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Publisher's Summary

On July 5, 1943, the greatest land battle in history began when Nazi and Red Army forces clashed near the town of Kursk, on the western border of the Soviet Union. Code named Operation Citadel, the German offensive would cut through the bulge in the eastern front that had been created following Germany's retreat at the battle of Stalingrad. But the Soviets, well informed about Germany's plans through their network of spies, had months to prepare. Two million men supported by 6,000 tanks, 35,000 guns, and 5,000 aircraft convened in Kursk for an epic confrontation that was one of the most important military engagements in history, the epitome of total war. It was also one of the most bloody, and despite suffering seven times more casualties, the Soviets won a decisive victory that became a turning point in the war.

With unprecedented access to the journals and testimonials of the officers, soldiers, political leaders, and citizens who lived through it, The Battle of the Tanks is the definitive account of an epic showdown that changed the course of history.

©2011 Lloyd Clark. Recorded by arrangement with Grove Atlantic, Inc. (P)2014 Audible Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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What listeners say about The Battle of the Tanks

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

A troubled book

A tempting offering on the surface, with a very strong opening (and closing) section...

Sadly, it does not live up to its promise.

First of all, former half of the book is dedicated to a very broad retelling of WW2 up till the beginning of the operation. That is, about 50% of the entire length is only tangentially connected to the stated subject of the text. Compounding this fact is the issue of author using outdated WW2 scholarship - on several occasions he brings up things that can be proven demonstrably wrong by the documents today. Again, this is likely due to the fact that older historical consensus was used for the book.

Second half, where the Battle of Kursk Bulge itself is described, it markedly better. However, it is hard to picture the overall situation though the books descriptions alone. Speaking for myself, despite staring at wall-sized map of the battle in my study, I had trouble keeping up with the narrative.

Adding to these issues, the narrator is... well... he is markedly poor at pronouncing both German AND Soviet names. Bad to the point that I, proficient in German, and fluent in Russian, had trouble understanding what names he was attempting to pronounce. Narrators are often good in German names and bad and Russian ones, or, more infrequently, vice-versa, but professional narrators that are very bad at both are... unique.

Lastly, even despite the improved latter half, book simply has nothing new to add to the subject.


Who is the target audience?
People new to the subject will be misled by outdated information, and will likely be lost in the complex narrative of the operation that book aims to describe. There are far better books on this subject, though not in audio yet.

People who are knowledgeable will be inclined to doubt the veracity of the facts given due to demonstrably incorrect assertions elsewhere, irritated by the poor pronunciation, and come away learning little new by the end.

I take no pleasure in speaking ill of any book, but I cannot recommend it to anyone.

34 people found this helpful

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Disappointed. Less than Impressive pronunciation

Stalin apologist. Unbelievable. Stalin retreated to his dacha to take a strategic break and goad challengers to reveal themselves just like Ivan the terrible?? Give me a break.

7 people found this helpful

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Little Known Complexity on Eastern Front

Excellent coverage of little known aspects and facts of slaughter on eastern front and causes of German loss. It wasn't just the winter weather as commonly believed by Americans.

3 people found this helpful

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Detailed and well researched

Amazingly detailed account of the World War II Eastern front and the Battle of Kursk. The first part of the book goes into the circumstances that led to Kursk, and the second part goes into fine detail on the actual battle. The numbers of soldiers, aircraft and Tanks involved in this battle is staggering. I had no appreciation before reading this of how large this battle really was, and what the impact of the battle had on the rest of the war in that theater. The author presents the battle from both perspectives, even ending the book with a meeting of infantry soldiers from both sides that fought there. The battle essentially pitted technology & tactics versus numbers and the capacity to produce replacement weapon systems.

Without having a really good understanding of the army components for each of the combatants prior to reading this, some of the information I found to be a little too in depth. I think that people who are familiar with the battles of the eastern front will find the book fascinating.

The narration was excellent.

2 people found this helpful

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Disappointed.

I expected a book on the pivotal battle of Kursk. Instead I got a book that spent about 40% of it on an overview of the war between Germany and Russia from June 1941 to July 1943. Also felt the author was slightly pro Soviet, rarely criticizing the Russian military other than to point out mistakes Stalin personally made. Narrator needs to decide on how to consistently pronounce words used frequently in the audio book, example the word "Zitadelle"

7 people found this helpful

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Great book that covers event leading upto Kurisk

Great book w/ the perfect mix of personal accounts and a consice historical overview that lays out the eastern front leading upto and including the battle at Kurisk..

1 person found this helpful

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A very good history of the battle of Kursk.

I loved the way the author brought the listener into the history of the battle and what came before it. Great book highly recommend this to any world war 2 history buffs.

1 person found this helpful

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Great book on the battle of Kursk

must audible book for those that want to know details and first hand accounts of the pivotal battle of Kursk. An impartial account.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

It was pretty good and worth the listen.

I noticed most of the reviews criticized the book for spending half the time describing WWII up to Kursk in great detail. It wasn’t a bad thing to me, and probably necessary to set the stage. Probably could have been cut short though, because the book is best when it gets into the meat of the Kursk battle.

The author attempts to provide great detail of the battle, which may be hard to follow with out visual maps of the battlefield. I’d recommend the listener look some up on the internet while listening, because once you can visualize the battlefield, the book will add to the immersion.

This battle has been done many times by great scholars of the eastern front like Glanz, but what I liked about this book was the brief stories of the soldiers all over the front telling what they saw from their perspective. It made the story far more personal than the dry strategic studies that Glanz does.

I also respect the fact that the author spent time at the actual site of the Kursk battlefield and interviewed veterans of the battle. Something I would love to do myself.

The ending was great where he brings a German veteran and a Russian veteran together in a bar and they discuss their experiences like old friends instead of enemies. It just drives home how tragic war is and why these stories have to be told to generations that follow so they never happen again.

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If you like Stalin, you'll love this book

6 hours in to a 13 hour book that's purportedly about the Battle of Kursk, the author finally gets around to talking about Kursk. At no point does the author pretend to be objective in his treatment of the eastern front. The majority of the book is unabashed Stalin worship masquerading as history. Talks a lot about the high morale of the Red Army and the atrocities of the Nazis with no mention of the conscription and forced labor in the Red Army, machine gunning of retreating Russians, or the atrocities of the Red Army. Certainly not asking for a pro-Nazi treatise on the eastern front, but something that is vaguely objective would be nice.