Review published on June 10, 2016.
At the risk of sounding slightly obsessed, [Ed: Surely not, Reg?] I bring you another review of a book about the Battle of Stalingrad. I have read a great deal about this debacle, the entire subject continuously fascinates me. I reviewed the book ‘Survivors of Stalingrad’ a while back in which transcripts taken from surviving members of the German 6th Army are described in the book. This different book gets the same treatment but from the Russian Army perspective. These transcriptions have been released from the Russian archives recently and they make up the larger portion of the narrative.
This engaging, five hundred page tome, has been written by Jochen Hellbeck, a notable professor of history at Rutgers University, he specializes in Russian History. His use of these transcripts is remarkable, from soldiers to officers, from pilots to nurses; all get a mention in whatever guises they performed during the winter months of 1942-43. He utilized various august bodies to assist in the writing of this book, mainly for translation reasons, but together they have produced a definitive record of the Russian Stalingrad battle. Some details are repeated within various transcripts, which serve to bring to life each person’s story, and neatly cross-references the situations, ie Paulus and his capitulation. This is spoken about by many people, and leaves us in no doubt about how and when it happened.
Make no mistake, a lot of these transcripts make harrowing reading, it also dispels a lot of myths and untruths told about the Russians, many of whom did not even know Stalingrad existed before the war. A lot of black and white pictures accompany the narrative, they also serve to humanize the people and show how it was in reality.
A website ‘facingstalingrad.com ‘ takes us further still in relation to the book. First published in Germany in 2012, then in America, copyright is dated 2015 to Jochen Hellbeck.
I cannot recommend this enough, but it is a specialist subject and not for the faint hearted. How easy it is to purchase I have no idea as this copy came from a lending library.
Reg Seward 5/1
STALINGRAD: The City That Defeated The Third Reich by Jochen Hellbeck
Public Affairs 9781610394963 hbk Oct 2015
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