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Russia's War: A History of the Soviet Effort: 1941-1945
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Russia's War: A History of the Soviet Effort: 1941-1945

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  1,426 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
-A penetrating and compassionate book on the most gigantic military struggle in world history.---The New York Times Book Review
-An extraordinary tale... Overy's engrossing book provides extensive details of teh slaughter, brutality, bitterness and destruction on the massive front from the White Sea to the flank of Asia.---Chicago Tribune
The Russian war effort to defeat
Paperback, 394 pages
Published August 1st 1998 by Penguin Books (first published July 1997)
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Apr 28, 2012 Anthony rated it really liked it
Richard Overy's history of the USSR's World War II experience revealed a lot that is lacking in typical American history courses concerning WWII. For one, it shows with a great deal of evidence how the USSR was able to recover from an initial German push that led the Nazis to within 40 miles of Moscow by its own accord. Stalin's reign was terrible, but it also allowed for a highly centralized industry that produced superior tanks at an astonishing rate. By the time the Allies landed at Normandy, ...more
May 24, 2014 Stian rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, owned-books, history
A quick little review:
It turns out that this book is based on a brilliant World War II documentary that I watched some years ago. Somehow I never made the connection: the documentary is called Russia's War: Blood Upon the Snow, whereas the book is only Russia's War.

Now, what I did while reading this book was to read one chapter (they are each around 30-50 pages long), and then to watch the corresponding documentary episode. This made for a fantastic reading and learning experience. How in the
Jul 03, 2017 Kate rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, wwii
This text was published as a companion book to a 10 episode television series produce by IBP Films London. It covers the rise of Stalin and his endless suspicions and purges from which few were safe, and Stalin's joining alliances with the west who he was highly suspicious of which led to his non-aggression pact with Germany after Germany invaded Czechoslovakia. The bulk of the book covers the actual war once Germany turns on Russia and attacks in June 1941 to its defeat when the Russians roll i ...more
Nov 28, 2011 Jur rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii, own
Reads very smoothly. Excellent general account of the war from the Russian perspective that tries to cover all aspects off the war. For more purely military accounts, you will need to find another book. Overy had earned his spurs in Russian sources before he wrote this account, so his grasp of the subject is very good.

It starts out with establishing the revolutionary roots of the army and its attempts to both modernise and find a balance between ideological purity and military professionalism. I
Dec 10, 2015 Gram rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short yet very comprehensive account of the Soviet Union's bloody struggle to defeat Nazi Germany after the initial rout which followed Operation Barbarossa. The Nazis' initial success wasn't as clear cut as many believe. From the beginning and throughout the war, the bravery and resilience of the Red Army surprised the German generals who had been taught to regard the peoples of Eastern Europe as "Untermenschen" (i.e. subhuman). According to Heinrich Himmler, the war in the East was to be one ...more
Apr 26, 2012 Bou rated it really liked it
This book is a nice introduction to the war on the Eastern Front. It starts with an explanation of the pre-war years, by dealing with the purges and war doctrine. After that, it tells about the struggle on the eastern front from year to year, roughly divided by 1942, 1943 and 1944 and onwards. It doesn't go into very deep tactical details, which makes it a nice introduction to this theater of war. One remarkable subject is the Polish uprising in Warsaw, with the Red Army waiting and not coming t ...more
'Aussie Rick'
Oct 14, 2009 'Aussie Rick' rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2

This book offers the reader a decent and non-bias account of Russia's wartime effort during the Second World War. Although not as detailed as John Erickson's two volume account of the Soviet military effort its a lot more easier to understand and follow. Also you aren't left with the impression that the book was full of Russian propaganda. It tells the story as it really was, showing both the good and the bad side of the Russian leadership and its role in trying to stem the German onslaught into
Aug 17, 2009 Philip rated it liked it
The book followed a miniseries, which might explain its strengths and weaknesses.

The good: the Oxford don who wrote this history proved his erudition by sharing relatively fine details of the Soviet war effort, and by offering occasional rebuttal of what he perceived as commonly-held-but-erroneous-beliefs about Stalin or the larger history.

