Stalingrad by Michael K. Jones

Stalingrad

By Michael K. Jones

  • Release Date: 2010-03-10
  • Category: Military
4 Score: 4 (From 5 Ratings)

Brief Description

Michael K. Jones's new history of Stalingrad offers a radical reinterpretation of the most famous battle of the WW2.  Combining eyewitness testimony of Red Army fighters with fresh archive material, the book gives a dramatic insight into the thinking of the Russian command and the mood of the ordinary soldiers. He focuses on the story of the Russian 62nd Army, which began the campaign in utter demoralization, yet turned the tables on the powerful German 6th Army. He explains the Red Army's extraordinary performance using battle psychology, emphasizing the vital role of leadership, morale and motivation in a triumph that turned the course of the war.

Colonel-General Anatoly Mereshko fought throughout the battle as staff officer to the commander, Chuikov. Working with the author much of Mereshko's testimony is entirely new - and will astonish a western audience. It is backed up by accounts of other key veterans and the recently released war diary and combat journals.  These show that the oft-repeated descriptions of Stalingrad's two critical days of fighting - 14 September 1942, when the Germans broke into the city, and 14 October, when they launched a massive attack on the factory district - disguise how desperate the plight of the defenders really was. In their place is a far more terrifying reality. Grasping this, we come to see Stalingrad as more than a victory of successful tactics - rather, as an astounding, improbable triumph of the human spirit.

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Customer reviews

  • Engrossing read with incisive lessons

    5
    By Finny_01
    Being a military history buff with a special interest in WW2's Eastern front, I've read many accounts of this decisive battle. What I like about this book is that it delves into the all important human aspect of the battle. The book doesn't make a fetish of maps or technology, rather explores the leadership and morale dimension of the fighting, which are, after all, the most important. The main lesson drawn from the book for me is that Chuikov's charismatic motivational leadership style trumped Paulus's methodical, scientific management style in the chaos of street fighting, despite significant disadvantages in both the quantity and quality of both personnel and materiel. Of course, Chuikov could count on the patriotism of his troops to motivate them to tremendous self sacrifice. In short, it's a story of a highly professional and superbly trained and equipped army, albeit with a conservative, indecisive and hidebound leadership that is unable to dislodge an amateur rag tag bunch of fighters that are nevertheless motivated to defend their homeland to the bitter end and to find any way that works to strike at the enemy. Hmmm, where have we seen that lately?

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