Russia's War: A History of the Soviet Effort: 1941-1945
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  641 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Presents an account of the greatest military encounter in human history. This title describes the events of 1941-45 in which the Soviet Union, after initial catastrophes, destroyed Hitler's Third Reich and shaped European history for the next half Century.
Paperback, 394 pages
Published August 1st 1998 by Penguin Books (first published July 1997)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Russia's War, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Russia's War

Natasha's Dance by Orlando FigesJourney into the Whirlwind by Evgenia GinzburgA Handful of Earth by Larisa WalkRussia's War by Richard OveryMolotov's Magic Lantern by Rachel Polonsky
Best Eastern European History Books
4th out of 74 books — 20 voters
1491 by Charles C. MannIndia by John KeayAfrica by John ReaderDestiny Disrupted by Tamim AnsaryA History of God by Karen Armstrong
World History AP 2013
19th out of 184 books — 7 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,710)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Richard Overy's history of the USSR's World War II experience revealed a lot that is lacking in typical American history courses concerning the Great War. 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...more
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...more
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'

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...more
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...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
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.

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
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...more
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...more
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.
Lewis Williams
A brilliant history book, combining narrative, analysis, and summary seamlessly into a well rounded framework. Essential reading for anyone interested in Russia's bitter - and bloody - fight against Germany in WWII.
Rich Taylor
An excellent overview of the entire war from the Soviet perspective.
Well written and thoughgt provoking.
Highly readable. A great work about an unbelievable moment in history.
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.
Joseph Howard
Jan 31, 2013 Joseph Howard rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
Tres Herndon
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.
Matthew Talbert
I really enjoyed this book. Growing up in the US, we're taught about the Western Front of WWII, but very little about the Eastern. The story is phenomenal, and so much bigger in every respect than the western front of the war. This account was very readable, and gripping.
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.
When I was gathering sources for a paper on the German-Soviet war within the context of the second world war, this was possibly the only book that kept me engaged. Overy has a wonderful writing style for a historical text.
Sean Chick
Gritty and unrelenting look at possibly the worst war ever fought: the contest between Hitler and Stalin. Reads fast and Overy pulls no punches while adding his own controversial analysis of Russia's war effort.
Dec 11, 2013 David rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: Just picked up from library; was reading similar
Book version of a 10-part British TV show on WW II on the Eastern Front. Not as scholarly as some books on the same topic, but OK. Thorough but somehow shallow. Call it 2.5 stars.
Sean Schlemmer
Oct 31, 2008 Sean Schlemmer is currently reading it
In preparation for Vollmann's Europe Central and Grossman's Life and Fate: Mr Overy's book and then Antony Beever's Stalingrad. Dramatic. Very well-written.
A readable and workmanlike overview of the Soviet Union's war against Nazi Germany. A good introduction to a vast subject.
Chris Brimmer
Gives at least a flavor of what genocidal war was all about.
Re-reading.....pretty standard stuff but Overy is a great author.
Robert Haase
Excellent book, I highly recommend...
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...more
Liberation Sans
Liberation Sans marked it as to-read
Sep 18, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 56 57 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Ivan's War: Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939-1945
  • Barbarossa
  • When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler
  • Moscow 1941: A City And Its People At War
  • A Writer at War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army
  • The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy
  • Rising '44: The Battle for Warsaw
  • Leningrad: The Epic Siege of World War II, 1941-1944
  • Hitler's Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe
  • After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation
  • The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad
  • Absolute War: Soviet Russia in the Second World War
  • Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945
  • Berlin at War: Life and Death in Hitler's Capital, 1939-45
  • A War to be Won: Fighting the Second World War
  • Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire
  • The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany 1944-45
  • A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II
Richard James Overy is a British historian who has published extensively on the history of World War II and the Third Reich.
More about Richard Overy...
Why the Allies Won The Dictators: Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia 1939: Countdown to War The Battle Of Britain: Myth and Reality The Bombers and the Bombed: Allied Air War Over Europe 1940-1945

Share This Book