Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege 1942-1943

Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege 1942-1943

4.4 67
by Antony Beevor
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

The Battle of Stalingrad was not only the psychological turning point of World War II: it also changed the face of modern warfare

Beevor's latest book Ardennes 1944: The Battle of the Bulge is now available from Viking Books 


Historians and reviewers worldwide have hailed Antony Beevor's magisterial…  See more details below

Overview

The Battle of Stalingrad was not only the psychological turning point of World War II: it also changed the face of modern warfare

Beevor's latest book Ardennes 1944: The Battle of the Bulge is now available from Viking Books 


Historians and reviewers worldwide have hailed Antony Beevor's magisterial Stalingrad as the definitive account of World War II's most harrowing battle.

In August 1942, Hitler's huge Sixth Army reached the city that bore Stalin's name. In the five-month siege that followed, the Russians fought to hold Stalingrad at any cost; then, in an astonishing reversal, encircled and trapped their Nazi enemy. This battle for the ruins of a city cost more than a million lives. Stalingrad conveys the experience of soldiers on both sides, fighting in inhuman conditions, and of civilians trapped on an urban battlefield. Antony Beevor has itnerviewed survivors and discovered completely new material in a wide range of German and Soviet archives, including prisoner interrogations and reports of desertions and executions. As a story of cruelty, courage, and human suffering, Stalingrad is unprecedented and unforgettable.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Richard Bernstein
A fantastic and sobering story...fully and authoritatively told.
The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101153567
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/01/1999
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
560
Sales rank:
77,362
File size:
7 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

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.

Read More

What People are saying about this

John Keegan
Magnificent...certainly the best narrative of the battle yet to appear and...not likely to be surpassed in our time.

Meet the Author

Antony Beevor was educated at Winchester and Sandhurst, where he studied under John Keegan. A regular officer with the 11th Hussars, he left the Army to write. He has published four novels, and seven works of non-fiction. They include The Spanish Civil War; Inside the British Army; Crete—The Battle and the Resistance, which was awarded a Runciman Prize, and Paris After the Liberation, 1944-1949 (written with his wife Artemis Cooper). He has also been contributed to several books including The British Army, Manpower and Society into the Twenty-First Century, edited by Hew Strachan and to a forthcoming book on the Eastern Front in World War II in honour of the late John Erickson.

Stalingrad, first published in 1998, won the first Samuel Johnson Prize, the Wolfson Prize for History and the Hawthornden Prize for Literature in 1999. The British edition, a number one bestseller in both hardback and paperback, has so far sold over 600,000 copies, and the book has been translated into twenty-four languages. The Fall of Berlin 1945, published in 2002, was accompanied by a BBC Timewatch programme on his research into the subject. The book will also be appearing in twenty-four foreign editions. It was a No. 1 Bestseller in seven countries apart from Britain, and in the top five in another nine countries. The two books between them have already sold over two million copies. His latest book, The Mystery of Olga Chekhova, describes the experiences of the Chekhov and Knipper families from before the Russian revolution until after the Second World War.



Antony Beevor was made a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French government in 1997 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1999. He was the 2002-2003 Lees-Knowles lecturer at Cambridge. In 2003, he received the first Longman-History Today Trustees' Award. He is a member of the management committee of the Society of Authors and of the London Library. He is also Visiting Professor at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck College, University of London. In September 2003, he took over from Philip Pullman as Chairman of the Society of Authors. In July 2004, he received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Kent. He is currently a judge of the British Academy Book Prize and a member of the Samuel Johnson Prize steering committee.


Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >