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Four Steps to Death [Paperback]

John Wilson

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Book Description

Aug. 1 2005
In this novel by John Wilson set during the Battle of Stalingrad, three participants -- two fighters and a boy -- are caught in its horrors. Their story is told over seven days of fierce and deadly street-by-street fighting. Vasily is a patriotic Russian soldier determined to rid his country of the hated Nazi invaders -- if he can stay alive long enough. Conrad is a German tank officer, part of the seemingly unstoppable force sweeping eastward over the steppe, expecting a quick victory over Stalin's ill-trained and badly equipped army. Between them is eight-year-old Sergei, whose home is the maze of rubble that used to be the city of Stalingrad. None of them can know that their fates will be intertwined as the cataclysm engulfs them.

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From School Library Journal

Grade 7-9–In 2004, Constable Sergei Andropov, an elderly Russian investigator, is called to a construction site where workers have discovered two long-buried soldiers from the siege at Stalingrad. As he wonders about their identity, his memories flood back to when he was eight years old, and readers are transported back to 1942. Through the eyes of the boy and various soldiers, the long, harrowing siege is realistically recounted. Conrad is a German tank officer full of youthful optimism. His brother, Josef, has already been fighting for three years. Vasily is a naive Russian youth who wants to live up to his fathers expectations, and Yelena is a cool and confident sniper. Secondary characters represent the different archetypes found in standard wartime fiction (the optimist, the realist, the cynic, the joker, the drunk, and the lover). Grim details are meticulously drawn. The action-filled text flows easily from steppe to city battle scenes. Christmas 1942 finds all of the principal characters in Stalingrad, where they are bound together by a cruel twist of fate. Back in the present day, Sergeis reminiscences help him identify the victims. Wilson takes an overlooked moment or perspective in history and makes it come alive. It will appeal to younger teens interested in realistic war fiction. However, older teens would do better to read Erich Maria Remarques All Quiet on the Western Front (Little, Brown, 1929).–Christina Stenson-Carey, Albany Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

John Wilson is the author of more than a dozen historical fiction and non-fiction books for young people and adults. He lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Jan. 11, 2013 Jan. 11 2013
By Cameron - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've read this book five times now and it still has the same effect on me like I first read it. The three stories tie together so well in the end and still manage to strike a nerve of overwhelming sadness in me. It really captures how hard the battle for Stalingrad must have been for both sides. I am very surprised that this book has not won any awards. It is in my opinion an amazing piece of literature.
5.0 out of 5 stars Damn I'm glad I didn't have to fight at Stalingrad Nov. 16 2012
By H. Hansen - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great read. A combination of history, action, tactics and even more history. Buy it. You'll be glad you missed Stalingrad's battle too.

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book Jan. 3 2012
By Michael T. Charter - Published on
This book is well written and has a great plot. It is about WWII and a few soldiers' adventures. Four Steps to Death jumps between 3 or 4 characters and it has a lot of violence. But it is still very fabulous.

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