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Stalingrad: How the Red Army Triumphed Paperback – Mar 10 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Pen and Sword; Reprint edition (March 10 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848842015
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848842014
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 558 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #526,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x99d09e40) out of 5 stars 26 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a47c378) out of 5 stars This book turns accepted Soviet history on it's head,.. brilliantly! Nov. 21 2007
By Brendan J. Mctear - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is as David Glantz says in the foreward, "a milestone" in the study of the Soviet side of the Battle. It turns a lot of the already accepted history on it's head. I loved reading it.

If you have read the other great works on this Battle and have a basic understanding of the battle's timeline, than this is a must read. It brings detail and life to people like Krylov, Rodimstev and especially Vasily Chuikov. In fact the book doubles as a reading aid to the now out of print memoire of Vasily Chuikov.

It also discounts and re-arranges every old Soviet Propaganda account of the Battle, including Chuikovs. The new sources are Soviet veterans including at least three which I can remember seeing in the BBC documentary War of the Century. I was stunned and a little hurt even to find out some of the most famous episodes and legends of this Battle were lies. I won't spoil the surprises for you. But what makes this book so amazing is that the new "truths" that Michael Jones has pieced together are even more compelling and authentic stories than the originals.

I was very happy to finally read a history of the Russian side of this story that was not ashamed of saying that the Red Army at Stalingrad was a heroic group of soldiers who fought to the death because in their minds it was the right thing to do. Their general's example of courage and determination taught them that they were fighting a must win cause. Often other authors on the subject play up Stalin's terror against his own people as a chief motivator for their will to fight. While it was most certainly true that Stalin ruled with an iron fist, it is also true that the atrocities carried out by the Nazis were certainly adequate motivation to fight an ultimate battle of survival against a 'hated invader.'

I would not recommend this book as your first introduction to the Battle of Stalingrad. It only covers the Soviet side of the battle and only within the city itself. Also I believe the author assumed the reader would have some background on this battle so he doesn't repeat a lot of the basic details of the battle, except for when he's about to offer some new evidence to discount it!

I recommend reading Anthony Beevor, John Erickson, Vasily Chuikov (out of print but available used on line), Joel S. Hayward, Stephan Walsh and even the classic William S. Craig versions of the story first before approaching this book.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a0bd4b0) out of 5 stars Excellent account of Stalingrad. Aug. 16 2007
By Logibear64 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Michael K. Jones has written an extraordinary account of Stalingrad told by the Soviet veterans of the battle. As one reviewer has pointed out Jones' book challenges some of the myths of Stalingrad particularly from the Russian side. However, the crux of the book is material from the Soviet 62nd Army and accounts by Russian veterans of the battle present a harrowing account of life and death in the Stalingrad.
A book like this is long overdue. In the past many books even the excellent one by Beevor gives a panoramic view of the struggle at Stalingrad. Others have focused on the German accounts and documents readily accessible in the west. However, an in-depth study of the common Soviet soldier fighting in Stalingrad has been missing until now. Michael K. Jones has filled a huge void in Stalingrad literature.
If you are an enthusiast of the "German" side of the battle there is few if any German accounts in the book. However, the author has used German material to cross-reference the "Russian" accounts and documents of the struggle. For those stuck on the German side you will come to appreciate the German struggle at Stalingrad by becoming ferocious resistance of their Soviet opponent too often dismissed as a Communist automaton. In this book the Red soldier is not only motivated by fear of commissars and the Gulag but more importantly fiercely motivated by love of country to fight an invader to the death even against hopeless odd.
Michael K. Jones "Stalingrad" is a must for any serious student of the battle!!!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a0831e0) out of 5 stars A stirring account of what so many suffered and so few survived Nov. 27 2007
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
At the outset, I feel obligated to acknowledge that I am unqualified to determine to what extent Michael J. Jones's and Antony Beevor's accounts of the Battle of Stalingrad are...and are not...accurate, nor have I read any of Beevor's books. The remarks that follow focus entirely on Jones's book and explain why I hold it in such high regard. Briefly, here are some facts that help to establish the context for the account that Jones provides. After Germany and the Axis powers invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 and advanced deep into Soviet territory, they suffered a series of defeats and failed in their drive to conquer Moscow. The United States had by then declared war on Germany and Hitler wanted to end the fighting on the Eastern Front or at least minimize it before the U.S. became deeply involved in the war in Europe.

Hitler was determined to invade and occupy Stalingrad because it was a major industrial city on the banks of the Volga River (a vital transport route between the Caspian Sea and northern Russia) and its capture would secure the left flank of the German armies as they advanced into the Caucasus with large oil deposits, desperately needed by the German army. Also, the city bore the name of Hitler's nemesis, Joseph Stalin, and capturing it would be an ideological and propaganda coup. Stalin also had an ideological and propaganda interest in defending the city but there were severe constraints in terms of time and resources. The Red Army, at this stage of the war, was less capable of highly mobile operations than was the German Army. Stalin's strategy was to have his troops engage in combat inside the city, an area that could be dominated by short-range small firearms and artillery rather than armored and mechanized tactics. The Battle of Stalingrad began in August of 1942 and continued until February of 1943. Estimates vary but most military historians agree that the combined casualties were at least 1.5 million and probably more. Jones examines the 65-day period during which the German forces began their siege of Stalingrad and took the battle into the city until the Russians launched a counter-offensive that eventually trapped and destroyed the German Sixth Army and other forces around the city.

