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Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942-1943

4.29  ·  Rating Details ·  19,693 Ratings  ·  637 Reviews

In October 1942, a panzer officer wrote 'Stalingrad is no longer a town... Animals flee this hell; the hardest stones cannot bear it for long; only men endure.

The battle for Stalingrad became the focus of Hitler and Stalin's determination to win the gruesome, vicious war on the eastern front. The citizens of Stalingrad endured unimaginable hardship; the battle, with fierc

Kindle Edition, 512 pages
Published October 4th 2007 by Penguin (first published 1998)
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"You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is 'never get involved in a land war in Asia' - but only slightly less well-known is this: 'Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line'"!
-- Wallace Shawn as Vizzini in The Princess Bride

Never get involved in a land war in Asia. Or the European portion of Russia.

That's good advice.

For whatever reason, though, the lure of Russia - its vast steppes, its vast resources, its vast and bloody history - has
Dec 11, 2012 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, russia
This is a painful book to read, as it shows the horror of the war on both sides. The half-year battle for the streets of Stalingrad was an unremitting horror, with not only two armies, but thousands of civilians jammed into a city that was being bombed into rubble while everyone was starving or dying of thirst. (Apparently this book demonstrated the dangers of trying to substitute snow for water.)

Just when the battle for the streets of Stalingrad appeared to be turning into a stalemate, with Ge
So, I'm watching a movie in German about the siege of Stalingrad last night while I'm knitting and my first thought was 'but I won't have a clue what is going on' and my second is 'fair enough....why should I have an unfair advantage over the poor fuckers who were there in the thick of it.' Just because I'm watching the movie, it shouldn't give me an edge.

Afterwards, explaining this to my mother, she asked, so did you get it? And I'm like 'nope, but neither did they.' Bunches of people being con
'Aussie Rick'
Jun 12, 2009 'Aussie Rick' rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-military, ww2

This is an excellent account of the battle of Stalingrad, I'd place it next to 'Enemy at the Gates'. The author gives you an overview of the military situation on the Eastern Front prior to the German Offensive towards Stalingrad on the Volga. The author tells the story of this terrible battle through the accounts of those soldiers who endured this inferno and survived as well as using letters and diaries of those who didn't! This is a story of the fighting, not of the strategy and tactics behin
Apr 19, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, wwii, russia
This book was more from the 6th Army/German perspective, which wasn’t what I was expecting. But seeing as my background on this event comes more from the Russian perspective, so it was an interesting read. This book covers a lot of ground, starting with Operation Barbarossa (well, really even a little bit before that) and follows through some prison camps that extended into the 1950s! There is a part in this book that describes a German officer who gets flown out of the 6th Army encirclement (la ...more
Jun 15, 2008 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in war
This book is an astounding piece of work. Beevor does not have the moral resonance of a Martin Gilbert or the sparkling language of a Dan Van Der Vat, but in his own stolid way he tells a damn good story. Painstakingly researched and grippingly told, the book begins with Operation Barbarossa, Hitler's ill-conceived and treacherous plan to invade the Soviet Union. As we all know, this attempt foundered after the Soviet counter-attacks around Stalingrad in the Northern winter of 1942-43. Beevor at ...more
Sep 16, 2016 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stunning account of perseverance, deprivation and stupidity surrounding one of the most pivotal battles of WW II. In the summer of 1942 German axis forces descended on the small city of Stalingrad, Russia, pollution 400,000. The city was of no real significance other than it carried Joesph Stalin's name. Germany thought it would be an easy win for their propaganda machine. It proved anything but. Over the next 9 months, the Axis threw roughly 1 MM well armed, expertly trained soldiers, supported ...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
It was called as the Great War. It was great in all aspects of war, including in its stupidity. You know how it started. A minor potentate was assassinated and with this single death nations found reason enough to stage an orgy of bloodbaths across Europe which resulted to the death of millions, most of them young men in the prime of their lives. The manner this war was conducted even looked more foolish: the soldiers dug trenches, built fortifications and set up machine gun nests. They rain bom ...more
Jan 10, 2009 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first Beevor, it was outstanding. I will be coming back for more. Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942-1943 gets 5 Stars for the epic battle history presented here. What Beevor conveys better than others is the sheer brutality of the eastern front and the Stalingrad battle. While millions die, Beevor brings the tragedy down to the individual level. Atrocity is matched by atrocity until you mourn the death of each side while seeing each side having justification. The Nazis started it but the So ...more
I've always been fascinated with modern history, especially World War II - it was my favourite subject and topic back in school. I would stay up late into the night reading up on various things from history (probably instead of doing my actual history homework) that interested me - I seem to remember spending a weekend doing nothing but reading about the Unification of Germany.

It's been a few years since I finished Year 12, and upon starting Stalingrad I was struck by how much I had missed readi
Robin Webster
May 31, 2013 Robin Webster rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The ending of siege of Stalingrad was seen by many historians as the defining moment of the Second World War. It cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of both German and Russian soldiers, as well as countless numbers of civilians. It is said that during the reconstruction of Stalingrad they were digging up bodies for decades afterwards.Tens of thousands died needlessly due to the interference of both Stalin and Hitler who on countless occasions overrode their Generals and insisted upon attacks ...more
Walter Mendoza
May 31, 2015 Walter Mendoza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The battle of Stalingrad was the most important of WWII, the author tell us about the siege of Stalingrad; an very detailed story of the battle and point of view of soldier. The book count with an excellent research, well written like a novel. You have a good look of both armies and their commanders, focuses on the details tactical and strategic of the battle, about decisions of the generals. However the book it barely mentioned the military aviation but this is one the best books of the battle ...more
Indeed a great work by a great historian. An essential read for all world war followers.

Stalingrad was a game changer of world war 2. During the complete course of war, change in mood, thoughts, impressions of Germans, Romanians and Soviets is easily depicted. It is easy to trace that conflict of ego, was the main reason for mass killing of mankind and animals.

Conflicts of regional political ideologies was another big reason for it. Leaders of each region had recklessly tried to get public obed
This is surely one of the best, if not the best, books written on the siege of Stalingrad. The description of the siege, from both the German and Soviet perspectives, is quite unforgettable. The battle was joined on 23 August 1942 and concluded over five months later with the encirclement of the assaulting German Sixth Army by Russian reinforcements. Casualty estimates are always difficult for a battle of this size, but most agree that over a million lives were lost on both sides. Many civilians ...more
Jan 18, 2017 Mit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is a meticulously researched and gripping account of the horrific battle that ultimately lead to the collapse of Hitler and his army in Russia and also a German defeat in WWII. Many people consider the D-Day landings as one of the most terrible battles in WWII. However, this book presented the savage war that happened for four months between Germans and Russians and it resulted in more killings of Germans than it happened in Normandy. (According to one Soviet General, Vasily Chuikov)

Author h
Sep 20, 2012 Lee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Call me odd, but I've never been particularly fond of Hitler or Stalin. Controversial as that opinion may be, it was only reinforced by Antony Beevor's Stalingrad.

The Battle of Stalingrad was both one of the bloodiest in world history and — which says something about WWII — the second bloodiest conflict of the second World War. (The first was, predictably, the siege of Leningrad.) Quite what would have happened if the Soviet and German generals had been in charge of their respective armies is un
Feb 15, 2009 Roger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stalingrad was the battle that turned the tide in the struggle against the German forces in WWII. This battle cost over 1 million lives with both sides refusing to lose. The fierce fight over a ruined city is fully explored along with the in human conditions both sides struggled with. The cost to the civilian population was staggering and this was a true battle of total war. Both sides showed little mercy to their own soldiers with executions and inhuman cruelity to prisoners. The egos of Stalin ...more
I opted for an abridged version on audible, listened to at 2x speed while walking the dog --. A heavier focus on military history than I normally read, but a good enough overview in preparation for reading Vasily Grossman. Not, however, a really superb book, in my view -- though the editing/abridgment may have had something to do with that.
Aug 27, 2009 Dr. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-2
The best book outlining a single battle that I have ever come across, ever. Beevor is a part of a new generation of WW2 historians who is rapidly and earnestly breaking down the western view of the war for the sake of something more objective. Read it and it will haunt you. Be careful, seriously impactful gave me fucking nightmares, not shitting you. Few authors have ever been able to put forth the true horrors of war in a way that really hit home and even begin to hint at the unspeakable things ...more
May 19, 2011 Claudio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ensayo, historia
Con estos relatos pormenorizados uno se da cuenta de la increible estupidez de los altos mandos que provocan daños inimaginables para los soldados en el frente de batalla. Nadie se salva, desde los ineptos comandantes rusos hasta los rastreros alemanes; unos paranoicos por causa de Stalin o derechamente incompetentes, otros acobardados o hipnotizados por Hitler, rehusándose a ver lo evidente.

