Top critical review
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"Few stories are better told than this"
on 14 January 2017
I am planning a to wargame the 1942 Eastern Front as one of my 2017 projects and bought this book as a quick introduction to the pivotal battle of the year. Hence, I am not writing this review with much expert knowledge on the topic. The author clearly knows his stuff, as he should being a lecturer at the royal Military College Sandhurst, and from what I can tell has taken account of some of the more recent revisionist accounts of the battle. Why only OK? With 413 pages of text I was very surprised to find just over 240 of them devoted to Zitadelle. The first circa 170 pages were devoted to the origins of WW2, the rise of Stalin and Hitler and the early Eastern Front campaigns. Yes it made for interesting reading, but was way too much of an introduction to the main topic. Another observation, already made by another reviewer is that the maps are mainly in the wrong places. In my edition the opening chapter on "Zitadelle Preliminaries, February - July 1943" starts on page 173. The most appropriate map to explain this "The Eve of Battle" is back on page 36. So, a few negatives. However when the author gets going on Kursk I found the text quite riveting. In particular the personal, first hand accounts of the fighting really added to what could have been otherwise quite a slog through dry text. In hindsight The Daily Telegraph review on the back cover sums the book up quite well. "Few stories are better told than this". This is the story of Kursk, not a deep academic tome.