Top positive review
14 people found this helpful
Excellent but not complete
on 16 July 2014
This is a very good study of what took place in the Baltic countries during WWII. Prit Buttar is an excellent writer of these kind of books and the presentation is very readable and full of facts that are hard to find in other books.
The Strength of the book is how he manages to bring in the various Baltic peoples efforts and suffering in the overall struggle between Germany and the Soviet Union. There are numerous facts about small resistance movements and all kinds of personal stories that might have little impact on the war but gives us a Baltic approach to what took place.
Some of the facts are quite surprising and need further study. The Most surprising for me was finding out that Jews in some cases helped the Soviets arrest and deport nationals from these republics. If true, and the book is not clear on this, it is something that I guess few have heard about before. An other surprising fact was the Poles efforts to conquer Vilnius before the Soviets got there.
The Chapters on the German and Soviet murders of the civilians in these countries is a hard read but necessary in order to understand what took place. It is quite surprising to read Soviet commanders comments that they were liberating their homeland when they were actually invading these countries again. Few were sorry to get rid of the Germans but few were also happy about receiving the Soviets.
The Tactical and Operational presentation of the fighting between Germany and the USSR are fairly easy to follow and supported by some maps. But it is as always easier if you are familiar with the geography in advance. I was actually reading the book while traveling through Estonia and that improved understanding a lot.
While the ground war is presented in detail the case is not the same with the air and naval operations. There are bits and pieces but not a complete picture. Did the Soviets bomb Baltic cities or were they concentration their efforts on military targets? How was the Kriegsmarine deployed in the area and later the Red Fleet?
As far as I can tell there are few factual mistakes. One is the number of T-34 produced.The actual production figure is twice what he states.
But overall it is a very good book and it is one that I will recommend to anyone interested in the Eastern Front.