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Customer Review

22 of 64 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars one-sided and apologetic, 29 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Stalingrad (Paperback)
I am quite perplexed at the universal praise lavished on this book. Sure, Beevor coveys the 'horrors of war' and is capable of good reportage (though I expect many social and political historians will be turned off with the over-use of military jargon). However, what really infuriates and outrages is Beevor's barely-stifled 'exhilaration' at the Nazi advance into Soviet Russia. His narrative of Operation Barbarossa is frankly obscene, omitting altogether its core rationale - a barbarous racial war against 'the inferior Slavs' and the Jews, a war which the 'heroic' Wehrmacht were entirely complicit.

This omission might be excused precisely because Beevor is a military fetishist rather than a well-rounded historian. Yet, this qualification is too generous to him. His anti-communism means his sympathies are with the Germans throughout. Where individual Soviet soldiers are dealt with sympathetically this is undermined by his leaden and one-dimensional portrayal of the Russian soldier as 'victim' of a system which forced him to fight. Beevor just cannot conceive that Russian soldiers might have been motivated by more noble aspirations - the will to defeat the evils of fascism; a love for one's homeland; and even a misplaced but heartfelt commitment to defending the communist ideal.

For a more honest and accurate account of the Nazi war in the East I would recommend Richard Overy and Christopher Browning over this over-rated apologia.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 1 Jul 2011 12:07:45 BDT
Mr. Pk Hale says:
" war which the 'heroic' Wehrmacht were entirely complicit"
Is that the entire Wehrmacht, as in every single soldier?

Posted on 4 Jun 2012 11:19:28 BDT
Helen B says:
I had read this review before I purchased the book and so looked out for signs of anti-Russia/pro German bias, but found none. Don't be put off from buying this book because of this review.

Posted on 4 Jun 2012 17:26:57 BDT
Mike Mac says:
I've read and enjoyed this book, and struggle to recall any point at which I thought Beevor came across as 'anti-communist'. Can't help thinking that your review has more to do with your own political baggage than with any you might imagine Beevor to be carrying... Very misleading...

Posted on 8 Aug 2012 16:41:43 BDT
Grum says:
All opinons are course, subjective but I do find myself wondering about this review. I consider myself impartial and cannot find any obvious leanings one way or the other. As far as the claim about " omitting altogether its core rationale" is concerned, the reviewer's claim is clearly flawed. As a ( very ) mature history graduate, I used Beevor's book in both an essay and a presentation about the racial aspects of Barbarossa in general and the functions of the Einzatzgruppen in particular. I stand down to no one in my respect for the Rusian soldier. There is no doubt that the average Soviet fighting man was highly motivated. On the minus side, any regime that utilizes troops ( NKVD in this case ) to shoot any common soldiers who didn't show the perceived level of commitment, has to be seriously doubted.

Posted on 29 Apr 2014 23:00:01 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 Apr 2014 23:00:31 BDT
I was aware of no 'exhilaration' expressed by Mr Beevor re. the advance of the Nazi-controlled army into the USSR. Only descriptions of the sheer horror of it.

Posted on 22 Jun 2014 13:20:54 BDT
PsychoPigeon says:
the reviewer is mad because the Germans weren't all made out to be demons sent from the devil himself and instead were portrayed as human beings (which they were). You're an upset leftist.
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