3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Very moving book, but structure is a bit annoying,
This review is from: A Writer At War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army 1941-1945 (Paperback)
I think I would rather have read a long introduction by Beevor or whoever, and then a proper collection of Grossman's articles - rather than a series of fragments inserted into a narrative history of the War on the Eastern Front written not by Grossman but by Beevor. Maybe this is because Beevor assumes that the reader just won't know the history; even so it's annoying way to handle it.
That said, Grossman is a very interesting and sympathetic character, and there's nothing wrong with Beevor's narrative either. I was very moved both by the enormous privation and sacrifices of some Red Army soldiers - and the powerful contrasts between those who were prepared to sacrifice and suffer, and those who seem to have happily deserted and then "un-deserted" back. It made me think of those who sacrificed themselves to cap the reactor at Chernobyl, and to wonder whether there was something special about the Soviet system after all, to command such self-sacrifice.