Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942-1943 [NOOK Book]

Overview

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 caught their Nazi enemy in an astonishing reversal.

As never before, Stalingrad conveys the experience of soldiers...
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Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942-1943

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Overview

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 caught their Nazi enemy in an astonishing reversal.

As never before, Stalingrad conveys the experience of soldiers on both sides as they fought in inhuman conditions, and of civilians trapped on an urban battlefield. Antony Beevor has interviewed survivors and discovered completely new material in a wide range of German and Soviet archives, including reports of prisoner interrogations, desertions, and executions. The battle of Stalingrad was the psychological turning point of World War II; as Beevor makes clear, it also changed the face of modern warfare. As a story of cruelty, courage, and human suffering, Stalingrad is unprecedented and unforgettable.

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Editorial Reviews

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

  • ISBN-13: 9781101153567
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 5/1/1999
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 560
  • Sales rank: 64,883
  • File size: 4 MB

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.


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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.

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Table of Contents

Stalingrad List of Illustrations and Maps
Preface

Part One. 'The World Will Hold Its Breath'

1. The Double-Edged Sword of Barbarossa
2. 'Nothing is Impossible for the German Soldier!'
3. 'Smash in the Door and the Whole Rotten Structure Will Come Crashing Down!'
4. Hitler's Hubris: The Delayed Battle for Moscow

Part Two. Barbarossa Relaunched

5. General Paulus's First Battle
6. 'How Much Land Does a Man Need?'
7. 'Not One Step Backwards'
8. 'The Volga is Reached!'

Part Three. 'The Fateful City'

9. 'Time is Blood': The September Battles
10. Rattenkrieg
11. Traitors and Allies
12. Fortresses of Rubble and Iron
13. Paulus's Final Assault
14. 'All For the Front!'

Part Four. Zhukov's Trap

15. Operation Uranus
16. Hitler's Obsession
17. 'The Fortress Without a Roof'
18. 'Der Manstein Kommit!'
19. 'Christmas in the German Way'

Part Five. The Subjugation of the Sixth Army

20. The Air-Bridge
21. 'Surrender Out of the Question'
22. 'A German Field Marshall Does Not Commit Suicide with a Pair of Nail Scissors!'
23. 'Stop Dancing! Stalingrad Has Fallen'
24. The City of the Dead
25. The Sword of Stalingrad

Appendix A: German and Soviet Orders of Battle, 19 November 1942
Appendix B: The Statistical Debate: Sixth Army Strength in the Kessel
References
Source Notes
Select Bibliography
Index

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 66 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(44)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 66 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2006

    The most savagely brutal and decisive battle of World War II

    Stalingrad. The very name itself has become a symbol for that fatal desperate struggle between Hitler and Stalin, between Fascism and Communism. Fought with a fanaticism, intensity, and determination unmatched throughout the entire war, Stalingrad would go down in history as the ultimate cataclysmic showdown of World War II. Anthony Beevor, the author, has done an outstanding job in writing about this dramatic battle. Beevor starts off by reviewing the war's progress up to mid-1942, with Germany's failed bid to win the war in 1941. Beevor makes the case that this was due to Hitler's dilatoriness in striking out to capture the Soviet capital, the single most important communications junction and command center in the entire USSR. By the time the Wehrmacht had re-deployed from its hugely successful encirclement battles in that late summer, it was already too late to deliver the coup de grace. And with that Germany unexpectedly found itself engaged in a war of attrition it was bound to lose. Operation Blue was conceived to capture the Caucasus oilfields. If successful, the plan would at a stroke ensure Germany's critical oil supplies while simultaneously denying them to the Soviets. In addition, it would further divide and weaken Soviet forces. The plan had the additional advantage of attacking over clear, open terrain with longer campaigning weather available - just exactly the type of terrain where the Wehrmacht was at its greatest advantage. Unfortunately for the Germans, these significant advantages were totally thrown away by Hitler's premature dissipation of force (sending Army Group A south before Stalingrad fell), dangerous reliance on under-equipped and poorly led Romanian allies to provide flank security, and insistence on a grinding, frontal attack to capture Stalingrad. Hitler's hubris in underestimating the determination and rapidly increasing skill of the Red Army would have fateful consequences for the entire campaign against the USSR. As the Germans battered their way into the outskirts of Stalingrad and into a fortress of twisted steel and concrete in August 1942, the battle rapidly metamorphosed from large, coordinated attacks into small-scale assaults. The Soviet defenders came into their own as they bitterly contested and then counter-attacked every German assault. Days passed, then weeks, and finally months, but still the Red Army soldiers fought on and on, exhausting and weakening the Sixth Army. And then in late November with Operation Uranus, the Soviets launched a counter-offensive of their own, swiftly encircling Sixth Army. Subsequent Red Army assaults to cut off nearly all of Army Group South led to Manstein's cutting short his drive to relieve the Stalingrad pocket. Although surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered, 6th Army fought on and on beyond human endurance. After more than two months' starvation, horrendous frostbite casualties, relentless shelling, and near complete expenditure of ammunition the Sixth Army finally laid down its arms. The Soviets had won a great triumph! From then on, it would be the Soviets who would be on a near continuous advance to Berlin. Besides recounting all these fateful events, Beevor also provides revealing accounts about the key personalities of these battles, including Hitler, Stalin, Paulus, Chuikov, Schmidt, and Manstein. Also included are several photos and maps. The book reads a lot like a novel with the narrative often switching between locations and people. Beevor does great justice in describing the greatest battle of World War II. An outstanding book!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 8, 2010

    From Street Level to Stalin and Hitler...

    ...this book did an outstanding job of balancing the gritty horror of room to room fighting in bombed out factories with the quiet insanity of two dictators pushing markers around a map. It is an good overview of the events and decisions leading up to the battle of Stalingrad, the battle itself, and the repercussions. Because it covers so much ground, the book raised some questions in this readers mind. Stalingrad, The Fateful Siege got me interested enough about the Russian front to buy two more books about it, and I have a fourth picked out.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2007

    Remarkable

    I was one of the readers who left a less-than-complimentary review of Beevor's Fall of Berlin. So, in fairness I'm compelled to say that Stalingrad is so far superior to Berlin as to make one wonder if they were really written by the same person. Unlike the personal pontificating and uneven treatment that characterize Fall of Berlin, this work provides a gripping narrative of one of the most dreadful battles in history. I could not help feeling an immense sadness over the thousands of young men sent so cavalierly to their untimely deaths. Even worse were the accounts of the unfortunate civilians who remained in Stalingrad during the battle. The book is poignant, engaging, and well worth a look.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2013

