When the Germans invaded Russia in 1941, Vasily Grossman became a special correspondent for the Red Star, the Soviet Army's newspaper, and reported from the frontlines of the war. A Writer at War depicts in vivid detail the crushing conditions on the Eastern Front, and the lives and deaths of soldiers and civilians alike. Witnessing some of the most savage fighting of the war, Grossman saw firsthand the repeated early defeats of the Red Army, the brutal street fighting in Stalingrad, the Battle of Kursk (the largest tank engagement in history), the defense of Moscow, the battles in Ukraine, the atrocities at Treblinka, and much more.
Antony Beevor and Luba Vinogradova have taken Grossman's raw notebooks, and fashioned them into a gripping narrative providing one of the most even-handed descriptions --at once unflinching and sensitive -- we have ever had of what Grossman called “the ruthless truth of war.”
From the Trade Paperback edition.
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Sold by:||Random House|
|File size:||7 MB|
About the Author
ANTONY BEEVOR's books include Stalingrad and The Fall of Berlin 1945, which has been translated into 25 languages.
DR. LUBA VINOGRADOVA is a researcher, translator, and freelance journalist. She has worked with Antony Beevor on his three most recent books.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Grossman, most famous for his Tolstoyan work, 'Life and Fate' was, first and foremost, a journalist. He spent the majority of the Second World War on the front lines, witnessing some of the most violent confrontations of the war. He was in Stalingrad, widely acknowledged as the bloodiest battle in history. He was at Kursk, the major tank battle of the war and the military turning point-Stalingrad being the psychologic hinge-of-fate for Nazi Germany's imperialistic and ideological ambitions. He was at Treblinka during it's liberation and in Berlin during the final death-throes of the Nazi beast. In other words, he was an eye-witness to all the major events on the Eastern Front. This book, cleverly and unobtrusively edited and translated by Vinogradova and Beevor excerpt relevant segments from Grossman's diaries. These wartime diaries were kept at great personal risk, since such activities were prohibited by the Stalin government. While many of the depictions of the attitudes and behaviors of Soviet soldiers seem redolant of 'socialist realist' propaganda, the descriptions of Treblinka and the author's sentient observations on Soviet military men are obviously the product of a gifted writer and psychologist. The reader should recall that these diary entries were not intended for publication but rather were kept by Grossman to provide source material for future literary efforts. Unfortunately, Grossman fell afoul of Stalin, largely for his efforts to publicize the fate of Jews at the hands of the Nazis and secondarily for failing to sufficiently promote the role of Stalin's leadership and the Party in the Battle of Stalingrad. As a result, 'Life and Fate' was only published posthumously and stomach cancer claimed the author's life before much of the raw materials presented in this book could be crafted into a final literary effort. Any serious student of WW-II should read this book, as it is a major contribution to understanding the Soviet perspective on the 'Great Patriotic War'.
Quoting a random excerpt - ' Buildings at the airfield have been destroyed by bombing, the field ploughed up by explosions. Ilyushin and MIG aircraft are conealed under camouflage nets. Vehicles go round the airfield delivering fuel to the aeroplanes. There is also a truck with cakes and a truck carrying vacuum flasks of food. Girls in white overalls fuel the pilots with dinner. The pilots eat capriciously, reluctantly. The girls are coaxing them to eat. Some aircraft are hidden in the forest'. Wow! This book is unique historically but is so disjointed, making it hard work. Antony Beevor, who wrote the splendid book Stalingrad, and his associate, Luba Vingradova, should be thanked for their work, however.