16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Te price of the Soviet victory,
This review is from: Total War (Hardcover)
I was eleven years old when the Great Patriotic War ended. I was trying to forget it. I could not foresee that my memory would start stinging me again. As time passed, the burning feeling intensified. One of the main reasons for that was the Soviet literature's determination to cross out any slightest mention of the Holocaust as well as participation of people of Jewish origin in the War. This is why in the USSR General Dovator became a Bielorussian, Major Kunikov became a Russian, and heroes whose names were obviously Jewish the Russian press simply obliterated from the history of the war.
This in particular explains why, when I emigrated from the USSR back in the 1970's , I started refreshing my school English not by reading English classics in originals, but by reading Western authors' accounts of and insights into the events of the War. I used to read them sometimes smiling and at other times frowning. Now, having lived in the West for over thirty years, I have found an author whose narrations are adequate to the events we lived through. From all standpoints. This is Michael Jones. Every his new book shakes me as a distress. No smiles, no frowns. Tears.
I myself might have been an episode of Jones' book. Once, in October of 1941, I became a single target for a German plane in kilometers of empty fields around me. I still wonder how I survived on that occasion under the strafing plane a few meters straight over my head. The pilot missed me when it was impossible to miss. There is something to contemplate about this situation. However, with all my personal impressions and suffering due to the War, I would not be able to tell about it with such remarkable brevity and expressiveness as Michael Jones did. No one of us, insiders, could have written such a book. We, Russian Jews, would be inevitably stuck in painful details. A German could, but in that case, the narration might not be considered credible. An outsider was needed, and Michael Jones came out and did the job for the both sides. He reached the core of our wartime feeling. His descriptions are realistic. Everyone knows horrible account of Treblinka by Vassilii Grossman. To me it was presenting a very limit of hell. Jones managed to put the hellish limit even higher with his account of Auschwitz.
The book is full of sympathy for all those who suffered on both sides. It turns out that after time passes, all the atrocities that people commit upon each other during any war are seen in quite a different light inducing severe remorse.
The book also leads the reader to a conclusion that the nations sentenced to be exterminated have no other choice except to go on waging a Total War with a determined rage of people doomed. This aspect turns the book into a warning for the mankind. I believe that for this very reason the book must be translated into all the cultured languages on Earth. If the mankind has not learned from the lessons of the past, it deserves what is coming to it in the future. However, this is not Michael Jones' fault.
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Initial post: 27 Aug 2012 14:46:43 BDT
Mr. B. Walker says:
Thank you for this wonderful review. It deeply inspires me to buy and read this account of the eastern front.
Posted on 6 Sep 2012 20:38:54 BDT
Micheal Jones should put this review in his book. Thank you for your review.
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