Book Review: Stalingrad: City on Fire

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by Alexey V. Isaev, translated by Richard Harrison

Barnsley, Eng.: Pen & Sword / Philadelphia: Casemate, 2019. Pp. xiv, 322+. Illus., maps, tables, notes, biblio., index. $34.95. ISBN: 1526742659

A Russian Perspective on Stalingrad

Drawing on previously unavailable Soviet archives, beginning a couple of decades ago with the impressive works of David Glantz, Western scholars have been rewriting the history of the Russo-German War, hitherto strongly influenced by the German perspective, making an important contribution to our understanding of that titanic struggle. More recently, accounts by Russian scholars drawing on Soviet sources have become available as well.

In Stalingrad: City on Fire, Isaev, a leading Russian historian of the “Great Patriotic War”, with several works already available in English, gives us a fresh look at what is perhaps the most famous battle of the Russo-German , from the Soviet perspective.

This is an operational account of the campaign, drawing on both German and Soviet sources. Isaev covers the fighting in three parts, the German drive on the city, the protracted fighting for the city, and the Soviet counter offensive and ultimate victory. The treatment is quite detailed, and often reaches down to small actions on the sharp end. Isaev frequently gives us evaluations of the readiness of units engaged, noting, for example, whether they were battle ready or “spent”, or detailing their equipment on hand.

Well mapped, and including some valuable logistical information, although at times a mite too patriotic, and marred by the occasional typo and absence of an index, Stalingrad: City of Fire, is an essential read for anyone with an interest in the Second World War.

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Note: Stalingrad: City on Fire is also available in several e-editions.

 

StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   


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