Ivan's War: Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939-1945
Of the thirty million who fought, eight million died, driven forward in suicidal charges, shattered by German shells and tanks. They were the men and women of the Red Army, a ragtag mass of soldiers who confronted Europe’s most leth ...more
Ms. Merridale examines the prelude: the purges of the officer corps in the late 1930’s, the invasion of Poland and the attack on Finland. She examines in detail the disastrous first years of the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union. She bases many of her findings on the now newly opened archives and interviews with surviving veterans. But she does not stop there, and realizes the limitations of these; veterans and letters hom ...more
When it comes to the second world war, we’re all rather associated with the European front in terms of the British, American, and German forces. Rarely do we get a sufficient peek in on the Russian soldiers, and if we do it’s almost never about their lives during the war. Through Catherin ...more
One of my favorite moments of the book is an eco ...more
Doing research in the Soviet archives seems like a trying task, but critics revere the work Catherine Merridale did to prepare Ivan's War. The professor from Queen Mary, University of London, conducted over 200 interviews with Soviet veterans and visited major battle sites, but the most enlightening information came from tireless vetting of diaries, transcripts, and officers' reports. That Merridale can plait all this information into "an attempt to fathom war's meaning, effect and legacy" (Fore...more
The Eastern theater is well covered from the perspective of military science, but this is the first and best attempt at a Stephen Ambrose-styled personalized view of the war. Admittedly, this brings along some of the baggage of Am ...more
I particularly liked her explanation for the vengeful violence against the German women at the end of War; and the moral responsibility of Soviet propaganda machine ...more
A Russian grunts view of the Second World War. With all the hoopla
around Ken Burns series and "The Greatest Generation", reading this book will be a salutary corrective to the notion that the US military defeated Hitler.
At the cost of staggering losses of life, the Red Army pushed the Nazis out of Russia under condtitions that are just unimaginable today.
This book was a lifesaver in an academic aspect; the sheer ...more
Sorry, just trying to lighten the mood.
So, as I've mentioned this is one of my all time favorite history books and the thing that makes this so remarkable is that it's not written through the Soviet lens, if you will. You ...more
I'm glad I read Ivan's War, it provides some insight into life on the Eastern Front during the Second World War. But only a very shallow insight. It becomes very apparent that the author might not have an historical background, she also seems to have very little understanding of (or interest in) the war or military history. If Merridale were more knowledgable she might have produced an product similar to Stephen ...more
On the Eastern ...more