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Heroes of the Soviet Union 1941-45 (Elite) Paperback – October 22, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

An unrivalled illustrated reference source on fighting men and commanders, past and present. Each volume is packed with full colour artwork, making military history uniquely accessible to enthusiasts of all ages.

About the Author

Henry Sakaida was born in Santa Monica, California in 1951. After a Russian language course, he developed an interest in the culture and war history, later leading to his research in the Ukraine and Russia. Eilte 90: ‘Heroines of the Soviet Union 1941–45’ is based on this research, as is this companion volume. His other area of interest is Japanese combat aviation history on which he has written several books. Henry lives with his wife and two children in Temple City, near Los Angeles.
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Product Details

  • Series: Elite (Book 111)
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (October 22, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841767697
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841767697
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,952,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Raymond F. Gillis on September 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a more traditional volume of work, the sequel to Heroines of the Soviet Union...yet it breaks ground in that author Henry Sakaida & artist Christa Hook take on some less than well known subjects and bring them to life magnificently. The stories are inspiring and worthy of Hollywood epics yet the men who lived them saw themselves as merely ordinary folk doing what needed to be done...and there is the genius of this book.

Highly recommended!
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11 of 17 people found the following review helpful By R. A Forczyk VINE VOICE on December 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
Although the Soviet Union awarded over 12,000 medals for valor in the Second World War, few of these men have even been heard of in the West. One suspects that even in Russia today, these heroes from sixty years ago are slipping into obscurity. Amateur historian Henry Sakaida is to be congratulated on bringing these men to light in Osprey Elite #111, Heroes of the Soviet Union 1941-45. Sakaida's narrative of the 30+ individuals that he profiles covers the gamut from aviators, to pilots, to snipers, to sailors, to tankers and infantrymen. Western readers can gain a good impression of the kind of troops that made up the Red Army in 1941-45 in these pages (at least the better ones). However, readers should be aware that the author accepts the Soviet-era claims about these men's exploits with few qualms and that the Soviet Government was more than willing to "manufacture" heroes as needed. While the majority of these men were probably genuine heroes, the exploits of some suggest imaginative citation-writing.

After a short introduction on "the Great Patriotic War," the author provides background on the Hero of the Soviet Union (HSU) award. Interestingly, the author provides data on medal's recipients by branch and ethnic group (e.g. 3 Chechens received the HSU). The author then provides capsule biographies of about 30 recipients of the HSU. The volume includes eight color plates: the Gold Star Medal and the Order of Lenin; sniper Ohlopkov; Lieutenant Gakhokidze at Sevastopol; spy Robert Klein; sailor Golubkov in Manchuria in 1945; pilot Maresyev; medic Kokorin; and partisan Kazei. The author provides no bibliography or notes on source material.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael OConnor TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
Noted aviation historian Henry Sakaida shifts his sights in this Osprey 'Elite' volume, focusing on those Soviet soldiers, sailors, airmen and civilians who were awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union medal in World War II.

The HSU award was the USSR equivalent of the U.S. Medal of Honor or England's Victoria Cross. During the Great Patriotic War, over 11,600 individuals were awarded the HSU medal. Sakaida details the combat exploits of 27 HSU winners, dividing them into categories such as "Aviators," "Snipers," "Naval Troops," "Spies," "Partisans," "Infantrymen," etc.

The stories contained in this book certainly make for compelling reading. Included in this book are the likes of fighter ace Sultan Amet-Khan, spymaster Richard Sorge, sniper Vasily Zaitsev and submariner Alexandr Marinesko. Photographs or drawings of the HSU winners covered are included. Lastly, a color section includes artwork depicting various HSU combats.

As exciting as the HSU accounts are however, I have major problems in accepting these exploits as fact. I don't doubt that the HSU winners were brave men who sometimes accomplished incredible feats. However Stalin's government never let truth stand in the way of propaganda that aided the war effort against the hated Nazis.

Sakaida's book contains a number of official Soviet claims that cause one to question whether we're getting the true story - battles in which 100s of Germans are killed yet the HSU's unit suffers no losses, an infantry Captain who takes part in a 'High Noon' duel with a German officer, an IL-2 pilot credited with destroying large amounts of German equipment including 654 automobiles(!), numerous HSU winners who killed German generals, etc.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dimitrios on February 4, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author gives a lot of information regarding the prestigious Hero of the Soviet Union (HSU) award and after a brief description of the gold star medal itself and its history, he moves on to present the cases of some recipients from the air, ground and naval forces, including some partisans and spies. The details are very interesting and the stories some times border on the unbelievable. There is at least a black and white photograph of each HSU described and the author even uses the section of the color plates to add some more heroes! In some cases he also explains the medals worn by some decorated veterans, something that I found very informative. A nice short book on a little-known subject.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. M. Steiner on July 13, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author appears to write this book as if he approves of the Soviet system, Stalin, and the men who won the HSU. It is not an objective account, and the art is mediocre. There is also a companion book Heroines of the Soviet Union on the female counterparts. I found the ethnic breakdown of who won the HSU, and the privledges associated with the bestowal more interesting than the bulk of the material. I found it odd the author admires a government which was responsible more mass murders in history, except for the Red Chinese. I also tend to believe some of the claims made in the book are a product of hyperbole. I wonder if the author has a degree as one is not mentioned in his bio. I recommend this title for the gullible who are easy to dupe.
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