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Stalingrad: How the Red Army Triumphed (Pen & Sword Military) Hardcover – 19 Apr 2007
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From the Publisher
`Michael Jones' book...represents a milestone in the treatment
of the battle.... Jones is able to zero in on the psychological state of
Red Army combatants and successfully determine just what motivated them to
fight and endure as they did in such extreme circumstances....The result is
highly effective and utterly captivating. Previous accounts have been
unable to fully convey the desperate ferocity of the battle. Now we see it
in all its horror - and better understand the courage of Stalingrad's
defenders. This is the finest history of its type published to date.'
David M. Glantz, from the Foreword
About the Author
Michael K Jones is an author and historian.Michael Jones is well-known for his innovative, controversial studies of warfare. A former university lecturer in medieval history, he now works as a freelance writer, presenter and battlefield tour guide. He has written numerous articles on warfare for journals. Since 1984 he has been guiding visitors around battlefields, including Stalingrad, Bannockburn, and the battlefields of the Hundred Years' War. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
A good read in its own right and it does tell the story from a welcome Soviet respective. But it should have been called:
Stalingrad: Voices of the surviving Red Army veterans. How the Red Army endured the battle of Stalingrad.
For that is what it is, the retelling of the battle from the voices of its survivors. It also leaves you quite short since it only mentions Operation Uranus in passing and that is really how the Red Army triumphed.
The author, Michael K. Jones, brings to life the struggle from the Soviet/Russian view and goes far in correcting presistent myths. Certain untruths have been copied so many times that they have a life of their own, such as the sniper duel from Enemy at the Gates - overwhelming evidence suggest that Erwin König or Heinz Thorvald never excisted. And I truely liked the story of Pavlov's House where the defence is well described and quite contrary to the official story that has been repeted many times. In fact the Red Army defenders never knew it by that name and Pavlov wasn't their main hero but a later product of Soviet Propaganda. So in this way the book does bring a very fresh outlook and paints a picture far more complex and interesting than the myths many other sources rely on and have a life of their own not based on fact but repitition.
For these reasons I liked the book and congratulate the author.
The Lady Doth Protest too much methinks.
The first 100 pages are largely devoted to Vasily Chuikov the Commander of the Soviet forces and the man he was. Here the the author Michael K. Jones spends a lot of time criticizing Anthony Beevor who paints Chuikov as a cold blooded monster (apparently) while Jones goes far to portray him as a hero. Uning up almost a hundred pages too do this is over the top and bad style. I would have liked it better had the auther taken a more impartial view and allowed me to take my own conclusions and I am no great fan of Beevor in any case.
The style of the rest of the book is similar, each chapter starts by adressing a myth and correcting it and then tells the story in detail before a summary at the end. In this it reminds me of a self help book rather than a good narrative.
A fine book in itself and a fresh insight into the battle from the Soviet side (this book is entirely a Soviet viewpoint, similar as older books from the Easten Front were from a pure German standpoint) and does good work adressing and correcting myths. But goes well too far in showing the Soviets in a heroic light that I found it distracting. An author of a history book should not take sides as Jones does and it would have made a better impact had he presented the story but allowed me to draw the conclusions.
I would recommend it if you are really interested in Stalingrad and the Eastern Front as it does provide the long neglected view of the Red Army soldiers and I am thankful for Jones in presenting these stories. But it is far from the better books on military history I have read.
Professor Richard Homes was once the master of telling the story of the ordinary soldier at war, the baton has clearly now been passed to Michael K Jones. Jones takes this type of narrative prose to an all new level having been able to obtain accounts from veterans whilst actually touring the battlefield with them and having access to both their private papers and actual contemporary combat records.
The book sets the scene for the overall conflict then comprehensively takes us through the battle detailing all the key events. The details of the 14 September and 14 October when the Red Army all but collapsed are chilling. The narrative is compulsive; Jones clearly knows the terrain like the back of his hand so that you get a real sense of being there. The pictures from the battlefield as it is today are somehow unnerving as they draw the whole story into reality. The book is not over long and wont be half read and left on a shelf.
Just how Jones managed to get access to so many veterans to tell their stories is a mystery to me. How do you get an ageing ex Deputy Commander of the Warsaw Pact or a revered War Poet to meet you and travel with you?
This book sets the standard and is a comprehensive work, I hope Jones will be able to bring his unique approach to the other major areas of the War in the East, hopefully this book will be the first in a series.
Any chance of Kharkov, Sevastopol or Leningrad?
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Most recent customer reviews
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