The bad: having said that, I estimate that he wrote 80% in the passive voice. Further, paragraphs are frequently too long and often lack topic sentences. I s
Oct 10, 2013 Sumit rated it really liked it
An interesting account of Russian side of the eastern front war and some intriguing claims about Russia's foreign policy leading to and during early war years. The authors benefits from new documents recently declassified from the Russian archives, and sheds light on previously unknown and heavily speculated aspects of Russian policy.
Book is relatively small and doesnt go in too much of details about fine aspects of battalion movement. What it does is provide a good mix of strategic and tactica
Apr 07, 2017 Venky rated it really liked it
Shelves: bibliocase
Professor Richard Overy in this eye opener, details the gargantuan Soviet effort in amassing men and material, which on hindsight turned out to be the most colossal feat of World War II. From the very brink of humiliating defeat after being taken unawares of the German Blitzkrieg - courtesy Operation Barbarossa - to hoisting the Communist Flag at the Reich stag in Berlin, Russia overcame obstacles of every sort, both natural and man made; posed by friend and foe alike to emerge triumphant in som ...more
Emmanuel Gustin
At less than 400 pages, this is a short history of Russia's (more accurately, the Soviet Union's) participation in the Second World War. Overy had to make choices in his coverage of the conflict: His account describes the major battles in broad strokes, with enough detail to make the reader understand the strategic choices that the Soviet leadership made, but also gives due emphasis to the experience of the population, the shifts of power in the leadership, and the war production effort that mad ...more
Jul 25, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-history
Smoothly-written and fascinating, "Russia's War" shows a vitally important side of World War II usually ignored by Western accounts. The book goes far toward demonstrating that, while the American operations in Europe commencing with D-Day were important to the defeat of Nazi Germany, they were not truly the vital factor in the outcome of the European war; those honors properly belong to Soviet Russia, with all its faults and foibles, as well as its heroes and incredible stamina under pressure.

Dec 20, 2010 Tracie rated it really liked it
An excellent book about the Soviet Union during WWII. A lot of it I knew but there was so much that I didn't. Every time I read a history of the Soviet Union I always want to make it required reading for those who think that communism is some great form of government. What Lenin and then Stalin did to the poor people in their own country as well as the countries they took over is horrific! They punished their own citizens who had been POWs in the war for allowing themselves to be captured rather ...more
Sep 09, 2014 Schopfi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Russia's War seems at first a little populist and simplifying - it's not called The War of the Sowjet Union for instance - but if you look past the occasional simplifications, especially concerning single historical figures, you will find a well written, relatively unbiased book on the Sowjet war effort. The last part of the book points out the shroud of myths that has distorted the Russian view on the past. If you want to understand the specific relationship Russia has with its own history star ...more
Sep 16, 2011 AC rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fascism, russia
Ted Mccormack
Jul 12, 2017 Ted Mccormack rated it really liked it
Good overview of WWII on the Russian front.
Mark McTague
Feb 06, 2017 Mark McTague rated it really liked it
Be glad you were not a Russian on the eastern front during World War II.
Jan 17, 2017 Patrick rated it it was amazing
Overy does a great job shedding some light on the Cold War era thinking towards the Soviet Union's role in WWII. Unfortunately, many historians portray the Soviet effort as a bumbling moat of humanity being thrown against a far superior enemy. Overy, on the other hand, explores the evolution of Soviet tactics and strategies to show the reader that milestones such as Stalingrad, Kursk, and Bagration were well thought-out victories and not simply Red Army generals throwing wave upon wave of under- ...more
Jun 16, 2007 stephanie rated it it was amazing
this is a fast and easy read. overy's writing is very very accessible and enjoyable, and you won't want to put the book down.

