Ivan's War: Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939-1945 (Google eBook)

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Macmillan, Apr 1, 2007 - History - 480 pages
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A powerful, groundbreaking narrative of the ordinary Russian soldier’s experience of the worst war in history, based on newly revealed sources
     Of the thirty million who fought, eight million died, driven forward in suicidal charges, shattered by German shells and tanks. They were the men and women of the Red Army, a ragtag mass of soldiers who confronted Europe’s most lethal fighting force and by 1945 had defeated it. Sixty years have passed since their epic triumph, but the heart and mind of Ivan—as the ordinary Russian soldier was called—remain a mystery. We know something about hoe the soldiers died, but nearly nothing about how they lived, how they saw the world, or why they fought.
     Drawing on previously closed military and secret police archives, interviews with veterans, and private letters and diaries, Catherine Merridale presents the first comprehensive history of the Red Army rank and file. She follows the soldiers from the shock of the German invasion to their costly triumph in Stalingrad, where life expectancy was often a mere twenty-four hours. Through the soldiers’ eyes, we witness their victorious arrival in Berlin, where their rage and suffering exact an awful toll, and accompany them as they return home full of hope, only to be denied the new life they had been fighting to secure.
     A tour de force of original research and a gripping history, Ivan’s War reveals the singular mixture of courage, patriotism, anger, and fear that made it possible for these underfed, badly led troops to defeat the Nazi army. In the process Merridale restores to history the invisible millions who sacrificed the most to win the war.


  

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Contents

True War Stories
1
Marching with Revolutionary Step
23
A Fire through All the World
49
Disaster Beats Its Wings
82
Black Ways of War
116
Stone by Stone
153
A Land Laid Waste
187
May Brotherhood Be Blessed
Z-26
Sheathe the Old Sword
336
And We Remember All
372
Chronology of Main Events
389
Sources
393
List of Archives
397
Notes
399
Bibliography
433
Acknowledgements
441

Exulting Grieving and Sweating Blood
Z-63
Despoil the Corpse
299

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About the author (2007)

Catherine Merridale is the author of the critically acclaimed Night of Stone, winner of Britain's Heinemann Award for Literature. A professor of contemporary history at the University of London, she also writes for the London Review of Books, the New Statesman, and The Independent and regularly presents history features for the BBC.

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