1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Ivan's War  By  cover art

Ivan's War

By: Catherine Merridale
Narrated by: Derek Perkins
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $20.99

Buy for $20.99

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

A powerful, groundbreaking narrative of the ordinary Russian soldier's experience of the worst war in history, based on newly revealed sources.

Of the 30 million who fought in the eastern front of World War II, 8 million died, driven forward in suicidal charges, shattered by German shells and tanks. They were the men and women of the Red Army, a ragtag mass of soldiers who confronted Europe's most lethal fighting force and by 1945 had defeated it. Sixty years have passed since their epic triumph, but the heart and mind of Ivan - as the ordinary Russian soldier was called-remain a mystery. We know something about how the soldiers died, but nearly nothing about how they lived, how they saw the world, or why they fought.

A tour de force of original research and a gripping history, Ivan's War reveals the singular mixture of courage, patriotism, anger, and fear that made it possible for these underfed, badly led troops to defeat the Nazi army. In the process, Merridale restores to history the invisible millions who sacrificed the most to win the war.

©2006 Catherine Merridale (P)2019 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

More from the same

What listeners say about Ivan's War

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    112
  • 4 Stars
    29
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    2
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    101
  • 4 Stars
    21
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    101
  • 4 Stars
    17
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Bird's eye view of the Eastern Front in WW2.

I bought this book thinking that it was going to give me some detailed information about the life of the average Soviet soldier in World War II. I had already read quite a few books on the Eastern Front in the Second World War and so was not particularly interested in reading another book about the battles. What I wanted was some information about what daily life was like for those who fought in the Soviet Army, what discipline was like, what daily life was like, how the chain of command worked, how the political and military branches worked with (or against) each other and how the average Soviet soldier survived in such terrible conditions.

What this book provided was a much higher view of the Soviet side of the Eastern Front. Instead of the daily life of the soldier and how he fought against the German forces I found details of the clothing they wore, how their uniform changed as rank became more important, how the Army evacuated civilians during the first part of the war and how they helped harvest crops in the second part of the war, how the civilians lived, how the Soviet soldier changed during the war and how difficult reunions were after the war, corruption, demobilization and other high view topics. That is not to say that the book is uninteresting. It is, in fact, very interesting and I learned quite a bit, but not what I thought I would learn from buying the book.

One thing that did surprise me is that the book spends considerable time explaining why some of the terrible things that happened during the war occurred. Stalin's order "Not One Step Back" (Order 277) that ended up insuring the captivity of more than a million Soviet soldiers rather than their retreat to safer locations is justified due to the existing conditions of the fighting. The author explains the causes of the looting and the epidemic of rape that occurred when the Soviet soldiers reached Germany, and almost seems to understand it. It is not that the author thinks well of the old Soviet reign of terror as the book is clear that the Soviet government was a brutal dictatorship resulting in the unjust conviction, imprisonment and/or death of many innocent soldiers and civilians and gives many examples of normal soldiers, sometimes heroes, who ended up being unable to prove that they were innocent and ended up either dead or in the Gulag. It is a frightening picture of what life was like in Stalin's USSR.

Mr Perkins' narration is first class and adds to the content of the book immeasurably.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

No authentic storytelling here

Just a rambling waste of your time. Author claims to interview over 800 soldiers.. She goes on at 30K foot view of how the war went.. Not at one moment did I hear storys from the actual soldiers... Over describing the areas she went to as her conversation floats around. Definitely a liberal leaning like if you read a NYT editorial.. several pages of emotion and at some point there was a point.. You just dont have the courage to go back because it was already a colossal waste of your time

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Deeply insightful, revealing, and utterly human

The author takes us through WWII through Soviet eyes, both official and from the unheard 'masses.' In this regard the book is already exceptional. I appreciate the author's own gradually developed understanding about some of the reasons behind the reticence of former Soviet soldiers. A must read for anyone interested in WWIs European theater

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent summary of the life of a WWII Soviet soldier

A very comprehensive story of what Soviet soldiers experienced during and after the war .
We in the West forget the horror that Russia endured. Thankfully Hitler was so egotistical that he forgot history and what great warriors the Russians were as well as the resilience of the Russian people. It is also a tale of what life is like in a totalitarian state. The West should be thankful they live in democracy.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent read!

Bring a 30 year Army veteran, I have read many military history books. Most have been on the US Civil War and WWII.

This was my first book on the Ost Front from a Soviet perspective and I was not disappointed. Firstly, the narration is excellent. Secondly, and most important, so is the writing. It gives a truly fascinating and insightful view of the Red Army at all levels. It is well worth your time to read this.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Little too forgiving

Although I agree the Nazi's are horrible, the author seems to write off much of the atrocities committed by Stalin and the Red Army. I did like the book, and did learn some details that I had not known before. I just wish the author had been more honest with herself as to the "learned racial hatred", and ease at which she excused the rapes and cleansing that Stalin and Russian army committed. Given what is in the news today with the Ukraine invasion, she may have been more honest in her writing.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A MUST READ

Wow. Catherine Merridale has outdone herself here. The Russian experience is one that never ceases to fascinate and amaze. These people, valiant and brave, went to war against Germany and their own people. The horrors of the NKVD inflicted on their own soldiers truly horrifies. It brings the reader to tears. One marvels at such bravery and sheer determination to survive. Merridale leaves no stone unturned, but doesn't belabor anything either. The details are shocking and awe inspiring. For any military history or history lover in general, this is not to be missed.

Derek Perkins's narration is revelatory. He's always spectacular. This is just one more to add to the list of stellar performances. BRAVO!!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Mandatory reading for keyboard communists

I knew the Red Army life was nasty, brutish, and short, but I didn't think it was this bad! The severe ingratitude of Stalin postwar was very surprising, as was the fact that soldiers fought against Fascist enslavers only to be enslaved by their own government. Winner take nothing.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic and fascinating.

Great writing, research and insights from the author and perfect narration. Highest recommendation for those interested in the history of the average Russian soldier’s actual experience in WW2. Added perspective of complicated Russian societal and political background wove through the military information. Masterful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great audiobook

So, this isn't a happy book, but if you're interested in the Great Patriotic War, you probably know enough already to just shiver slightly whenever Kursk, Stalingrad, or Brest are mentioned. That said, if this is your first exposure to the Eastern Front, it is a good place to start. Well researched (a lot of quotes from The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexeivich, which is an even better audiobook).