Las pequeñas historias de heroísmo e incluso de humanidad contrastan con el desprecio total a la vida, l
Anthony Ryan
Dec 10, 2011 Anthony Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beevor manages to capture the scale of a truly titanic struggle without forgetting the human element. A powerful and often harrowing picture what happens when two dictatorships go to war. The Soviet Union may have been a dreadful place to live, but it should be remembered that its people did, once upon a time, save the world from something worse.
Thomas Strömquist
The horrors of war exposed. I actually read the whole thing wide-eyed I believe. Beevor gets entangled in details from time to time, but it doesn't matter, he presents the material head-on, the only way to actually do it. It's not an enjoyable book, but quite essential.
Annie M
Nov 02, 2007 Annie M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: non academics
Shelves: war-politics
One thing I do know, and that is this is a very good read. I'm not a history buff, I don't study it, and I'm not a bloke (if that makes sense). What I do like are good human stories and there's plenty here. A very accessible, well written book.
Oct 24, 2015 Francisco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historia, ingleses
Narración de la batalla más cruenta de la historia, con gran aportación de datos y retratando sin recato el comportamiento de ambos bandos.
Andrew Donnellan
Sep 16, 2013 Andrew Donnellan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with an interest in World War II
Antony Beevor's Stalingrad presents a vivid picture of the battle which epitomised so much of the horror of the Second World War. Beevor's aim of providing a comprehensive traditional narrative of the Battle of Stalingrad is certainly ambitious, given the incredible scale of the conflict. "A purely military study of such a titanic struggle," he argues, "fails to convey its reality on the ground, rather as Hitler's maps isolated him in a fantasy-world, far from the suffering of his soldiers." (p. ...more
Jun 13, 2012 Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I cannot comment on the historical accuracy of this book (e.g., whether it presents a conventional or more radical interpretation of particular events), nor can I compare it with other books on the siege of Stalingrad.
That aside, I can recommend this book to anyone seeking a well-written view of what has to be one of the biggest military losses in contemporary history. Aside from descriptions of troop movements, officers' meetings, close-range combat, and all the other things you might except fr
Andy Bryant
Aug 18, 2013 Andy Bryant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bloody hell. This is a gruelling, but ultimately very rewarding book. Of all the battles that made up world War 2, Stalingrad is the one I've always found fascinating. I was aware of its place in history as the turning point in the War, and understood bits if the story (mainly from Yesterday channel and Enemy at the Gates!), but I had no idea just what an epic human tragedy it really was.

I've never really been interested in military strategy, so I tended to glaze over a fair bit when Beevor desc
Jul 16, 2016 Vishwanath rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is an unforgettable read and a very detailed account of the siege of Stalingrad.

We all know the eventual outcome of the siege but the great part about the book is the range of emotions it conveys on both sides. It starts off with astonishing ferocity of the beginning of operation Barbarossa - Hitler's masterplan to invade the vastness of Russia. As a reader you feel for the Russian civilians at the receiving brunt of the German onslaught and butchery as they race towards the Volga river an
Mar 28, 2013 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an excellent introduction to the military history of the Eastern Front during World War II for the average reader like myself, who might be well acquainted with the general history of World War II but is nevertheless unable to distinguish between, say, a brigade and a battalion. (Beevor provides definitions of all the important military formations in his introductory pages.)

Beevor's book is also, I would argue, a truly gripping and exciting account of the Battle of Stalingrad, an a
Dec 11, 2012 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably the definitive account of the Battle for Stalingrad. The account covers the start of Operation Barbarossa. The campaign lasting almost two years that lead the 6th Army to the town of Stalingrad. It weaves several threads together. The sycophants in German high command, the reckless gambling of Hitler. The rampant paranoia of Stalin and the Stavka. As well as the tenuous German front from the Don to the Volga. The 6th army in Stalingrad and its commander General Paulus.

The 6th a
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Good historical evidence, and then interesting. 7 49 Sep 29, 2014 08:18AM  
  • The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad
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  • Absolute War: Soviet Russia in the Second World War
  • The Third Reich At War (The History of the Third Reich, #3)
  • Leningrad: The Epic Siege of World War II, 1941-1944
  • Six Armies in Normandy: From D-Day to the Liberation of Paris; June 6 - Aug. 5, 1944
  • Barbarossa
  • A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II
  • Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad
  • The Forgotten Soldier
  • The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War
  • No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe, 1939-1945
  • Moscow 1812: Napoleon's Fatal March
  • Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar
  • The Most Dangerous Enemy: A History of the Battle of Britain
Antony James Beevor is a British historian, educated at Winchester College and Sandhurst. He studied under the famous historian of World War II, John Keegan. Beevor is a former officer with the 11th Hussars who served in England and Germany for 5 years before resigning his commission. He has published several popular histories on the Second World War and 20th century in general.

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“This armchair strategist never possessed the qualities for true generalship, because he ignored practical problems.” 2 likes
“German soldiers made use of Stalingrad orphans themselves. Daily tasks, such as filling water-bottles, were dangerous when Russian snipers lay in wait for any movement. So, for the promise of a crust of bread, they would get Russian boys and girls to take their water-bottles down to the Volga’s edge to fill them. When the Soviet side realized what was happening, Red Army soldiers shot children on such missions.” 1 likes
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