33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Stalingrad (Paperback)
This big, thick tome was a bestseller when it came out, and it's not hard to see why - it's a gripping, well-written account of probably the grimmest, bleakest battle of the Second World War. Although the battle ended with the German army suffering a terrible loss, the book wisely generates no sense of triumph - both Russian and German armies endured enormous casualties, whilst the city of Stalingrad itself was transformed into a wasteland. Even those lucky enough to survive the battle were either marched to death in brutal captivity, or thrown straight at the German lines.
Particularly interesting is Beevor's research into the Russian army's ruthless intelligence service (which gave the soldiers a stark choice between possible death in combat, or certain death by firing squad), and the great rate of desertion, a state of affairs which resulted in Germans being press-ganged into Russian service, and Russian deserters fighting for the Germans.
All in all, this is a superb book. Whilst other reviews mention the near-contemporary 'Enemy at the Gates', it's also worth mentioning a german film called 'Stalingrad' which was released in the early-90s, and was apparently much better.