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Deathride Hitler vs. Stalin: The Eastern Front, 1941-1945

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  85 ratings  ·  22 reviews
The German invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, began a war that lasted nearly four years and created by far the bloodiest theater in World War II. In the conventional narrative of this war, Hitler was defeated by Stalin because, like Napoleon, he underestimated the size and resources of his enemy. In fact, says historian John Mosier, Hitler came very close to wi ...more
Hardcover, 470 pages
Published June 15th 2010 by Simon & Schuster
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John Mosier's books follow a basic formula. What you thought you knew about conflict X is wrong, what really happened is Y. Here he aims to say that the prevailing idea that the Red Army defeated the Wehrmacht thereby winning World War 2 is wrong, instead Stalin used propaganda to build up the story of the great Red Army which is false. The premise is surprising in that for much of popular culture, World War 2 = D-Day. In any case, I found the book an strange exercise overall, even though it is ...more
I have like all of Mosier's books that I have read to date. Having read WWII history for about 50 years, and walked many WWII battlefields in both Europe and the Pacific, I can say that what gets on the written page often bears little resemblance to the truth, especially when the keepers of the facts and the historians have an agenda. Moiser sets out to gore sacred cows and he is quite effective at it.

Even at a youngish age, I could sense when a history didn't seem right. I read Martin Caidin's
Derek Weese
John Mosier is not an academic historian, he is instead an academic contrarian. This entire book is devoted to challenging and debunking what he see's as the myths and sacred cows brought up over the years concerning the Eastern Front. Mosier, however, sets himself an impossible task: to say the final word about the war in the East. There will possibly never be a final word and those who think they've done so are fooling themselves. Mosier and David Stahel are both guilty of this and both are di ...more
Mar 08, 2012 Don rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: history
After reading this book I thought it was too bad both Hitler and Stalin couldn't both lose. The total lack of concern for the lives of his Russian troops were appalling. Over 40 months of fighting the Soviets lost more men per day than the US has lost in 10 years in Afghanistan and Iraq. The author considers Hitler to a better general than normally credited. He shows how the Germans nearly won the war against the Russians and would have won had not England and America provided help to the Soviet ...more
I couldn't bring myself to finish this one.

"The German generals were wrong, Hitler was right, Stalin was an idiot, here's one fact to back me up, and the survivors got to write the history." Lather, rinse, repeat. That's pretty much the theme of this book. I don't have the time to research all of this, so back it goes. I wish there had been more put into it, but I can't parse it out now.
Mosier never met an icon he didn't want to bring down, and the Soviet version of the "Great Patriotic War" is no exception. Drawing mainly on published secondary sources, he systematically deconstructs the Soviet narrative of surprise attack, desperate defense, brilliant defensive victories, and triumphant offensives. Mosier bases much of his criticism of the Soviet war effort on his analysis of casualties, which shows that only on very rare occasions did the Germans fail to inflict disproportio ...more
Another excellent scab of truth about WWII ripped off by the author concerning the charnel house of the Eastern theater. A fantastic and revealing case is made that things were not as the official "histories" wanted them to be. Special attention is given to personalities and new thinking that brought decisions to their painful catastrophic conclusions, and no quarter is given for the massive and vast incompetence that Stalin and Hitler delivered to their people.

WWII, especially the abattoir of t
Drew Tucker
I liked it, but it had some real flaws that caused it's demotion. Anyways, I liked Mosier's thesis regarding the eastern front, his careful plodding through the events of the back and forth, while illuminating, really bogs down. I had to really force myself to push through his bland, too-academic writing style the whole time. My interest in the subject matter, and the unique nature of Mosier's thesis gave me the drive to push through, but it was tough at times. One big complaint was the lack of ...more
George Serebrennikov
What I learned from the book is that great American historians of WWII, David Glantz and likes, spoiled me rotten, and I have to be more selective in the future and do more research before buying military history books. Other than that, nothing positive I can say about the work of John Mosier. I started to suspect that I made a mistake early on, when Mr. Moiser mentioned untimely death of Walter Wever, the father of German long-range bomber program, and sub-sequential cancelation of the program, ...more
It's interesting that this is considered a controversial revisionist work when the primary premise is that Stalin continuously and consistently through his people into the meat grinder of war. It's hardly implausible considering the Soviet purges in which he slaughtered so many of his own people.

It's a fascinating look at history, but the premise is somewhat overstated. Nonetheless, I found it interesting enough and would recommend it to anyone fascinated by this era of history.
I buy into most of Mosier's thesis with the exception that I think he underrates the German generals a little and overrates Hitler's strategies.

But his opinions on Stalin's conduct during the war and the Soviet system in general are right on.
The bulk of WW2 was the Eastern Front, the fighting between the Nazis & the Soviets.

This book really makes you informed about World War 2.

After you finish this, read Beevor, The Fall of Berlin 1945, to know the 2d half of this story.
Peter Thijs
Not sure if I should give it 3 or 4 stars. It's an interesting book, showing a new perspective on a number of general accepted "truths" about the barbarossa operation. Sometimes though I think the author stretches things a bit trying to defend his thesis, and loses some objectivity. Still, gave 4 stars for the authors courage to row against the flow.
Andrew Lord
If you don't already have a good idea of the battles and geography of the war on the Eastern Front, this will be very boring very quickly. For those who DO have this knowledge, though, the emphasis on the all-or-nothing, total war by both sides is fascinating.
Mosier takes on the myths of the Eastern Front, makes some good points about how many historians accept Stalin's distorted history as truth, and generally provides a good read. He does wander quite a bit however, and the book overstays it's welcome towards the end.
Mal Clough
scholarly insight into the war in the east documenting the extent to which stalin's propaganda distorted the actual facts (i.e., military; economic, etc.) of events.
Continuing my fascination with all things WWII, I started this book about a week ago. I'll tell you more later. The Sports Reporters are starting.
Great overview of the Eastern Front in WWII. Debunks the myth that the Soviet Union could have defeated Germany without the allies.
Interesting corrective to the Stalin myth that he and the Russians won WWII.
Didn't find the evidence strong enough to back the extraordinary claims.
I looked over this book and was not impressed.
Russell Wetherington
Jul 16, 2013 Russell Wetherington marked it as to-read
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