• Red Star Against the Swastika

  • The Story of a Soviet Pilot over the Eastern Front
  • By: Vasily B. Emelianenko
  • Narrated by: John Pruden
  • Length: 7 hrs and 57 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (78 ratings)

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Red Star Against the Swastika  By  cover art

Red Star Against the Swastika

By: Vasily B. Emelianenko
Narrated by: John Pruden
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Publisher's summary

This is the extraordinary story of Vasily B. Emelianenko, the veteran pilot of one of the Soviet Union's most contradictory planes of the Second World War - the I1-2. This heavily armored aircraft was practically unrivaled in terms of fire power, but it was slow to maneuver and an easy target for fighters. I1-2 had to attack enemy flak columns at extremely low altitudes, which led to enormous tolls both in equipment and personnel.

It is no wonder then that, having flown 80 combat sorties against the Germans, Emelianenko was awarded the highest decoration - the Hero of the Soviet Union. He went on to complete a total of 92 sorties. His plane was shot down three times, and on each occasion, he managed to pilot the damaged aircraft home, demonstrating remarkable resilience and bravery in the face of terrifying odds.

Emelianenko's vivid memoirs provide a rare insight into the reality of fighting over the Eastern Front and the tactics of the Red Army Air Force. With remarkable clarity, he recalls what it was like to come face to face with a skilled, deadly, and increasingly desperate enemy. Hair-raising encounters with fighters, forced landings on enemy territory, and the death of friends are all brought dramatically and movingly to life in this rare firsthand account.

©2005 Vasily B. Emelianenko; Introduction 2005 by Vladimir Vershinin (P)2018 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Solid Soviet WW2 bio

This biography teaches two important lessons about the war:

- clear evidence is given as to why Soviets struggled in the early war. Author’s experience shows how hard it is for an airforce to recover from decimation in war conditions. What was demanded from all survivors in early war was above and beyond what other nations expected form their pilots. Author’s unit was down to TWO combat ready pilots at one point, and they were still sent on combat mission.

- shows the value of biographies of close ground support pilots in the early war. They operated on low altitudes and were expected to provide detailed recon information after the flight, as such, author is able to give details about the situation on the ground during their missions. Most biographies are unable to glimpse far beyond author’s immediate surroundings, which is not the case in this one.

Shame the book appears to have been written when pilot was 94 years old, if it were done earlier, I am certain we would have been treated to even greater breadth of detail.

My main criticisms are that the book is a tad on the short side, and that the narrator’s pronunciation of Russian names and places is somewhat rough. Still, a worthwhile read.





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2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

If you're a military aviation fan this is ur book!

A very interesting story on how Russian pilots dealt with challenges during WW2.
I like the way it's narrated.

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

Poor performance

What should have been a riveting tale of a ground attack fighter pilot in world war 2, was transformed into a dull reading.

The author once mentioned accidentally dropping phosphorus filled bombs on friendly troops. In the book, he acted like this was a minor miscalculation, when in reality he burned countless friendly Soldiers alive.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

the IL2

Enjoyed this book giving me insight into the life of a Soviet ground attack pilot and tge "flying tank" he flew. Would have liked to hear more about the battles he was in.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very, Very Good Book

A very different view of WW2. Written from the Russian perspective and from the cockpit view of a Russian dive bomber pilot.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book but I admit it was hard to keep up with the characters due to their Russian names. Never-the-less, it is a fine read.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good Book

Good listen. Found it difficult to follow the series of events when friends would tell stories or the author would jump to a recollection, but overall good book

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Important History Preserved.

This is in an incredible book. I've loved aircraft all my life, especially of WWll. But not until I found the celebrated PC sim called IL 2 Sturmovic had I even heard of the IL2 or any of the important Russian aircraft of WWll. It would seem that Russia didn't really exist or played much of a part in Western history by what I was taught in school. But millions of Russians lost their lives fighting the Nazi war machine and without them it would have been a much different war.

If you are looking for just action it's here in this story, but like has often been said. War is 99% boredom and 1% terror. This book reflects this. Especially Mr. Emilianenko's final words. Being shot down three times, and going through the whole war when most of his squadrons were almost completely wiped out....wow. The IL-2 sim directly reflects how incredibly hard and terrifying attacking the various enemy targets with the deadly anti aircraft weapons pouring out curtains of explosive death from all directions. And to do it for real over and over while everybody you know dies around you. My hats off and a deep bow to Mr. Emilianenko and his comrades. I'm glad his story was preserved and only wish more people would read it and get a clue how war really is.

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Amazing

This was an amazing book. It really gave me a new perspective of the russian soldier. Definitely five stars!

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