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Stalingrad / Antony Beevor.

By: Beevor, Antony, 1946- [author.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London : Penguin, 2011Edition: [New edition].Description: xxv, 493 pages, [16] pages of plates : illustrations, maps, portraits ; 20 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780141032405 (pbk.).Subject(s): Stalingrad, Battle of, Volgograd, Russia, 1942-1943DDC classification: 940.5421747 Summary: In October 1942, a panzer officer wrote 'Stalingrad is no longer a town... Animals flee this hell; the hardest stones cannot bear it for long; only men endure'. The battle for Stalingrad became the focus of Hitler and Stalin's determination to win the gruesome, vicious war on the eastern front. The citizens of Stalingrad endured unimaginable hardship; the battle, with fierce hand-to-hand fighting in each room of each building, was brutally destructive to both armies. But the eventual victory of the Red Army, and the failure of Hitler's Operation Barbarossa, was the first defeat of Hitler's territorial ambitions in Europe, and the start of his decline. An extraordinary story of tactical genius, civilian bravery, obsession, carnage and the nature of war itself, Stalingrad will act as a testament to the vital role of the soviet war effort.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

In October 1942, a panzer officer wrote 'Stalingrad is no longer a town . . . Animals flee this hell; the hardest stones cannot bear it for long; only men endure'.

The battle for Stalingrad became the focus of Hitler and Stalin's determination to win the gruesome, vicious war on the eastern front. The citizens of Stalingrad endured unimaginable hardship; the battle, with fierce hand-to-hand fighting in each room of each building, was brutally destructive to both armies. But the eventual victory of the Red Army, and the failure of Hitler's Operation Barbarossa, was the first defeat of Hitler's territorial ambitions in Europe, and the start of his decline.

An extraordinary story of tactical genius, civilian bravery, obsession, carnage and the nature of war itself, Stalingrad will act as a testament to the vital role of the soviet war effort.

"Reissued with a new preface"--T.p. verso.

Previous ed.: 2007 (same ISBN).

Includes bibliographical references and index.

In October 1942, a panzer officer wrote 'Stalingrad is no longer a town... Animals flee this hell; the hardest stones cannot bear it for long; only men endure'. The battle for Stalingrad became the focus of Hitler and Stalin's determination to win the gruesome, vicious war on the eastern front. The citizens of Stalingrad endured unimaginable hardship; the battle, with fierce hand-to-hand fighting in each room of each building, was brutally destructive to both armies. But the eventual victory of the Red Army, and the failure of Hitler's Operation Barbarossa, was the first defeat of Hitler's territorial ambitions in Europe, and the start of his decline. An extraordinary story of tactical genius, civilian bravery, obsession, carnage and the nature of war itself, Stalingrad will act as a testament to the vital role of the soviet war effort.

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

The silence that fell on 2 February in the ruined city felt eerie for those who had been used to destruction as a natural state. Grossman described mounds of rubble and bomb craters so deep that the low angled winter sunlight never seemed to reach the bottom, and 'railway tracks, where tanker wagons lie belly up, like dead horses.' Some 3,500 civilians were put to work as burial parties. They stacked frozen German corpses like piles of timber at the roadside, and although they had a few carts drawn by camels, most of the removal work was accomplished with improvised sleds and handcarts. The German dead were taken to bunkers, or the huge anti-tank ditch, dug the previous summer, and tipped in. Later, 1,200 German prisoners were put to work on the same task, using carts, with humans instead of horses pulling them. 'Almost all members of these work parties,' reported a prisoner of war, 'soon died of typhus.' Others, 'dozens each day' according to an NKVD officer in Beketovka camp - were shot on the way to work by their escorts. The grisly evidence of the fighting did not disappear swiftly. After the Volga thawed in spring, lumps of coagulated blackened skin were found on the river bank. General de Gaulle, when he stopped in his Stalingrad on his way north to Moscow in December 1944, was struck to find that bodies were still being dug up, but this was to continue for several decades. Almost any building work in the city uncovered human remains from the battle. More astonishing than the number of dead was the capacity for human survival. The Stalingrad Party Committee held meetings in all districts 'liberated from Fascist occupation', and rapidly organized a census. They found that at least 9,976 civilians had lived through the fighting, surviving in the battlefield ruins. They included 994 children, of whom only nine were reunited with their parents. The vast majority were sent off to state orphanages or given work clearing the city. The report says nothing of their physical or mental state, witnessed by an American aid worker, who arrived very soon after the fighting to distribute clothes. 'Most of the children', she wrote, 'had been living in the ground for four or five winter months. They were swollen with hunger. They cringed in corners, afraid to speak, to even look people in the face.' The Stalingrad Party Committee had higher priorities. 'Soviet authorities were immediately reinstalled in all districts of the city', it reported to Moscow. On 4 February, Red Army Commissars held a political rally for 'the whole city', both civilian survivors and soldiers. This assembly, with its long speeches in praise of Comrade Stalin and his leadership of the Red Army, was the Party's version of a service of thanksgiving. The authorities did not at first allow civilians who had escaped to the East Bank to return to their homes, because of the need to clear unexploded shells. Mine-clearance teams had to prepare a basic pattern of 'special safe paths'. But many soon managed to slip back over the frozen Volga without permission. Messages appeared chalked on the side of ruined buildings, testifying to the numbers of families broken up by the fighting: Mama, we are all right. Look for us in Beketovka. Klava.' Many people never discovered which of their relatives were alive or dead until after the war was over. Excerpted from Stalingrad by Antony Beevor All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

