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When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler [Paperback]

David M. Glantz , Jonathan M. House
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 1 1995 Modern War Studies
By the time Pearl Harbor had ripped apart America's peacetime pretensions, the German blitzkrieg had already blasted the Red Army back to the gates of Moscow. Yet, less than four years later, the Soviet hammer-and-sickle flew above the ruins of Berlin, stark symbol of a miraculous comeback that destroyed the German army and shattered Hitler's imperial designs.

Told in swift stirring prose, When Titans Clashed provides the first full account of this epic struggle from the Soviet perspective. David Glantz, one of the world's foremost authorities on the Soviet military, and Jonathan House present a fundamentally new interpretation of what the Russians called the "Great Patriotic War." Based on unprecedented access to formerly classified Soviet sources, they counter the German perspective that has dominated previous accounts and radically revise our understanding of the Soviet experience during World War II.

Placing the war within its wider political, economic, and social contexts, the authors recount how the determined Soviets overcame their initial disasters to defeat the most powerful army ever assembled. As they vividly show, this truly was war waged on a titanic scale, sweeping across a half-million square miles from Moscow to Berlin, featuring monumental offensives and counteroffensives, and ultimately costing both sides combined a staggering forty million casualties.

Their work offers new revelations on Soviet strategy and tactics, Stalin's role as supreme commander of the Red Army, the emergence of innovative and courageous commanders in the crucible of combat, numerous previously concealed or neglected military operations, German miscalculations on the road to the Red capital, the effect of D-Day and the "second front" on the Soviet effort, and the war's devastating impact on the Soviet economy and civilian population.

An essential volume for anyone interested in World War II or Soviet history, When Titans Clashed will change forever how we look at one of the greatest military confrontations in world history.

This book is part of the Modern War Studies series.


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When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler + Operation Barbarossa: Hitler's Invasion of Russia 1941
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Until now the Soviet-German conflict of WWII has been told largely from the German point of view. This authoritative account, based on newly released Soviet studies, emphasizes the Russian version of events. It reveals, to a greater degree than previously known, how unprepared the Red Army was and how the leadership gradually gained in competence during the Moscow and Stalingrad campaigns. The authors describe how the Werhmacht eventually lost the ability to conduct a general offensive on a wide front while the Soviets learned to focus overwhelming force on a narrow front such as the Kursk salient, where the Red Army finally seized the initiative. The book conveys the colossal scope and scale of the five-year struggle and puts the military aspect in a wider perspective, showing, for example, how the Red Army's defense against the invasion gave the Communist leadership legitimacy. Glantz is an editor of the Journal of Slavic Military Studies; House teaches history at Gordon College in Georgia. Photos.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

"When Titans Clashed represents by all and any reckoning a book whose time has come. The authors' clear and vigorous narrative leaves no doubt about the key decisions and the critical encounters in these massive engagements."--John Erickson, author of The Road to Stalingrad

"A compelling narrative of an epic conflict. No other work has answered with greater authority the lingering historical question--how did the Red Army defeat Nazi Germany?"--Von Hardesty, author of Red Phoenix: The Rise of Soviet Air Power, 1941-1945

"Exceptionally authoritative and exceptionally readable. The cogent assessments of Red Army commanders are not to be missed."--Russell F. Weigley, author of The American Way of War

"Certain to become the standard reference on the most important campaign of the Second World War."--Richard R. Muller, author of The German Air War in Russia

"Corrects longstanding misconceptions and puts a human 'face' on the 'faceless' Soviet army."--O. A. Rzheshevsky, Chief, Department for Studies of the Twentieth-Century Wars, Institute of World History, Moscow

"Indispensable."--Dale R. Herspring, author of The Soviet High Command, 1967-1989