    nothing new 

    nothing new 

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2012

    Very good

    So far the best book I've read on Stalingrad

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2006

    The most savagely brutal and decisive battle of World War II

    Stalingrad. The very name itself has become a symbol for that fatal desperate struggle between Hitler and Stalin, between Fascism and Communism. Fought with a fanaticism, intensity, and determination unmatched throughout the entire war, Stalingrad would go down in history as the ultimate cataclysmic showdown of World War II. Anthony Beevor, the author, has done an outstanding job in writing about this dramatic battle. Beevor starts off by reviewing the war's progress up to mid-1942, with Germany's failed bid to win the war in 1941. Beevor makes the case that this was due to Hitler's dilatoriness in striking out to capture the Soviet capital, the single most important communications junction and command center in the entire USSR. By the time the Wehrmacht had re-deployed from its hugely successful encirclement battles in that late summer, it was already too late to deliver the coup de grace. And with that Germany unexpectedly found itself engaged in a war of attrition it was bound to lose. Operation Blue was conceived to capture the Caucasus oilfields. If successful, the plan would at a stroke ensure Germany's critical oil supplies while simultaneously denying them to the Soviets. In addition, it would further divide and weaken Soviet forces. The plan had the additional advantage of attacking over clear, open terrain with longer campaigning weather available - just exactly the type of terrain where the Wehrmacht was at its greatest advantage. Unfortunately for the Germans, these significant advantages were totally thrown away by Hitler's premature dissipation of force (sending Army Group A south before Stalingrad fell), dangerous reliance on under-equipped and poorly led Romanian allies to provide flank security, and insistence on a grinding, frontal attack to capture Stalingrad. Hitler's hubris in underestimating the determination and rapidly increasing skill of the Red Army would have fateful consequences for the entire campaign against the USSR. As the Germans battered their way into the outskirts of Stalingrad and into a fortress of twisted steel and concrete in August 1942, the battle rapidly metamorphosed from large, coordinated attacks into small-scale assaults. The Soviet defenders came into their own as they bitterly contested and then counter-attacked every German assault. Days passed, then weeks, and finally months, but still the Red Army soldiers fought on and on, exhausting and weakening the Sixth Army. And then in late November with Operation Uranus, the Soviets launched a counter-offensive of their own, swiftly encircling Sixth Army. Subsequent Red Army assaults to cut off nearly all of Army Group South led to Manstein's cutting short his drive to relieve the Stalingrad pocket. Although surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered, 6th Army fought on and on beyond human endurance. After more than two months' starvation, horrendous frostbite casualties, relentless shelling, and near complete expenditure of ammunition the Sixth Army finally laid down its arms. The Soviets had won a great triumph! From then on, it would be the Soviets who would be on a near continuous advance to Berlin. Besides recounting all these fateful events, Beevor also provides revealing accounts about the key personalities of these battles, including Hitler, Stalin, Paulus, Chuikov, Schmidt, and Manstein. Also included are several photos and maps. The book reads a lot like a novel with the narrative often switching between locations and people. Beevor does great justice in describing the greatest battle of World War II. An outstanding book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2005

    Slaughter at Stalingrad

    By far one of the better books about the Eastern Front, Stalingrad is sure to please even the most well read student of World War II literature. Beevor's use of previously unknown documents, interviews with survivors, and gut-wrenching factual evidence from KGB files molds this well crafted tale into a work of art. Beevor's willingness to probe into the actions and behaviors of the Nazis and Soviets alike is truly a breath of fresh air in a world of one sided historical works. A must read for any hard core student of the Nazi-Soviet War. Excellent illustrations and wonderful footnotes to other sources of historical texts.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2005

    Stalingrad is an insightful book

    The book 'Stalingrad ia an insightful and compelling book about the onslaught of the fascist Germans during the second world waron Russia. It tells of the attrocities committed on both fronts, and the efforts and struggles of two evil tyrants, Hitler and Stalin. This book is not recommended for anyone not familirised with WWII.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2004

    Staggering

    Enemy At the Gates was a gripping read, but this latest book on the siege of Stalingrad is at least as gripping and is far better researched - e.g., refuting the myth of Zaitsev's duel (which formed the core of the film of the earlier book). It's hard to do a book justice when the subject itself is so incredible, but Beevor is worthy of the subject. One remarkable thing - not due to Beevor's writing but to the facts he unearthed: part of my family fled the holocaust, and one or two alas didn't make it - yet by the end of the book you can't help but sympathise with the dying and dead Germans as much as the Russians.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2004

    Stalingrad

    'Stalingrad' gives an excellent account of what happened in the war. It has some pretty good descriptions of what happened to the civilian population and the German and Russian soldiers. It also explains how the Russains were beaten all the way to the city of Stalingrad, and then pushed the Germans out. It is an excellent book for anyone who is wanting to learn about the subject, and I highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2004

    A frigid yet mindblowing account

    The tale of Stalingrad told by Beevor was quite vivid, almost nightmarishly descriptive of the terrible battle between Fritz and Ivan. I really couldn't put this book down once I bought it and would recommend this to anyone interested in the 'The Great Patriotic War' or just wanting a good read. This book is excellent and Mr. Beevor really did a great job researching his info.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2003

    One of the classics.