More than half a century later, the Battle of Stalingrad still strikes powerful chords. Its titanic scale and ferocity, the endurance and fighting capacities of the combatants, and the huge importance of the outcome to the larger world war beyond combine to give the terrific clash on the Volga a unique, epic quality. All this comes out splendidly in this book. Beevor (Paris After the Liberation, LJ 8/94) has drawn on archival and published sources in Russia and the West, along with revealing interviews with veterans on both sides. The savagery of Stalin's regime toward its own people, struggling to emerge both alive and victorious from the deadly battle with the invading Germans, has not been bettered. This is a thoroughly mesmerizing narrative to be read by specialists and generalists alike. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/98.]ÄRobert H. Johnston, McMaster Univ., Hamilton, Ont. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

This gripping account of Germany's notorious campaign combines sophisticated use of previously published firsthand accounts in German and Russian along with newly available Soviet archival sources and caches of letters from the front. For Beevor (Paris After the Liberation, 1944-1949), the 1942 German offensive was a gamble that reflected Hitler's growing ascendancy over his military subordinates. The wide-open mobile operations that took the 6th Army into Stalingrad were nevertheless so successful that Soviet authorities insisted they could be explained only by treason. (Over 13,000 Soviet soldiers were formally executed during the battle for Stalingrad alone.) Combat in Stalingrad, however, deprived the Germans of their principal force multipliers of initiative and flexibility. The close-gripped fighting brought men to the limits of endurance, then kept them there. Beevor juxtaposes the grotesque with the mundane, demonstrating the routines that men on both sides developed to cope with an environment that brought them to the edge of madness. The end began when German army commander Friedrich von Paulus refused to prepare for the counterattack everyone knew was coming. An encircled 6th Army could neither be supplied by air nor fight its way out of the pocket unsupported. Fewer than 10,000 of Stalingrad's survivors ever saw Germany again. For the Soviet Union, the victory became a symbol not of a government, but of a people. The men and women who died in the city's rubble could have had worse epitaphs than this sympathetic treatment. Agent: Andrew Nurnberg. History Book Club main selection; BOMC alternate selection; foreign sales to the U.K., Germany and Russia. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

Stalingrad not only defined a decisive turning point in the Second World War but also symbolized the scarcely believable character of the German-Russian war. War is not nice, and when directed by two monstrous supremos like Hitler and Stalin, it can reach an all-time crescendo of pitiless brutality. Beevor, an assiduous researcher who skillfully paints the telling detail into the complete canvas, preludes the fate of the German Sixth Army with the predatory purpose of its campaigns. The Sixth Army was implicated in the Babi Yar massacre of 1941, and, in 1942 under a new commander, Friedrich Paulus, it showed little mercy to Soviet soldiers captured on its advance to Stalingrad. On the Soviet side, Stalin insisted on draconian discipline to stop desertions, and the Soviet soldier, staring at death in every direction, grimly dug into the city's rubble. Exploring empathically how soldiers on both sides felt at being trapped in that titanic totalitarian cauldron, Beevor weaves official reports, personal letters, and recently released Soviet security reports into a superior war narrative. Focusing on the soldiers' morale, its rising optimisms and sinking despairs, while not neglecting the military strategies ruling their lives, Beevor has composed a history of Stalingrad unlikely to be bettered. --Gilbert Taylor

Kirkus Book Review

From independent historian Beevor (coauthor, Paris After the Liberation, 1994, etc.), a meticulously researched and gripping account of the horrific battle that culminated in the collapse of Adolf Hitler's blitzkrieg offensive in Russia, and ultimately ordained German defeat in WWII. In June 1941, when Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, with a vast surprise attack comprising three large army groups, a quick defeat of the Red Army seemed probable if not inevitable: Germany's massive blitzkrieg style of war had quickly subjugated Poland and France. But, as Beevor makes clear, Hitler never prepared his army adequately for war with the Russian behemoth, and the blitzkrieg petered out as the Russian winter closed in. Hitler delayed the attack on Moscow, and by the early spring of 1942, when General Friedrich Wilhelm Paulus assumed command of the Sixth Army, the combination of surprise and terror on which the Nazis had depended was lost. Despite strategic victories along the way, the objective, Stalingrad, proved elusive, and after Paulus's repeated sanguinary assaults against the city proved ineffective, his position became a trap for thousands of German troops, few of whom survived the battle or the rigors of the Soviet gulag. Beevor is evenhanded in his treatment of the two sides: By contrasting the German and Soviet points of view, he conveys the experiences of Axis generals and fighting men (who comprised thousands of Romanian, Hungarian, and disaffected Russians as well as Germans) in the midst of a total war, and those of Soviet soldiers, who had to fear the NKVD and SMERSH, the Soviet intelligence services, as much as the Nazis. A painstakingly thorough study that will become a standard work on the battle of Stalingrad. (Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selection/History Book Club main selection)