- Paperback: 528 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; 1st edition (May 1, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140284583
- ISBN-13: 978-0140284584
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (510 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege: 1942-1943 Paperback – May 1, 1999
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Hitler made two fundamental and crippling mistakes during the Second World War: The first was his whimsical belief that the United Kingdom would eventually become his ally, which delayed his decision to launch a major invasion of Britain, whose army was unprepared for the force of blitzkrieg warfare. The second was the ill-conceived Operation Barbarossa--an invasion of Russia that was supposed to take the German army to the gates of Moscow. Antony Beevor's thoughtfully researched compendium recalls this epic struggle for Stalingrad. No one, least of all the Germans, could foretell the deep well of Soviet resolve that would become the foundation of the Red Army; Russia, the Germans believed, would fall as swiftly as France and Poland. The ill-prepared Nazi forces were trapped in a bloody war of attrition against the Russian behemoth, which held them in the pit of Stalingrad for nearly two years. Beevor points out that the Russians were by no means ready for the war either, making their stand even more remarkable; Soviet intelligence spent as much time spying on its own forces--in fear of desertion, treachery, and incompetence--as they did on the Nazis. Due attention is also given to the points of view of the soldiers and generals of both forces, from the sickening battles to life in the gulags.
Many believe Stalingrad to be the turning point of the war. The Nazi war machine proved to be fallible as it spread itself too thin for a cause that was born more from arrogance than practicality. The Germans never recovered, and its weakened defenses were no match for the Allied invasion of 1944. We know little of what took place in Stalingrad or its overall significance, leading Beevor to humbly admit that "[t]he Battle of Stalingrad remains such an ideologically charged and symbolically important subject that the last word will not be heard for many years." This is true. But this gripping account should become the standard work against which all others should measure themselves. --Jeremy Storey --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
This gripping account of Germany's notorious campaign combines sophisticated use of previously published firsthand accounts in German and Russian along with newly available Soviet archival sources and caches of letters from the front. For Beevor (Paris After the Liberation, 1944-1949), the 1942 German offensive was a gamble that reflected Hitler's growing ascendancy over his military subordinates. The wide-open mobile operations that took the 6th Army into Stalingrad were nevertheless so successful that Soviet authorities insisted they could be explained only by treason. (Over 13,000 Soviet soldiers were formally executed during the battle for Stalingrad alone.) Combat in Stalingrad, however, deprived the Germans of their principal force multipliers of initiative and flexibility. The close-gripped fighting brought men to the limits of endurance, then kept them there. Beevor juxtaposes the grotesque with the mundane, demonstrating the routines that men on both sides developed to cope with an environment that brought them to the edge of madness. The end began when German army commander Friedrich von Paulus refused to prepare for the counterattack everyone knew was coming. An encircled 6th Army could neither be supplied by air nor fight its way out of the pocket unsupported. Fewer than 10,000 of Stalingrad's survivors ever saw Germany again. For the Soviet Union, the victory became a symbol not of a government, but of a people. The men and women who died in the city's rubble could have had worse epitaphs than this sympathetic treatment. Agent: Andrew Nurnberg. History Book Club main selection; BOMC alternate selection; foreign sales to the U.K., Germany and Russia.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Beevor has used all three and produced a work that is the least academic but arguably most exciting of all. He has also used Manfred Kehrig's "Stalingrad: Analyse und Dokumentation einer Schlacht"which is not available in English --- sadly.
Beevor also uses the latest research on the Soviets, including the books by David Glantz. He paid researchers to translate unpublished Soviet documents, which also enrich his text.
The book is clearly an excellent overview of the efforts put into winning at Stalingrad by both sides. As scholars have noted in learned articles, Beevor ignores airpower and only deals sketchily with strategy, but his narrative of the human experience of warfare is more than compensatory.
"Battleground" for the way in which it flowed. Buy it,I guarantee you won't regret it.
STALINGRAD begins, as it must, on June 21, 1941 with the launching of Operation Barbarossa, Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union by three Army Groups - North, Center and South. Beevor first summarizes from a wide perspective Army Group Center's attack on, and repulse from, Moscow, and Army Group South's surge towards the Volga River and the Caucasus Mountains. Then, the focus is narrowed onto the Sixth Army's and Fourth Panzer Army's drive to Stalingrad and the Volga in the summer of `42. The last three-quarters of the volume then limits itself to the Stalingrad siege, the Soviet counterattack on, and encirclement of, the Sixth and Fourth Panzer armies, their subsequent subjugation, and, finally, the fate of the 91,000 Germans taken prisoner. The main characters of the drama are all brought onto the stage: Hitler, Paulus, Schmidt, von Richthofen, Stalin, Zhukov, Yeremenko, Chuikov, and Rokossovsky.
This is a very reader-friendly account for the simple reason that the author supplies enough information, including maps, to keep the narrative moving along without getting bogged down in the minutiae of minor troop movements and a superabundance of unit designations. He's also included (in the paperback edition) two adequate sections of photographs - always a much appreciated touch. The volume met, if not exceeded, my expectations, and I learned a lot.Read more ›
One of the strengths of Beevor's work is his view of the Russian side of the struggle. This is attained through access to now available Soviet archives. It is also attained through the greater willingness of Russian veterans to speak of their experiences without the distorting rhetoric often associated with The Great Patriotic War. The candid discussion of desertion and outright collaboration on the part of some Russian soldiers forms one of the most interesting aspects of this book. Likewise, the fate of approximately 85,000 German soldiers who entered Soviet captivity never to return is treated with even greater detail than that revealed by Craig. Again, I suspect that Beevor enjoyed access to records-- and candor-- that Craig and earlier writers did not.
While I do not completely agree with all of Beevor's conclusions, he makes a convincing case for the primary responsibility of Paulus for the destruction of the Sixth Army through failure to maintain an uncommitted panzer reserve in the late fall of 1942. This failure on the part of a commander is too often ignored in works which blame the destruction of the Sixth Army on Hitler's "stand fast" order and von Manstein's failure to send a "breakout" order.
Students of the campaign should add this volume to their library.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
“Stalingrad” is a well-researched, riveting account of the horrific battle that ultimately led to the failure of Hitler’s offensive in Russia. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Dataman
There has never been a battle quite like Stalingrad's, and hopefully there will be no other battle even close to it... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Waikiki
Another well written and informative story about the effect that the battle for this city had on both Russia and Germany. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Softhands
History that reads like a novel. Great big picture peppered with personal details.Published 2 months ago by Spidey
good book for the winter. I certainly understand the suffering of the soldiers/citizens during this seige and the war in generalPublished 2 months ago by Todd R. Romoser