    This is a lovely book and now joins the highest ranks of Stalingrad books, alongside only Dr Joel Hayward's 'Stopped at Stalingrad: The Luftwaffe and Hitler's Defeat in the East 1942-1943' and Professor John Erickson's 'The Road to Stalingrad: Stalin's War With Germany, Volume 1'. These three became instant 'classics' upon publication and are essential to gaining anything approaching a full and accurate picture of what happened during that grotesque battle for 'Stalin's City'. I recommend Beevor's book very high and think he has done us a service by showing us the horrors that befell both German and Soviet footsoldiers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2003

    Fascinating but disturbing read. Impressive.

    I was pleased to see that the last reviewer mentioned Joel Hayward's book: 'Stopped at Stalingrad: The Luftwaffe and Hitler's Defeat in the East'. I also think that Hayward's book is perhaps the very best book on Stalingrad. It is definitive and very original in conception and focus. But I still think that Antony Beevor's book is also a heavyweight in terms of Stalingrad research. It deserves its best seller status because it is so very gripping. Who can put it down once they start reading? Not me. The focus on Russiand AND Germans is evenhanded and Beevor avoids merely criticising the horrible Germans and praising the courageous Russians. What he does is criticise the vile leadership of both sides and try to portray the tortuous experiences of the troops on both sides, as well as the civilians, who had no choice but to follow their master's orders. Their suffering was dreadful ON BOTH SIDES, as Beevor shows with graphic prose.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2003

    Very solid account of the ordinary soldiers' war

    If you want to read about higher strategy this is not the book for you. And If you want to learn about the Luftwaffe's failure to win the Battle of Stalingrad and then keep 6th army alive you'll have to look elsewhere. Where should you look? At Joel Hayward's definitive, excellent STOPPED AT STALINGRAD: THE LUFTWAFFE AND HITLER'S DEFEAT IN THE EAST. But if you want to learn about the suffering of ordinary ground troops on both sides THIS IS THE RIGHT BOOK! Read Hayward and Beevor together and you've got the whole picture. It a grim, miserable but poignant picture. Stalingrad is what happens when the poor recruits of two evil tyrants square off and are not allowed to retreat 'even one inch'.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2003

    Fantastic

    I found this book a very informative and easy text to read. I highly reccommend this book to anyone interested in reading about the Battle of Stalingrad. Being an amateur history buff and having no military expertise, the only thing i found frustrating was not knowing manpower strengths of a battalion, or regiment, division or army. I think it woiuld have helped to understand how many men were actually in the German 397th infantry division, etc etc. But otherwise i loved this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2002

    Eye Opening

    My first book on the battle of Stalingrad. This book opened my eyes to the horrors of Stalingrad. It provides an in-depth look at both sides without bias and the appalling conditions endured. I found it hard to but this open down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2001

    Stalingrad is a great book

    Stalingrad has tons of information,interviews, and other fascinating things i think anyone who likes world war is gonna love this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2001

    Worth the Money

    This book is worth the money that I had to spend for it. As a college student, I was a bit hesitant to drop $20 of beer and pizza money for it but today I am glad that I did. The book keeps your attention from the cover to the end and makes you wish the book kept going.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2000

    Outstanding

    This is an outstanding account of a pivotal, maybe THE pivotal battle in WWII. GermanyÕs war with the allies in the west was almost gentlemanly by comparison with what was occurring on the eastern (Russian) front, which was essentially a racial war of mutual extermination. The author describes how most German and Russian soldiers fought with great bravery, but also the difficulties experienced with desertion and malingering. One is overwhelmed by the extreme brutality and cynicism practiced in this theater of the war. Soldiers and civilians alike were treated by both sides with an almost unbelievable degree of callousness. This history is based on primary sources and describes (through extensive quotation of letters) both the severe conditions and extreme privations endured by ordinary soldiers and the larger issues of strategy and politics that concerned the generals in charge. This an exceptionally balanced and well-rounded book that I highly recommend to both casual and committed readers of military history. The maps are excellent, and the photographs well-chosen.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2000

    Best book on the Battle for Stalingrad

    Simply the best book I have read regarding the Battle for Stalingrad and the war on the Eastern Front. Very informative and readable.

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