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Armor and Blood: The Battle of Kursk: The Turning Point of World War II | [Dennis E. Showalter]

Armor and Blood: The Battle of Kursk: The Turning Point of World War II

While the Battle of Kursk has long captivated World War II aficionados, it has been unjustly overlooked by historians. Drawing on the masses of new information made available by the opening of the Russian military archives, Dennis E. Showalter at last corrects that error. This battle was the critical turning point on World War II's Eastern Front. In the aftermath of the Red Army's brutal repulse of the Germans at Stalingrad, the stakes could not have been higher.
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Publisher's Summary

While the Battle of Kursk has long captivated World War II aficionados, it has been unjustly overlooked by historians. Drawing on the masses of new information made available by the opening of the Russian military archives, Dennis E. Showalter at last corrects that error. This battle was the critical turning point on World War II's Eastern Front. In the aftermath of the Red Army's brutal repulse of the Germans at Stalingrad, the stakes could not have been higher. More than 3,000,000 men and 8,000 tanks met in the heart of the Soviet Union, some 400 miles south of Moscow, in an encounter that both sides knew would reshape the war.

The adversaries were at the peak of their respective powers. On both sides, the generals and the dictators they served were in agreement on where, why, and how to fight. The result was a furious death grapple between two of history's most formidable fighting forces - a battle that might possibly have been the greatest of all time. In Armor and Blood, Showalter recreates every aspect of this dramatic struggle. He offers expert perspective on strategy and tactics at the highest levels, from the halls of power in Moscow and Berlin to the battlefield command posts on both sides. But it is the author's exploration of the human dimension of armored combat that truly distinguishes this book.

In the classic tradition of John Keegan's The Face of Battle, Showalter's narrative crackles with insight into the unique dynamics of tank warfare - its effect on men's minds as well as their bodies. Scrupulously researched, exhaustively documented, and vividly illustrated, this book is a chilling testament to man's ability to build and to destroy. When the dust settled, the field at Kursk was nothing more than a wasteland of steel carcasses, dead soldiers, and smoking debris. The Soviet victory ended German hopes of restoring their position on the Eastern Front, and put the Red Army on the road to Berlin. Armor and Blood presents listeners with what will likely be the authoritative study of Kursk for decades to come.

©2013 Dennis Showalter (P)2013 Tantor

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  •  
    rich san jose, CA, United States 08-28-13
    rich san jose, CA, United States 08-28-13 Member Since 2011

    Inostrancevia - the uber Gorgonopsian.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Big Ups to Prof. Showalter and Audible"
    If you could sum up Armor and Blood in three words, what would they be?

    Leibstandarte uber alles!


    What did you like best about this story?

    Prof. Showalter's account of the Battle of Kursk is military history at its best. He presents a thorough narrative of the respective operational histories of the combatants during this early July, 1943 battle. Also, the author shows his deep understanding of the psyche and motivations of the opposing sides.

    Try to imagine: It is dawn on July 8, 1943. You are a 20 year old SS panzergrenadier riding with your squad in the back of a halftrack on your way to try to gain a few more kilometers north towards Oboyan, towards Kursk. As you and your commrades scan the sky for apprtoaching Sturmoviks you get that dreaded feeling once more in your gut about what awaits you in a mere handful of minutes in that clearing up ahead. Belts of buried mines, T-34's buried up to their turrets; manned by condemned crews sealed inside who know they must fight to the end and probably already consider themselves dead, batteries of camoflaged 76 mm "Rach Bum's" zeroed in on the treeline your APC is about to emerge from...... What an absolutely surreal, incredible (insert any superlaive you deem appropriate), situation. The Battle of Kursk is one of those human events that can only be understood by the participants themselves. Prof. Showalter understands and respects this unalterable truth and it shows in his writing.

    Armor and Blood underlines the fact that Kursk was a bloody, mechanized maelstrom unlike any battle before or since. Nothing on the Western Front even came remotely close to Kursk in sheer weight of men, materiel and utter bowel loosening terror.


    What does Robertson Dean bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    A understated yet authoritative narration that provided a sense of solemnity to the author's work. Mr. Dean was a good choice for this book.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The part describing the situation facing IISS Panzer Korps on the morning of the battle at Prokhorovka. It is hard to relate in words, but Prof. Showalter's writing about those few hours transported my mind so that I felt I was standing on a tall scaffolding just behind the mass of men watching and hearing this incredible human drama unfold before me. I was spellbound. As I type these words I remember the feeling I had listening to that part. That, my friends, is what a exceptional audio book can do.


    Any additional comments?

    Kudos to Audible for providing this book for us listeners. Less drivel about yet another shirtless, pouting, Highland bif romance and more quality writing about things / events that actually matter is always the right way to go.

    26 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frank J. Habic Osprey, Florida, US 08-28-13
    Frank J. Habic Osprey, Florida, US 08-28-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Rich got ot right"
    Where does Armor and Blood rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Thanks to Rich for his "spot on" review. Also, his plea for more books like this instead of the drivel I scroll through every day as I look for new titles.


    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. Max Hollmann Florida 12-09-13
    W. Max Hollmann Florida 12-09-13 Member Since 2008

    Non Fiction Reader

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    "Lost for the trees"

    As a history buff, especially WWII, I am familiar with the Battle of Kursk. My recollection is that it was one of the, if not the, most horrific tank battles of WWII. I idd not even come close to that conclusion from this book. The author does a magnificant job of explaining the battle orders, what units were involved, how they moved, what they did but in the end, after all this detail, it is hard to grasp the significance of it all. The "seminal" battle gets lost in detail. I asked myself: is this the battle I read about where tanks were muzzle to muzzle and blasting each other at point- blank range? This is a book that should be read with a detailed map of the area, a plastic overlay and a grease pencil so the reader can plot all the units movements and see what it all means. I read this book while driving. At times I turned it off in mid sentence and it made no difference because the tale did not flow. I was listening to words and most often they were interchangable with the words before and after. I couldn't keep up with the individual battles and soon it made no difference. It's like watching a game (football, boxing, basketball, poker, chess, etc) and not knowing the rules and not being able to appreciate the tactics and strategies. People gasp in appreciation and you wonder what was missed. It's a shame given all the research the author has apparently put into this book. What would have made it better? Some sense of what the soldiers went through. More personal recollections, i.e. diary entries, letters home, etc, before, during and after. Some are given but it's more an after thought. Another thing that frustrated me was when a general was described as a staff officer and not a field officer. No description of the difference or how it may have impacted the battle. We know Hitler played a decision making role but his input is merely a passing reference. The best parts for me was the descriptions of how both the Russian and German soldiers were trained. How they felt towards each other and their adversaries. The best part for me was the conclusion...it lasted less than 30 minutes. It helped bring the battle into perspective; something the main test sorely misses.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Fred Smith Plano, Texas 12-17-13
    Charles Fred Smith Plano, Texas 12-17-13 Member Since 2006
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    "Kursk Overview"

    This is an extremely readable overview of the Soviet-Nazi War from 1941-43. It provides an excellent overview of the pivotal tank battle of Kursk in July 1943. This is an excellent book to get started reading (or listening to) the immensity of the "Great Patriotic War". The book is not intended to be a detailed reference on the Battle of Kursk but it conveys the awesome size of the involvement. If you are searching detail on Prokoravka-Kursk then go to Zamulin's "Myths Uncovered" but for an overall understanding of the battle and its impact on the war, I highly recommend this book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tony Ottawa, ON, Canada 11-10-13
    Tony Ottawa, ON, Canada 11-10-13 Member Since 2012

    I listen to approximately 40 hours of audio books a month. I love audio books.

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    "Fascinating and compelling reading!"

    I bought this book when it first came out, it had no reviews or ratings. This is unusual for me but wow was I happy with my selection. I've listened to this book twice now and will probably listen a third time sooner than later. The author gives you an excellent view into the sacrifices made by both sides in this horrific and senseless conflict. The narration is first rate an excellent performance for an excellent book. I highly recommend Blood and Armor.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    megan seattle, washington, United States 05-30-14
    megan seattle, washington, United States 05-30-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Great! read the Description of the Book"

    I found this to be a great in-depth look at the battle of Kursk that is very technical,which I like, but others don't. So I suggest reading the description of the book and if you don't like that approach to describing a battle then don't get it if you do then this will be a great book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Seabrook, Texas, United States 12-11-13
    William Seabrook, Texas, United States 12-11-13 Member Since 2013
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    "The exact detail I was looking for!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Armor and Blood to be better than the print version?

    Don't know


    What other book might you compare Armor and Blood to and why?

    Lost Battles - they reference this in the book, but take the personal side out of it.


    What does Robertson Dean bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Great delivery


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    no,but i was very interested in understanding the terrain and how the defense lines really were.


    Any additional comments?

    listen to this!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill wilmington, DE, United States 12-01-13
    Bill wilmington, DE, United States 12-01-13
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    "The Forgotten Battle of Kursk"
    What made the experience of listening to Armor and Blood the most enjoyable?

    The narration


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Armor and Blood?

    Learning how over 12 million men and 9 thousand tanks actually engaged in a hell on earth


    Have you listened to any of Robertson Dean’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No but I would..yes


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Forgotten Kursk Dante's Inferno


    Any additional comments?

    A must read for all WWII interests.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Louisville, KY, United States 11-30-13
    Michael Louisville, KY, United States 11-30-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Eye Opening Detail"
    Would you listen to Armor and Blood again? Why?

    Yes. First - there's Robertson Dean as the narrator. What a great voice! Second - the book is full of details that I was not aware of, and clarifies this battle's place in the history of the Eastern Front.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Armor and Blood?

    It's non-fiction, so this is not an appropriate question.


    What about Robertson Dean’s performance did you like?

    Everything - pace, tone, volume, etc. Dean is one of the very best.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was saddened several times by the idiocy of the German leadership - and how it condemned good men, including my grandfather, to death.


    Any additional comments?

    Great book for those who love WW2 history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brian cincinnati, OH, United States 09-08-13
    brian cincinnati, OH, United States 09-08-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An impressive view on a great battle."
    If you could sum up Armor and Blood in three words, what would they be?

    A fresh outlook.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Hard to say honestly.


    What does Robertson Dean bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Excellent narration.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not really.


    Any additional comments?

    A must-have for anyone interested in the Kursk operations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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