Kursk: The Greatest Battle Paperback – 24 May 2012
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The outstanding military book of 2011 for me is Lloyd Clark's Kursk. Many military people have talked about mankind's largest tank battle without having had the opportunity to study it in the depth it deserves. Clark's masterful study not only rectifies this deficiency but also places the battle in its wider context of the whole campaign on the Eastern Front. Moreover the book is highly enjoyable for both military student and casual reader alike.
--Lord Dannatt, former Chief of the General Staff
About the Author
Lloyd Clark is a senior academic in the Department of War Studies at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and Professorial Research Fellow in War Studies, Humanities Research Institute, University of Buckingham. He is the author of several books, including Anzio: The Friction of War and Arnhem: The Greatest Airborne Battle in History, has contributed to numerous others and lectures on military history all over the world. He is a frequent guide to battlefields on four continents and often works on radio and television as both historical adviser and interviewee. He lives in rural Hertfordshire with his wife and three children.
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Top Customer Reviews
In addition to the ground action, the author frequently touches on the air war, showing examples where a battle was won or at least not lost with the help of their air forces. Extending the coverage further, partisans ambushing a supply convey that would never reach Hoth or visiting a field aid station with overflowing patients waiting for attention or sappers trying to clear a mine field during a bitter battle and more are presented in this book. The key officiers like Vatutin, Rotmistrov, Hausser, Manstein and others are discussed with mini profiles developed. Appraisal and analysis is also provided which was good and accurate but with a depth that was a little less than can be found in books by Glantz or Zamulin.
Considering the format and content of this book, I would consider this ideally suited for new or intermediate students of the Campaign. Of the 382 pages devoted to the main section of the book, only 174 pages cover the campaign. The other 208 pages are directed to the first years of the war from Barbarossa to Kharkov 1943 to the buildup for the invasion. The history of the two countries and their dictator's rise to power since the end of the Great War begins the book.Read more ›
Lloyd Clark mixes operational analysis and explanation with first person accounts superbly. This is also the most balanced Kursk book I have come across having read nearly all of them. By balanced I am not implying that all pervious authors were biased but that Lloyd Clark truly gives the picture from both sides of the hill. Most previous accounts tend to concentrate on the battle viewed from either the German or Soviet side. Even the numerous very fine first person accounts are balanced in number between the two sides.
Additionally there is a full explanation of what happened during the second half of the offensive. Most Kursk books give a detailed account of the first four days fighting from the morning of the 5th July to the night of 8th/9th July. Then suddenly you find yourself at the climactic battle of the 12th then the book ends. In this volume the four days between the 8th/9th and the 12th are fully covered and explained. I learnt a lot even though I must have read more than ten odd other Kursk books including the Soviet General Staff report.
Serious military history but also brought to life by fine writing. Will lookout for his books from now on.
The author provides quite a bit of information around the battle, beginning with a look at the rise of both Hitler and Stalin, as a way of introducing the reader to the mindset of both leaders and their armies in the run up to, and during the course of, the Battle of Kursk. Although it is well written, some readers may find this part of the book unnecessary, particularly if they have knowledge of the run up to and launch of Barbarossa. Overall though its inclusion does not detract from the overall work.
If there is one thing I would mark this book down for is the lack of editing, but this is just me being fussy I suspect. Overall, I would recommend this as very worthwhile read and look forward to reading more works by this author.
From the role of the Luftwaffe and its mighty stukas, sweeping down on the hapless Soviet infantry and tanks, to the effect of sleep deprivation on both sides, with exhausted Russian soldiers barely able to keep their eyes open after days of constant fighting, Lloyd Clark has really brought the story to life with details and experiences that added something to my understanding of the epic struggle.
He also does a great job of explaining the strategic background, the situation of both combatants and the reasons that brought them to the battlefield. I've read a lot about World War 2, and had been interested in Kursk for a long time - the great turning point of the entire war, together with the battle of Stalingrad. This book helped me place the battle of Kursk in a different perspective than I had ever seen it before. You see, for Hitler and the Germans, everything now depended on this great gamble. They may not have been able to decisively win the war in the east by July 1943, but they certainly had not lost it yet. Everything was poised on a knife edge - and that's what makes Kursk so endlessly fascinating. Lloyd Clark explains Stalin's frustration at the failure of the Western Allies to open up a second front, and the serious chance that, had the Germans been victorious at Kursk, peace negotiations would have ended the war in the East.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Although a good writer, more then half of the book is spend on the ''how we got there'' events.
I have other books for that, I wanted a more in depth account of the battle and... Read more
A brisk journey through the biggest tank battle of world war 2. The narration is precise, but it is the personal stories of the men that were there that make this a great read.Published 4 months ago by mr s d fairhead
For me this book was a big disappointment: far too much time is spent setting the scene, but anyone coming to read a book about the Battle of Kursk is surely going to know the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Roman Citizen
Have not finished the book but its very well written and informative, glad i was not part of this conflict,Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
not one of the best book, a lot of stories and anecdotes but it lacks some military depth when it comes to order of battles, maps and strategic importance of some objectives, for... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Bruni Gianandrea
This is, one of the best books about a single battle or campaign I've read in quite a while. I like the background chapters, and I also like the way he weaves the memories of... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Andy Casey
Perhaps one of the best books written at this price on Kursk.Published 9 months ago by john stamford