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on 8 May 2009
I would recommend this book the content is good, informative and very well written, but why on earth did the publisher put it into this awful format the text is small and the design is awful.

but that said the content is very good.
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on 5 June 2011
A very interesting book to study. It encompasses a select strategic overview of Operation Barbarossa with an abundance of anecdotal experiences. In fact the main theme of this book deals with the thoughts and actions of the German soldier as he fights a determined enemy, poor roads, violent rain storms, extreme temperatures and a battlefield that stretched forever.

The book begins a few days before Barbarossa launches as the Germans move to assembly points and make final preparations for the invasion and will end with the Russian counterattack in front of Moscow which started in early December. Between these two events, the strategic highlights are presented for Brest-Litovsk, Minsk, Smolensk, Leningrad, Kiev, Vyazma, Bryansk and the advance toward Moscow.

This overview is interesting but its too limiting for the serious student. David Glantz's "Before Stalingrad" has a more complete picture of Operations Barbarossa, Typhoon. But there is much more to this book than the strategic overview. The author seamlessly weaves hundreds of first hand experiences to help the reader understand the human side of war in addition to the technical. A description of what its like to struggle through muddy roads a foot deep or build a corduroy road or start a tank or truck in -20 weather or to keep your hands from falling off in that same freezing weather. The desperate situation a soldier finds himself in when wounded and miles from his unit or the partisans are hunting you. What is feels like when your assigned to clear a huge dark forest that could have Russians hiding behind every other tree.
Blitzkrieg is a favorite topic in the book and there are sidebars on panzer tactics, pocket encirclement and the costly job of clearing them, logistic problems and more.

The author also provides a number of maps that complements his narrative and includes engagements for Brest-Litovsk, Minsk, Smolensk, Leningrad, Kiev and Moscow. There is another map that shows all of the major encirclements that were cleared by the Germans in 1941.
There are 132 photos to study and you won't find a single commander in the batch. All the photos are of troops on the ground, panzer attacks, POWs. The assortment was good but some are showing their age and are faded. Despite the less than perfect quality, the photos were still interesting.
There is also a brief Notes section, Bibliography, Appendix and Index.

Though it was an interesting read, I was a little disappointed with the incompleteness of the battle coverage. I would still recommend it for new or casual readers of the war for it does highlight the important battles of 1941 and includes some interesting topics that sometimes are overlooked by other authors.
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on 3 November 2000
War Without Garlands is a look at the first months of the German invasion of the Soviet Union. The author looks primarily at the experiences of the German combat soldier, but, unlike most other books about this campaign, Kershaw looks beyond the bald facts of frequent victory to what these victories meant to the German Army and to the individual soldier. The basic premise is that the German Army "fought itself to death", that despite great victories the Germans suffered enormous losses, which when coupled with inadequate equipment, bad intelligence, and amateur leadership led to defeat. Kershaw goes way beyond the conventional view of the Nazi armies as well equipped and led. The bulk of the invaders were no more mobile than Napoleon; most infantry walked and most artillery was towed by horses. But, most importantly, the Red Army stood and fought and did not surrender without a fight unlike previous victims of the Nazis. Added to this is the moral debasement of the Germans due to their racist attitude towards the conquered populations. By the final chapters, and the German defeat outside Moscow, one can almost feel sorry for the poor deluded German soldier. Almost but not quite. I found this book to be much better than expected, and highly reccommend it to anyone interested in WW2, especially to those with an interest in the Eastern Front. Robert Kershaw has written an excellent corrective to the conventional view of the events described, it should be widely read.
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on 7 January 2016
A beautifully produced and illustrated book with clear understandable maps. The authors military experience combined with his knowledge and talent make this a powerful book. The personal descriptions are some times so moving they're difficult yo read.
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on 14 April 2013
If you want a grasp of this period of the Russian/German conflict and the repercussions not only for the soldiers involved but the general public's sufferings then you should buy this book.

Highly recommended.

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on 13 August 2016
if you are interested in the Eastern Front at the very start its a must... the comments by the veterans on both sides give a real insight to what happened and the battles from the common soldiers point of view...
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on 22 December 2016
Probably the best book about the experiences of German soldiers on the eastern front. Harrowing.
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on 3 November 2015
many gripping first hand recollections and not an area of WW2 that is often reffered to.
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on 5 February 2015
Very good read.
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