There are several reasons why I think so highly of his book. Here are two. First, I was fascinated by the leadership style of Lieutenant-General Vasily Chuikov, Commander of the 62nd Russian Army. As Chuikov later wrote, "The most important thing I learnt on the banks of the Volga was to be impatient of blueprints. We constantly looked for new methods of organizing and conducting battle, starting from the precise conditions in which we were fighting." According to Jones, "Making a stand in such terrible conditions required absolute ruthlessness. Chuikov demanded the utmost of his men, insisting that they hold their lines come what may. It was a pitiless edge of steel behind Stalingrad's defenders."

Jones also quotes Anatoly Mereshko, a 20-year-old lieutenant, who served on the HQ staff of the 62nd Army, working directly under Chuikov. According to Mereshko, "Yuri Bondarev, in his film Hot Snow, did not hide the fact that one of his heroes, General Bessenov, was almost an exact prototype of Chuikov. The words he used when necessary to stop the German advance are virtually the same: `I allow no right of withdrawal. Not a step back! The present lines must be held to the last man. For everyone, without exception, there can b only one justification for leaving their position - death.'" Whenever necessary, Chuikov, could be - and was - merciless. But eventually under his leadership, the Russian forces prevailed.

Having already seen the film Enemy at the Gates, I was especially interested in what Jones shares in Chapter Eight concerning "The Birth of `Sniperism.'" In the film, the Russian sniper (Vassili Zaitsev portrayed by Jude Law) becomes involved in what amounts to an on-going duel with his German counterpart (Major König portrayed by Ed Harris). Both in the film and in reality, the snipers are caught up in the Battle of Stalingrad but there are significant differences that Jones cites, notably Beevor's claim that Zaitsev originated "sniperism." Jones's research suggests that this "is a wonderful myth - but nevertheless propaganda rather than truth. Zaitsev was a skilful teacher [who served with distinction in the 1047th Regiment of Colonel Nikolai Batyuk's 284th Rifle Division, killing more than 200 German soldiers] but he did not initiate the sniper movement." Proper credit should be given to Alexander Kalentiev who served in the same regiment. Be that as it may, Jones provides a wealth of information about the "tough, self-reliant hunters" whose singular temperament and talents as snipers are juxtaposed with the massive forces of two great armies engaged in perhaps the bloodiest combat throughout the entire war.

When concluding his account, Jones quotes Mereshko's observation that "Stalingrad was a smithy for commanders and many of those who distinguished themselves in battle went on to lead armies in their own right." Today, many of those commanders are buried on the Mamaev Kurgan, the hill that dominated the battle for the city. Vasily Chuikov is buried there. "Somehow in the burning hell that was Stalingrad, Chuikov created an army able to withstand everything the Germans threw at it. Their heroic story has struggled hard to come to life, caught between the propagandist clichés of the communist state - insinuating everyone at Stalingrad was heroic, and that the city would never have fallen to the enemy - and Western cynicism, which believes that Red Army heroism was only created at the barrel of a gun. Neither suffices. This terrible fight took Chuikov and his troops to the very limits of human endurance, and their testimony, now finally recovered, possesses a universal significance and power." In November of 1942, on and around Mamaev Kurgan, approximately 300,000 soldiers of the Wehrmacht, Axis allies, and Hilfswilligers were encircled and destroyed in a massive Soviet counter attack.

Even after reading this book, I find it incomprehensible that any of the Russian forces who defended Stalingrad and any of their opponents survived 65 days of being in the "burning hell" until finally, Friedrich Wilhelm Ernst Paulus surrendered on January 31, 1943, a day after he was promoted to the rank of Generalfeldmarschall by Adolf Hitler. I am grateful to Michael K. Jones for helping me to understand and appreciate "the universal significance and power" of what so many suffered and so few survived.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a55d7ec) out of 5 stars At last! Aug. 13 2014
By baikonour - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
At last a book which pays tribute to the Red Army commanders and soldiers defending Stalingrad, giving them the full credit they deserve, without any distortions, using nothing but real facts. Not all soldiers or commanders were heroes, but on the other hand those who were have not "been forced to", as it had been usual to believe for so many years in the west. Moreover, heroism was contagious, like said Chuikov, commander of the Soviet 62nd Army who did not give up in this unequal and tragic fight, and to whom the book is largely devoted. One of the major leitmotiv is the role of the will, courage and leadership by example of so many commanders in this army, along with a deep, genuine care for their subordinate soldiers, as opposed to the traditional belief that Red Army men were thrown into battle at the point of a gun, driven like cattle and forced to charge in bloody assaults. Using multiple testimonies and new evidence, the author demonstrates that the battle of Stlalingrad could NOT have been won by fear and coercition only. The main factor was somewhere else, in an intangible spiritual force never seen before that was so particular to Stalingrad. That aspect has long been overlooked and diminished in the Cold War years, and even after if you consider a well-known bestseller published in late 90s which sometimes seems to be more focusing on anti-communist propaganda than on the battle itself. Only recently the real motivation factors for the incredible Soviet stand at Stalingrad are beginning to be analysed and the truth brought to light without any bias.
M. Jones relies mainly on veterans' accounts, these provide the backbone material and the book is totally structured around them. The approach is thematical rather than chronological, and deals extensively with the psychological aspects. Some myths forged in the Soviet era are finally deconstructed without diminishing the bravery of the defenders, on the contrary: whereas events are described in their real context we learn about new heroes and yet unknown facts.
A splendid contribution to the knowledge in military history.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a47de88) out of 5 stars Stalingrad Dec 20 2011
By lotsofguns1 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Very good book. Has many quotations by soldiers who were there rather than just a military analysis. This book details the constant hell the people in Stalingrad suffered as this war within a war was fought. It is hard to imagine the magnitude and conditions of this battle. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers fighting in a small area, bitter cold, over 1.5 million total casualties. This book gives a good history of the battle and makes me think about how valuable peace is.