The first of two volumes in John Erickson's monumental history of the Soviet-German war. In THE ROAD TO STALINGRAD Professor Erickson takes us in detail from the inept command structures and strategic delusions of the pre-invasion Soviet Union, through the humiliations as her armies fell back on all fronts before the Barbarossa onslaught, until the tide turned at last at Stalingrad. Unsparingly he assesses the generals and political leaders, and analyses the confusions and wranglings within both Allied and Axis commands. The climax, the grinding battle for Stalingrad, leaves the Red Army poised for its majestic counter-offensive, Operation 'Uranus', discovering it had 'caught a tiger by the tail'.
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(199mm x 129mm x 28mm)
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
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UK Kirkus Review »
John Erickson's service in British Army Intelligence complements his extensive academic experience to produce two highly regarded volumes on the war that raged between Russia and Germany between 1941 and 1945. This, the first of those volumes, was originally published in 1975, and almost three decades later manages to come across as impressive and comprehensive as ever. Few encounters in modern history can rival the 'unbridled and atavistic savagery' of what Erickson refers to at one point as 'Stalin's war with Germany'. As Operation Barbarossa unfolded and the ensuing battle for the city of Stalingrad raged, the awful attrition would result in a scale of suffering that is still difficult to comprehend. The accompanying grainy black-and-white photos succeed in capturing the bleak reality of the devastated streets of the city and the gruelling guerrilla warfare that saw the combatants darting and crawling from one gutted building to the next. Nothing is dramatised for easy consumption. Erickson concentrates on the kind and style of the war waged by the Soviet Union, and the sheer immensity of the book means that it is incredibly detailed. He reaches beyond military history into the realm of social history, as he analyses and considers the vast Soviet system and how it dealt with this 'Great Patriotic War'. He considers the roles of many of the key individuals both during and after those years, the mythology that has grown up around the events, and how the disastrously out of step early days of the Russian fight against Germany's 'modern war machine' would eventually give way to victory and its accompanying 'unparalleled human losses'. Erickson took into account some 15,000 existing Soviet volumes as well as a vast amount of captured German military documentation to leave no stone unturned in this erudite, exhaustive work. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - John Erickson
John Erickson was an Honorary Fellow in Defence Studies and Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh. He was a leading authority on the Soviet-German War and lectured on Soviet-German affairs at the universities of Oxfod, St Andrews and Manchester as well as a number of American universities.