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Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege: 1942-1943

4.29  ·  Rating Details ·  18,399 Ratings  ·  607 Reviews
This gripping history is the definitive account of the battle that shifted the tide of World War II, conveying the experience of soldiers on both sides as they fought in inhuman conditions, and of civilians trapped on an urban battlefield.
ebook, 560 pages
Published May 1st 1999 by Penguin Books (first published 1998)
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Dec 25, 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
"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
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
Feb 15, 2015 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
'Aussie Rick'
Nov 28, 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
Jun 26, 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
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
Robin Webster
Jun 09, 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
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
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
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
Walter Mendoza
Jan 03, 2016 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
Oct 07, 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
Apr 07, 2013 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
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
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
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.
Sep 11, 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
Martin Boyle
Nov 04, 2015 Martin Boyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
I'm not really a great fan of war and the history of battles, but this was an important event in European history and one that is still shaping modern attitudes.

Certainly I was not expecting a comfortable read, but the scale of the carnage was beyond anything that I had imagined. It was such that I was torn between a failure to understand the level of human loss and an inability to believe in the willingness of the victims to sacrifice themselves: chose your nightmare.

The stubbornness of leaders
Richard Murphy
Jul 01, 2016 Richard Murphy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now I must admit I did not know much about the battle of Stalingrad other than the basics.

This book is a masterpiece in detail.

It is at times difficult to read the horrors that men/women and children (not to mention the horses!) went through during this bleak period of the 2nd world war. The absolute horror of battle and the author is so well educated and so well researched he brilliant describes the battle and how the tactics unfolded.

If you are a historian or if detailed analysis of battles i
Anthony Ryan
Oct 08, 2014 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.
Nov 27, 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.
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
Dec 17, 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.
Aug 19, 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
This was a fascinating read, I got through this book very quickly. Antony Beevor is a very good writer, the only problem I have is that he writes this too well, at times I had to keep reminding myself that this is not a story and all these events happened, as I was reading I kept being reminded of war & peace, similar routes were taken and similar tactics were used. It is truly horrible just how much those in charge toyed with peoples lives and there are some really shocking scenes in this b ...more
Tamsin Barlow
Jun 19, 2014 Tamsin Barlow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I were British I would say, "Bloody hell." Reading this book was like standing in front of a firehose of misery. For the true aficionado of war strategies and troop deployments you get more than your fill, nevertheless the book works because it never lets you lose sight of the human tragedy. Yes there's a lot of talk about military strategy and the chain of decisions that led to the Kessel - Stalingrad was a battle that set in motion a chain of events that eventually sealed the fate of post-w ...more
Rob Cheney
A wonderful account of a monumental struggle of epic proportions. Should be read in conjunction with Martin Sixsmith's "Russia A 1000-Year Chronicle of the Wild East" to attempt to grasp the historical origins of the Russian people's capacity to accept loss and suffering. The callous and casually cruel behavior (an almost inhuman disregard of human life and suffering) by both Hitler and Stalin comes shining through.

Small individual anecdotes and personal moments are interspersed with the huge pa
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 47 Sep 29, 2014 08:18AM  
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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.” 1 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.” 0 likes
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