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Barbarossa: The Russian-German Conflict, 1941-45 Paperback – June 25, 1985


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Barbarossa: The Russian-German Conflict, 1941-45 + When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler (Modern War Studies)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; Reissue edition (June 25, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688042686
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688042684
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #554,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Many histories of the Second World War written by American and English authors downplay Russia's critical role in the Allied triumph over Germany. Some of this has to do with the Cold War rivalry that emerged after 1945, and perhaps more of it comes from a lack of Russian source material and unfamiliarity with the Russian language. In any event, Alan Clark's classic study of the Eastern Front remains the best book on the subject, "the greatest and longest land battle which mankind has ever fought." These pages concentrate on four major events: Moscow in the winter of 1941, Stalingrad, the Kursk offensive in 1943, and the battles on the Oder at the start of 1945. The author, first a historian and later Margaret Thatcher's secretary of state, suggests that the Russians might very well have won the war on their own, or at least fought the Germans to a standstill, without American intervention. He also makes the provocative point that Hitler's military instincts were often quite good, and usually better than his generals'--contrary to received wisdom. Barbarossa is a reliable and readable account.

About the Author

Alan Clark, the noted historian, entered poilitics in 1972. He was Secretary of State in Margaret Thatcher's cabinet.


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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on July 30, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This very well written history of the German assault into the Soviet Union and the ensuing war along the Eastern front represents a kind of landmark in being one of the earliest of the many histories of that conflict to emphasize the enormous contribution of the Russians to the Allied effort. It was considered controversial in its time because of its emphasis on Soviet strengths and attributes as central to the eventual result. Most other historians had argued that blame for losing the war belonged to Hitler, the Wehrmacht and the well-debated arguments and disagreements among the German General Staff regarding the specifics of the waging the total war Hitler had envisioned must be fought to annihilate the Russian army.

All the basics are here; the tragic misinterpretation of Soviet strength, especially as it applies to Soviet reserve and manpower resources, which were 300 percent higher than believed, the belief that by simply crushing the troops massed between the border and the Leningrad-Moscow-Crimea salient they would crush the communist government and send the country into anarchy, chaos, and ruin, and their own uniform arrogance in believing they could master and quickly dominate this gargantuan nation of several hundred million in a single season. Hitler and the German General Staff were shocked and amazed again and again by the tenacity, resourcefulness, and staying power of an army they had presumed to have already beaten in the opening weeks of the campaign. The author masterfully explains how the Russians, after losing two million men in a single two-month period could rally itself, reorganized, re-outfit, and send another two million into combat so quickly.
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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Tom Munro on December 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
Alan Clark is a former Conservative British member of parliament who is now more famous for publishing a tell all series of diaries which are both witty and iconoclastic. Barbarossa is a book he wrote in the early sixties and is a history of the Nazi invasion of Russia.
The book is a good narrative history of the campaign and one can learn about the ebbs and flows of the military strength of both sides and the key events. The book is now a little dated and probably the best one volume history is When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army stopped Hitler by David Glanz.
The reason why it is dated relates to the partial opening of the former Soviet Archives which now allow for a better understanding of what happened. One example of this is the Mars operation, an attack which was launched on Army Group Centre by General Zhukov at the same time as operation Saturn the attack on the Sixth Army at Stalingrad. Operation Mars was a complete disaster. An initial penetration was cut off and the Soviets lost 200,000 men. After the war Zhukov covered up this failure for reasons of pure vanity. Clark in his history accepts the disinformation which was put out by Zhukov that it was a feint attack to prevent Army Group Centre reinforcing the Sixth Army.
Other material has led to modern historians having a better understanding of the Stalingrad campaigns and the Battle of Kursk. In the past there has been a considerable debate about whether Paulus should have broken out from the Stalingrad encirclement. Glanz has shown that this was not a realistic possibility as the Sixth Army was only supplied on a shoe string and had low stocks of ammunition and petrol prior to the Soviet attack.
Despite all of this Clarks book is interesting.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. G Watson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
Most historians can't write to save their lives. They may be first-class researchers, they may have read voluminously on the subject at hand, may even possess brilliant insights into the motives and personalities of historical figures; but as prose-writers, that is to say, as wordsmiths and phrase-turners, they tend to suck. Or at very least, to lack talent. If you don't believe me, take a random book off the shelf of your local library or bookstore, and read a page. If you can get to the end of it without feeling as if you were chewing on dried oatmeal, chances are you've gotten lucky.

Alan Clark reminds me of David Irving, John Keegan, Stephen Ambrose, and Cornelius Ryan in that whatevver his faults may be as a historian, he certainly knows how to put words together. BARBAROSSA, his recounting of the Russo-German portion of World War II, which claimed 32 million lives between 1941 - 1945, reads like a historical novel. It's a pleasing work, a page-turner that absorbs you even when the subject at hand is truly gruesome, which it often is, and it does an effective job of discussing the war on not merely the military but the political and ideological planes as well. I don't think I can stress enough how approachable and catchy the author's prose is, or how skillful he can be at condensing huge amounts of information into just a few pages or paragraphs. Unfortunately, it's also somewhat dated - it was written before the collapse of the Soviet Union made available mountains of old Red Army reports and documents - and it bears a distinct bias in favor of the Russians, which colors some of Clark's conclusions.
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