Andrew Nagorski, Newsweek's former Moscow bureau chief, reveals that 2.5 million of the battle's 7 million troops were killed, taken prisoner, or severely wounded. Stalin and Hitler squandered the lives of their own soldiers by second-guessing their generals. And, while Stalin's army was barely armed, Hitler's soldiers had no winter clothing in the Russian winter.
Historically, this was the first time the German blitzkrieg was halted in Europe, shattering Hitler's dream of a swift victory over the Soviet Union. And, although America was not yet in the war, President Roosevelt realized the importance of supporting the Russian war effort. This was the beginning of the Allied wartime alliance and Stalin's push for a postwar empire, which ended in the cold war.
Because Stalin suppressed records of his near-fatal mistakes in this battle, its story has never been fully told. Now, Nagorski has studied recently declassified documents from Soviet archives and includes interviews with many survivors, including the son of the man in charge of removing Lenin's body from the besieged city, to provide the fullest view yet of this key battle.
If you want to read a book about the Battle of Moscow – this isn’t it.
The author is a descendant of a family that fought against the Russians in Poland after the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact in 939 that was the real beginning of WWII. Most of the book is about the terror that Stalin unleashed on his own people. When the book takes a break from the long list of Stalinist terrors, he upbraids those Americans who hoped that Russia would turn to democracy. He hates Harry Hopkins, Davis, FDR – anybody who thought that beating Hitler was more important that fighting Russia.
With the chapter upon chapter listing of every Stalinist stupidity and atrocity, you wonder how the Russians ever beat Germany. And that’s what is wrong with this book – we all know that Stalinist Russia in 1941 was on the brink of disaster – as Hitler said, kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will collapse. A real question to be answered is WHY Russia didn’t collapse as everyone predicted they would. What did they do right – what did they have – that made them able to do what no other country had been able to do up to then – defeat the Wermacht.
I would not recommend this book to any serious student of the period.
It is not so well written that you can get involved in the story because every time the author actually gets into the fascinating tale of what happened in front of Moscow in late 1941, he remembers how much he hates the Communists and we’re off to the races once again.
66 of 70 people found this review helpful
I bought this title expecting a detailed military history with descriptions of the battle for Moscow. Instead the author details everything that was going on around Stalin at the time except for the actual battle. This was actually moderately interesting. However, the author steadfastly avoids talking about the actual battle. It is lucky for Nagorski that there are no laws that the title of a book has to reflect its content.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful
This book was well written and well read but sadly contained little information dealing with the battle of Moscow itself. By the end of it I found myself scratching my head and thinking 'did I listen to this thing right?' It talks about everything else surrounding the battle, but the battle itself is presented more as a footnote than the main subject. In fact if you really want to jump into the actual conflict I would suggest skipping the entire first download portion and starting with the second, which will save you quite a few hours of frustration.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
The thing that I liked the most about the work is its objective recount of history. Far too often books on military history take a side, leaving their objectivity in the rear view mirror and approach opinionated editorial versus a historical account. Bravo!
Many intriguing anecdotal stories surrounding the plight of civilian, military, and intelligence agencies really brings home the overall sentiment of life in 1941 Moscow.
The effort to compare statistical data with other WWII efforts was edifying. The accuracy and detail of USSR efforts to thwart the German attackers was spot on.
The style of narration was inline with the objective writer. Pleasing, at times amusing, and easy on the ear.
I only wish that there were more books like this on the period and specific battles, organizations, and operations.
Well worth ones time.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
I was expecting a book like "Stalingard" that focused on the events that took place in and around Moscow during the critical fall and winter of 1941. Instead the author provides a detailed discussion of Stalin, his style (or lack thereof), and much information about Hitler and the German Generals. No where does he provide a description of the actual battle of Moscow. I kept waiting for something that would describe the battles, strategy, impact on the population. Instead there are copious notes on Stalin's idiosyncracies and the lack of decisiveness of his couterpart, Hitler. The book is not bad, just misrepresented. Is there a book about Moscow that has the same quality as "Stalingrad"?
5 of 7 people found this review helpful
What battle? In the beginning I thought this book would be a winner I was very wrong. I found it to be a mish mash of a good many books dealing with the Eastern front (WW2) For the main and comparitively speaking, it adds nothing perhaps, detracting from previous references. Suggest readers give this one a miss.
What made the experience of listening to The Greatest Battle the most enjoyable?
It's so hard to find English language audio books about the 90% of WWII that was the war between Germany and the USSR!
90% 0f the books are about the 10% of that war, which was the conflict between the Anglo-Americans and Germany. There is also nothing at all about the Russo-Japanese war right before the Japanese capitulation.
What other book might you compare The Greatest Battle to and why?
John Erickson's "Road to Stalingrad and The Road to Berlin.
Any additional comments?
Americans need to get educated about WWII and learn to separate facts from home front propaganda, which is normal for any country, but has taken unprecedented proportions for a free country, in the US.
very interesting history story, though a little short on the battle description.
i expected a little more strategy and fighting descriptions.
A compelling and ground-breaking book - of great humanity - that depicts the hell on earth that was the Battle for Moscow...laced with reminiscence of men and women who were there, it is overpowering in its portrayal of the madness unleashed by Hitler then met with Stalin's own paranoid ruthlessness - the incredible cruelty on both sides...it taps important new sources but never becomes a dry recitation of facts and figures - reads like a fast-paced novel -
5 of 11 people found this review helpful
I found this just stunning. I've read "Stalingrad" and "Berlin", and was amazed that such a huge human slaughter could remain relatively unmentioned. The novel looks at the battle from both sides, describing the major blunders made by both Hitler and Stalin, and the unbelievable casualties that followed. I've listened to many a WWII audiobook, and this is an easy 5/5.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful