A Writer at War: A Soviet Journalist with the Red Army, 1941-1945

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Vintage books, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 380 pages
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Based on the notebooks in which Vasily Grossman gathered the raw materials for his newspaper articles, this book depicts as never before the crushing condition on the Eastern Front during World War II and the lives and deaths of infantrymen, tank drivers, pilots, snipers, and civilians. Deemed unfit for service when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, Grossman became a special correspondent for 'The Red Star, ' the Red Army newspaper. A portly novelist in his mid-thirties with no military experience, he was given a uniform and hastily taught how to use a pistol. Remarkably, he spent three of the next four years at the front, observing with a writer's eye the most pitiless fighting ever recorded. Grossman witnessed almost all the major events of the Eastern Front: the appalling defeats and desperate retreats of 1941, the defense of Moscow, and the fighting in the Ukraine. In August 1942 he was posted to Stalingrad, where he remained during four brutal months of street fighting. Grossman was present at the battle of Kursk (the largest tank engagement in history), and, as the Red Army advanced, he reached Berdichev, where his worst fears for his mother and other relatives were confirmed. A Jew himself, he undertook the faithful recording of Holocaust atrocities as their extent dawned. His supremely powerful report 'The hell of Treblinka' was used in evidence at the Nuremberg tribunal. Anthony Beever, a historian, along with Luba Vinogradova, have woven Grossman's notebooks into a fluid, compelling narrative that gives us one of the best descriptions- at once unflinching and sensitive- of what Grossman called 'the ruthless truth of war.' -- from Publisher.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - 9inchsnails - LibraryThing

Wavered on the star rating for this one, but I'll go with four stars, since it was the reading experience and not the book itself I had trouble with. I read it as an ebook, and it just didn't ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kcshankd - LibraryThing

Worth it for the description of Treblinka alone. As difficult as it was to read, I can't even imagine the interviews and first-hand reporting that went into writing that piece. The eastern fronts have always been neglected, hopefully this will help to rectify that state of affairs. Read full review


Baptism of Fire August 1941
The Terrible Retreat August to September 1941
On the Bryansk Front September 1941
With the 50th Army September 1941
Back into the Ukraine September 1941
he German Capture of Orel October 1941
The Withdrawal before Moscow October 1041
PART TWO The Year of Stalingrad 1942
With the Khasin Tank Brigade February 1942
The Ruthless Truth of War March to July 1942
The Road to Stalingrad August 1942
The September Battles
The Stalingrad Academy Autumn 1942
The October Battles
The Tide Turned November 1942

In the South January 1942
The Air War in the South January 1942
On the Donets with the Black Division
Poznaii and Sclnverin

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About the author (2007)

VASILY GROSSMAN was born in 1905. In 1941 he became a war reporter for the Red Army newspaper Red Star and came to be regarded as a legendary war hero. Life and Fate, his masterpiece, was considered a threat to the totalitarian regime, and Grossman was told that there was no chance of the novel being published for another 200 years. Grossman died in 1964.

ANTONY BEEVOR's books include Stalingrad and The Fall of Berlin 1945, which has been translated into 25 languages.

DR. LUBA VINOGRADOVA is a researcher, translator, and freelance journalist. She has worked with Antony Beevor on his three most recent books.

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