In August 1942, an overconfident Adolf Hitler would attempt to invade Stalin's namesake city on the Volga. The battle of Stalingrad is extraordinary in every way: the triumphant invader fought to a standstill; then the Soviet trap sprung, surrounding their attackers; and the terrible siege, with Germans starving and freezing, forced to fight on by a disbelieving Hitler. Now Antony Beevor tells the story as it has never been told before, recounting the strategic brilliance and fatal flaws of the notorious generals, while telling the incredible tale from a soldier's-eye view. The author incorporates Russian reports on desertions and executions that have never been seen by Western scholars, German transcripts of prisoner interrogations, and private letters and diaries to re-create the human drama of the most terrible battle in modern warfare.
&169; Antony Beevor; (P) and ©1998 Penguin AudioBooks
"A 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." (Kirkus Reviews)
"A wonderfully readable work of history." (The Wall Street Journal)
"What a pleasure it is to welcome a real book by a writer who truly understands the drama and tragedy of great operations. It is certainly the best narrative of the battle yet to appear and is not likely to be surpassed in our time." (John Keegan)
"Antony Beevor has produced the first history of Stalingrad which gives us the Soviet viewpoint. It is a compelling and extraordinary story, richly detailed, and engrossingly written." (Richard Overy, author of Why the Allies Won)
"Cool and heartrending, balanced and detailed: the best war history to appear for many years." (Robert Conquest, author of Stalin)
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
The story of the war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union on the Ostfront is itself so incredible and full of extremes of human experience on a scale that most modern people can't comprehend, that even a dry historic account will still hit you in the gut. Beevor's writing certainly is a bit dry (as is the audiobook narration), but he conveys the triumphant hubris of the the German war machine as it grinds through an ill-prepared Soviet Army hampered by its own paranoid leader, the desperate fight-to-the-death brutality of the siege of Stalingrad, the last Russian stronghold before the Volga, the monstrosity of two totalitarian states willing to sacrifice millions of their own citizens to their authority, and finally, the collapse of the German army before a population that it could kill vast numbers of, but not defeat.
Beevor is sympathetic enough to soldiers on both sides, and besides the requisite facts and figures, there are plenty of episodes of heroism from individual Russians and Germans, as well as bad decisions and senseless waste of life. All in all, it was a tragic but page-turning reminder to me of just how little we Americans really know about war and the price that's paid for "uncompromising" leaders.
There are probably more detailed and/or engagingly written accounts of World War Two's Eastern Front, but this book contains a perfectly readable history for anyone looking for a place to start. (PS. If you're still hungry for a fantastic, listenable account of the Ostfront, look up Dan Carlin's "Hardcore History" podcast.)
After reading the complete version I thought this might be worth a listen but it leaves way to much pertinent information to the way side. However the paper version is excellent.
Harry Turtledove fan
There are two versions of the book floating around.
This one, is abridged and is VERY poorly read. The inflection, the cynicism, etc are ALL gone.
The one by Michael Tudor Barnes is unabridged is lively and excellent to listen.
Audible needs to provide that version.
Antony Bevor is an excellent author.
His books are straight from troops and need to be read as such.
However the narrator seems to have other ideas. He reads the book as if it were a classic novel instead of the urgency and down-to-ground level viewpoint.
One more good book spoiled by a bad narrator.
Sadly, i guess Audible never learns the lesson or never listens to its customers.
Despite being an abridged book, the listener is treated to an engaging account of the battle of Stalingrad. The book is short but I didn't feel short-changed.
I was already casually acquainted with the battle, and the eastern front in general, so I thought this would be a good book to expand my knowledge of the events and the individuals involved in this particular conflict. I assumed that any author writing a book on a single battle out of the hundreds of of battles that occurred in WWII would spend a little more time and research on on this particular subject matter. It's a fair assumption, since anyone with enough interest to even buy a book named "Stalingrad: the fateful siege" would likely be at least casually familiar with the events of the battle. Despite this seemingly obvious observation, the book provides a fleeting overview of the eastern front prior to the battle, then, a quick month by month accounting of what happened in the city, and then a few notes about what happened after the battle. Wholly fulfilling!
Of what I expected, I found almost entirely lacking: Almost no accounts of the young men involved in the battle, a few notes from the officers, but nothing from the soldiers on either side - Almost no accounts from the civilians that lived through the events - The only "personal touch" were a few superfluous words about the "inhuman conditions," disease, starvation and suffering as well as some broad statistics about survival rates. Hell, the author didn't even mention Pavlov's House... PAVLOV'S HOUSE! STALINGRAD! COME ON!
I didn't get the impression that the author had even bothered to visit the city, or dig through soviet archives, or do much of anything. He's written other books on WWII, so this may have just been a residual brain dump to wring a little extra cash from what he's learned thus far, maybe with 8 or so hours of extra research thrown in, just to get the divisional numbers correct.
Not from the genre, but I'd never buy a book from this author again.
The performer was great. I don't fault him for the travesty that is "Stalingrad."
Anger that I lost $12 on a Wikipedia article.
By listening, you are taken back to a time in history not mentioned much in American history classrooms. The eastern front alone could have accounted as the most brutal conflict in history. It's great to hear about the battle of stalingrad from so many perspectives as provided by Beevor.
I have only listened to a few audiobooks but it was near the top of my list
The suffering of the ordinary German soldiers in the later stages of the siege
His pronunciations of the German and Soviet names and towns was excellent
Very interesting and engaging book. This type of material loses something in the audio format due to the lack of maps
This audiobook was enhanced by the clear narration, good writing, and good overview of the battle of Stalingrad and its implications.
I especially appreciated the lead in to the battle, its significance in WWII and its aftermath.
I found the information about how Stalin used the outcome of the battle for political leverage against Roosevelt and Churchill to be most interesting and surprising.
I found this to be quite a gripping book.
My reading and listening tastes are eclectic.
This is a good book to listen to about the Stalingrad Siege. However, the information presented is heavily weighted towards military and political strategy and activities. I was wanting more information about the civilian activities. The reader was easy to listen to, and kept the book rolling along.
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