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War of the Rats Mass Market Paperback – June 6, 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Chief Master Sergeant Vasily Zaitsev ("The Hare") is an expert sniper in the 62nd Army, that force of the Red Army desperately maintaining a toehold in Stalingrad, under siege by the German 6th Army. Zaitsev is so good at his job that he is ordered to establish a sniper school. One of his students is Tania Chernova, an American woman of Russian descent fighting to avenge the execution of her grandparents at the hands of the Nazis. The graduates of The Hare's training become so proficient at killing Germans that the morale of the 6th Army's front-line troops is seriously threatened. Zaitsev becomes a Red Army hero and a winner of the Order of Lenin. As a counter, the Reich's most expert sniper, SS Colonel Heinz Thorvald ("The Headmaster"), is flown from Germany into the Stalingrad battle. His orders - to find and kill The Hare.
There is no superlative too extravagant to describe this book. At 470 pages in paperback, I absorbed it at one sitting on a flight from Washington, DC to Los Angeles. Zaitsev, Chernova and Thorvald were all actual combatants in Stalingrad. Their roles, as well as the movements of both the German and Russian forces in the battle as a whole, are facts lifted from historical sources researched by the author, David Robbins. The insight Robbins gives the reader into the skills and training of the military sniper is absolutely riveting. The action is gritty and realistic. The characters are finely drawn.
One measure of a novel's excellence is its ability to inspire the reader to delve further into the subject. I've just added to my Amazon.com Wish List a history of the Stalingrad siege.
Historical Fiction can be tricky as it is hard to set rules for how closely the Author must follow the facts as he or she knows them. There is no excuse for knowingly writing a story that is error prone and excuse it as fiction, and then call it History when it is easily documented. I do not believe the Author is guilty of this. I do think that any attempt to document all facts surrounding the exploits of a Soviet War Hero as chronicled by their Wartime propaganda mentality is virtually impossible. This is the same military mindset that had the submarine Kurst hitting a 50 year old floating mine, and had those on board alive for days when in fact they had died horrible deaths. This latter event was in peacetime, and still pride required lies that were absurd. During a war, facts often are changed, minimilized or embellished. The management of facts is a major part of any war effort.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of my favorite books - ever!! Real page turner!Published 10 days ago by Amazon Customer
More of an exciting read than expected. Had no problem with the love interest. Such things did take place and the author handled them quite well. The author loves detail. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Robert Burgess
Good detail re snipers set in accurate historical setting. Well written.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
The Battle of Stalingrad, as seen by one of history's greatest snipers, Vasily Zaitsev. Written from personal interviews with him in the late 1990s. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mike Lewis
One of the best books I have ever read. It still makes me sad to this day. I will never forget it.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Fictionalized account of the fuel between the top Russian sniper and his German counterpart. Worth the cost and time.Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer