- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd (1 Sept. 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1845133595
- ISBN-13: 978-1845133597
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.7 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 764,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Greatest Battle: The Battle for Moscow, 1941-2 Paperback – 1 Sep 2008
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'A new and beautifully researched account of what had been a poorly understood part of the war' New York Review of Books
About the Author
Andrew Nagorski is a senor editor at Newsweek International. He served two tours as Moscow bureau chief, and won awards for his foreign reporting. He lives in New York.
Top Customer Reviews
I was expecting some sort of analysis of the battle, explaining how various forces moved, fought and so on. This is completly absent. You get only vague impression of which forces were involved, where actual battles were fought and so on. Instead Nagorski concentrates on individual people, often resorting to secondary sources (their children rather than people themselves), but we don't get insight into cruicial phases or even cruicial fights. Often their stories are prefaced by Nagorski describing how he met those peple, how they drank tea and ate cake together and so on.
Nagorski repeats old but disproven cliche that Barbarossa was postponed due to war in Yugoslavia, ignoring other facts that contributed (flooding of bug river, delays in construction of forward airfields....). Not to mention that he obviously can't tell the difference between division and regiment, as seen in description of one of earlies battles on the borders.
Nagorski's book wanders aimlessly from front to Moscow (how people reacted), to irrelevant accounts of Muscovites, to Stalin and his actions and so on. Pointless perception and reaction of world leaders (Churchill, FDR) take significant part of the book yet contribute nothing to reader's understanding of the battle. Yes, everybody was watching, but Nagorski himself describes this battle as pivotal so such attention is logical and describing that it indeed existed only takes space.Read more ›
There are small titbits where he describes the plans for carrying on the fighting in Moscow should the defence of Moscow fail. Example, he tells of one couple he meets, that were to remain in Moscow should the Germans capture it, as resistance fighters but then ends the tale with some worthless comments that they were fortunate to survive an encounter with the tyrannt Stalin. Exactly wat this has to do with the nazi defeat at Moscow I really fail to see.
If you want to read about how evil Stalin was this might be a good place to start. If you are interested in reading about the battle and the tactics used, look elsewhere.
The author notices something which occurred to me on my first visit to Moscow in 1993: there is a monument shaped a bit like a multiple St. Andrew's Cross, which marks the furthest point of advance of the German forces, though in fact I believe an advance scout unit actually got withing sighht of the golden cupolas of the Kremlin churches. Even so, that monument was only a 15 minute ride to Red Square (Nagorski says 30 minutes, but he had not the (?) advantage of being driven by my reckless young driver, Pasha...). That is how near it was and yet how far, as the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS were driven back with huge suffering and lloss of life. The author gives the figures as far as they are known: about 7 million troops etc altogether; German losses (killed, captured --most of whom lasted not very long-- and badly wounded) of 615,000; Soviet losses of perhaps 2 millions.
I liked the way in which the author brought to life the panic in Moscow itself as the Wehrmacht advanced towards the capital: swastikas painted by anti-Soviet Russians on fences and buildings; some tables and samovars brought outside dachas and apartment buildings with the idea of welcoming the conquerors/liberators from sovietism. Also, looting and NKVD activity on a large scale.
I also saw a few facts, like the later career of Khokhlov, which I found interesting. The author is wrong when he says that Soviet soldiers were often unnamed when killed due to lack of dog tags.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A good story, well told, well researched. You can also get the audio tie-in with your Kindle book, so that's a bonus too.Published 11 months ago by Niccolo65
this book gives some view of the fight for moscow it comes across as a massive grinding campaign showing the awakening of russian forces hindered by stalin lack of military... Read morePublished on 21 Nov. 2012 by m. dosa
The Greatest Battle by Andrew Nagorski is a disappointment as a book. As an example of interesting, fast-paced, well-written prose it is very good but it suffers from one major and... Read morePublished on 5 Jan. 2010 by HBH
This book is clearly written by an author with a profound understanding and knowledge of the political history of the Soviet Union and the main protagonists of the conflict up to... Read morePublished on 14 Nov. 2009 by A. Borley
Andrew Nagorski, a journalist for Newsweek, knows how to tell a story, and in this book he tells a lot of good stories. Read morePublished on 19 Jan. 2009 by Jonathan D. Mueller
I purchased THE GREATEST BATTLE because of a general interest in World War II and particularly its turning points. Read morePublished on 22 Jun. 2008 by Mr. Joe
The Eastern Front in World War II is known for many things: the heroic stand of the Soviet troops at Stalingrad, the massive tank battle at Kursk, the 3-year siege of Leningrad... Read morePublished on 4 Feb. 2008 by David Roy