in my view, not only justified but necessary.

For war nerds, there are interviews with survivors (!)of the battle in the grain elevator, Pavlov's house and the Red October factory. There are also interviews with civilians who lived amongst the fighting. For this sort of frank talk about living amongst the stink, terror and filth of an extended urban campaign it's actually quite hard to beat this book.

The final page also contains a rather touching fact about the later life of Pavlov (of Pavlov's house).

Recommended. Did I mention there is lots of fighting?
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