because the cold war started immediately after, americans don't really have a sense of how important the soviet effort was to the war, to the fact that america was even involved. the soviets literally held the germans off all by themselves for years - on an entire front. the western front collapsed in seconds, england would have been crushed if stalin didn't keep throwing
May 28, 2014 Jarrod rated it it was amazing
This is a very good and comprehensive telling of the Soviet effort in WWII. For me, it uncovered a lot about the Russian way of life in the war and the struggle just to stay alive, not only as a country but as people. This book is a great compliment to a vast study of the Eastern Front in Europe/Asia. There is a lot of information revolving around Stalin, his motives, ideas, thoughts and how the interaction with him from Roosevelt, Churchill and then Truman affected his decisions. There is good ...more
Dec 07, 2013 Josepha rated it it was amazing
Stunning work of history. Fluently written, incredibly detailed and full of very important truths about WWII mostly obscured in ordinary historic writing on the second world war such as:
- The discipline of order 227 meant for officers and others not regular soldiers
- The necessity of the gulag for war time production (quota required more people)
- Russian history shows that extreme force is part of the Russian heritage of ruling, meaning: Stalin is a product of his predecessors who were ruled br
Oct 25, 2016 James rated it really liked it
An essential read for those wanting a frank yet insightful overview of Russia's role in WWII

I have just finished this fascinating book by Overy, whose well researched and gripping prose combine to create a must read book for anyone seeking an introductory overview on the Eastern Front.

This book touches on all of the main aspects of the war on Russian soil from the pre war build up, to Barbarossa, and finishing with the fall of the Swastika. It covers key figures such as Stalin, Zhukov and other
Matthew Griffiths
This was an excellently detailed read on the lesser known side of the second world war and contains the story of arguably many of the wars most important battles. detailing the history of the soviet union from the time of the great terror and the chaos this caused in many ways for the soviet armed forces right through to the potsdam conference. Overy does flinch in calling a spade a spade when discussing Stalin's crimes and paints a fascinating picture of how the Soviet Union very nearly collaps ...more
Joseph R. Howard
Oct 09, 2012 Joseph R. Howard rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: History, World War II, and Soviet Union buffs.
Recommended to Joseph by: Dr. John Morrow
Very insightful. Although it is a bit dated because it was written in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union (which meant that there weren't too many documents yet available). Overy still does a great job with the documentation he had at his disposal, and sheds a great deal of light on a previously pitch-black subject.
Oct 28, 2015 Dr. rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
"...a moment of bittersweet triumph in a long history of loss."

This is an excellent and approachable account of the Soviet war effort in WW2. It largely reads like a military history, but does delve into economic, political, and social issues as well. I enjoy Richard Overy's straight forward writing style and his clear headed analysis.
Tres Herndon
Jul 15, 2010 Tres Herndon rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books on WW2 I have ever read. I learned a lot of new stuff about the Soviet war effort. We really have a clouded view of it here in the West, and indeed the Russians themselves did under Communism. I would call this book required reading for anyone interested in the subject.
Aug 28, 2013 Tom rated it liked it
An excellent overview of the eastern front during WWII. It doesn't shy away from the monstrosities of the two main countries slugging it out but does try to answer, without resorting to cold war propaganda (western or eastern), how the Soviet Union could go from nearly losing Leningrad, Stalingrad, Moscow, and millions of people to defeating the Nazis.
Feb 17, 2016 Dave rated it really liked it
Russia's War"" is a brief but well-done overview of the Second World War in the Soviet Union. Making good use of Russian documents released after the end of the Cold War, Ricahrd Overy does a solid job of revealing how the Russian (and Ukrainian, Polish, etc.) people prevailed against the German onslaught. Recommended reading, especially for novice students of World War II.
Dec 29, 2010 Highjump rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book about the Soviet Union's war effort. Covers everything in a manageable size, accessible yet scholarly (no Tom Brokaw style romanticizing here!), and does a wonderful job capturing the scope of the event.
Mar 18, 2014 Johnhoff rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Overy's account of the Soviet party in WWII is notable for its careful treatment of Stalin, detailing his successes and shortcomings as a leader and for taking a clear-eyed look at the purges and abuses of the Soviet regime.
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Richard James Overy is a British historian who has published extensively on the history of World War II and the Third Reich.
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