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
After reading many books on the subject I found "When Titans Clashed" provides far more detail on the battles during the Russian offensives post-Kursk to Berlin in 1945. These battles are covered sparingly in other books which concentrate heavily on the German victories of 1941/42 upto Stalingrad. It also dispels a lot of common misconceptions of vast Russian hordes, throwing vast manpower to be slaughtered and overrun German lines by explaining that it was common Russian military practice from 1943 onwards to feint an offensive against German strongholds and then attack with massive concentration against the most weakly defended German positions, giving the impression to the German troops and officers who faced these "human waves" that the scale of the offensives was the same across the entire front. While I have a great interest in the Eastern Front this book never really gave me an insight into how the war was fought. After reading the order of battle which consists of dozens of Russian officer's names and ranks, the endless list of regiments and armies involved in each battle you lose the sheer scale and picture of what was really taking place. Lists of casualty figures don't really tell the story. There is only a few sentences devoted to the atrocities commited (by both sides) and partisan involvement. The most frustrating part was right at the end of the book after 250 pages of explaining which Russian general was in charge of which army and of which front and against which panzer division he mentions that to the Germans war in the East was "unmitigating horror" and this is as far as he goes to giving any human element in the whole book and does not "waste" any words elaborating it. Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent ! Very well researched. June 11 2004
By DS
Format:Paperback
David Glantz is without a doubt the foremost expert on the Eastern Front (1941-45) especially after professor John Errickson passed away. Together with Jonathan House the have written a clear and extremely accurate account of the Russo-german War, with a well deserved emphasis on the soviet side (the Soviets were the victors after all!). The maps are very detailed but a little bit crowded with information. The text is excellent and blends the in depth knowledge of Glantz with the writing abilities of House. I found the appendices very useful, especially those wich cover the soviet losses during each campaign of the Great Patriotic War. One really wonders how a nation could withstand such tremendous losses and not only recover but beat desicively a hard, experienced, well armed and professional enemy like the Wehrmacht.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Armies, Corps and Generals March 13 2003
Format:Paperback
A strategically complete text, one of the smallest in length that covers the entire Eastern Front including the Russo-Finnish War, with some pages devoted to the Japanese incursions into Manchuria. Small in length because one quarter of the text's pages relate to pure end notes, source origins and charts.
Small can be good. However, it soon becomes apparent that the text forms a mere guide as to the movements of Armies, Corps and the names of the Generals commanding them. Therefore, for the reader looking for strategic OOB research material this book may assist you greatly. Yet, for the reader looking for the why's and wherefore's of the campaign - the how's as to the methods used to cram armies into 5 kilometer frontages, switching them from point to point, the logistics of supplying them and of fighting within the mud and snow, little is offered here.
Readers are provided with a comfortable introduction as to the make-up and formation of the German and Red Armies leading to Barbarossa's start. Yet, repetition becomes a common trait and a few typos do creep in - mainly noticable to those making the effort to follow occurences across the various Soviet Fronts. On this point, whilst thankfully this text does provide maps, these are few and far between. To genuinely keep in pace with the narrative, a secondary map source is highly recommended.
In summary, a mediocre text that provides an overview of the entire Russian Campaign but I'm inclined to suggest that for the novice to mid level historian/researcher, Osprey's Ost Front or similar such basic coverages, will provide an even greater insight. Experienced historians may find merit in this text's constant recitation of commanders' names. For those wishing to understand the suffering and daring of the war's participants, the grit of operational action - definitely look elsewhere. In this text the crucial, January 1942 to December 1943 flies by.
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Format:Paperback
David M. Glantz's "When Titans Clashed" is a comprehensive but not overlong operational history covering the entire Russo-German conflict from 1941-45, plus an interesting chapter on the Soviet operations in Manchuria against the Japanese Army. It's exhaustive, it's readable, it's filled with maps, it does include all the recent archival material worth being included, it's balanced even taking in account the focus on the Russian point of view. What could you ask for more? Well, a couple of things, but more of this later.
"When Titans Clashed" is a book that has already been dissected in every possible way, and is, if not a clear-cut best seller, definitely a popular. So I'll just underline the three main reasons why it a mandatory text for anyone even remotely interested in the subject, the first being that colonel Glantz does his own job, and not someone else's. In other words, he's a military expert, and this is an operational, and not political, social or human dissection of the conflict. Richard Overy's "Russia's War" aimed at being all that, and failed. Sticking to his guns, Glantz gives to this (not too big) book a greater level of detail,. Of course, we still need a good political, human and social history of the war - while Robert Thurston's "The People's War : Responses to World War II in the Soviet Union" is a fine social study of wartime Russia, it may be a bit too difficult for the casual reader. But Glantz's focus was on military operation, and this book is just that - a military history.
Second. Glantz comes from old guard: i.e., he works mainly on primary/archival sources, and he knows how to separate gold from garbage. WWII history is a tricky business, and Eastern History (given the political sensitivity of the campaign's outcome) is even more so.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Russian View
Somewhere along the way I realized the scope of the eastern front in world war II as opposed to the western theatre operations more familiar to North American readers. Read more
Published on Nov. 19 2010 by WordJones
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent read
At first glance, this book by Glantz may seem dry as dust and a wee bit technical. It is. However, the author manages to keep the reader intrested by shedding a new light on the... Read more
Published on Oct. 22 2003 by mathieu laine
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok but not great.
I was looking for something like David Irving's Seminal work Hitler's war but from Stalis perspective. Read more
Published on June 14 2003 by rafe
4.0 out of 5 stars Post Glasnost Study of the Russian Front
David M. Glantz and Jonathan House argue that the Red Army defeated the forces of Nazi Germany because of the superior combat effectiveness of its forces. Read more
Published on March 12 2003 by Gregory Canellis
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book but some wrong facts
This is in one word an excellent work shedding light on the Russian (Soviet) contribution to the defeat of fascism. Read more
Published on May 9 2002 by DICK
4.0 out of 5 stars Who stopped Hitler?
The Russians - is the answer of two American military historians. American and British contribution was large and important (and the authors correctly stress that), but the... Read more
Published on Dec 28 2001 by Igor Biryukov
1.0 out of 5 stars embarrassingly one-sided, Pravda-like in objectivity
If you're tired of histories of the Russo-German conflict that rely heavily on German generals' memoirs, here's the "evil twin"! Read more
Published on Aug. 28 2001 by Jim Reed
5.0 out of 5 stars Eastern Front History that is dirty and detailed
Glantz's book is perhaps the finest one volume history of the Eastern Front for the serious student interested in an OPERATIONAL history rather than a novelized drama about it. Read more
Published on April 26 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars an overview of the eastern front that reads like a novel
starts with how both nazi and soviets armies were formed before the conflict, then follows the progress of the war by geography and operation. authoritative. Read more
Published on April 21 2001 by J. R. Derry
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