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When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  797 ratings  ·  71 reviews
By the time Pearl Harbor had ripped apart America's peacetime pretensions, the German blitzkrieg had already blasted the Red Army back to the gates of Moscow. Yet, less than four years later, the Soviet hammer and sickle flew above the ruins of Berlin, stark symbol of a miraculous comeback that destroyed the German army and shattered Hitler's imperial designs. Told in ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published December 1st 1995 by University Press of Kansas (first published 1995)
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 ·  797 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read this book over ten years ago, so the details are no longer with me.

Nevertheless, I can recommend it to anyone with an interest in World War II, particularly if you have a bit of a gap in your knowledge concerning the Eastern Front.

The authors of the book are both American military historians; David Glantz is editor of the Journal of Slavic Military Studies.

I’m not an expert on WW II, but I’ve read a number of books in a rather disconnected way, over a period of many years. Once I’d gained
Nov 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, russia
Actually four and a half stars.

We have been trained to think of World War Two as essentially a Western war, with the Russian contribution somehow being amorphous, off line, and, to to speak, off-screen. It might not be a bad idea to begin reading this book with Table E on page 307, which shows the Wehrmacht losing 13,448,000 dead, missing, and disabled by war's end. Of these, the overwhelming majority fell on the Eastern front -- as many as 9,000,000. In comparison, all the Western front battles
Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of my loves besides scifi and fantasy is military history. I was a history major in college and over the years have really just focused on military history. This boook is one of the reasons I still read about military history and over the last three years or so I have focused in on the eastern front of WWII. The author, David Glantz, is now considered the preminient writer for this area of study. He became prominent in the 90's as he was one of the first historians to be able to read and ...more
Walter Mendoza
Nov 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Glantz's "When titans clashed" is an incredible book based on primary sources, mainly soviet fonts, newly avaliable russian resources. The author writes on concise form the war on the eastern front, provides an extensive explanation of plans and preparations; based on staff reports of high command structure. With a huged supply of maps, and interested on operational history, with an good description and great structure, written for the most important specialist about German - Russian war.

Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps the best book I've read on the Great Patriotic War in my life, and I started Paul Carel when I was about 8 or 9! David Glantz is the man among US historians of the period and Soviet history generally, with all the Russian Military connections to make sure you are getting the real scoop. Glantz uncovers literally dozens of previously overlooked or covered up Soviet Military offensives that other sources don't mention. His knowledge of the Soviet Army is exhaustive, and his explanations ...more
Jorge Rosas
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great and very well written history and analysis from the prewar to Berlin and a Manchurian bonus of the Soviet experience in the WWII, friendly for the casual reader with an interest in the topic, heavy on the research, notes, statistics and bibliography; about 54% of the book is the narrative of what happened and the rest of the book is dedicated to support material. In my edition, the notes were placed after the narrative and that helped the flow but when I finally arrived it was hard to ...more
Adam Yoshida
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly Detailed Account of Operations

I jumped into this book after realizing that I, like many dedicated amateur historians, had only a superficial knowledge of operations on the Eastern Front in the Second World War. This book certainly went a long way towards correcting that.

What I'll say for it, both good and bad, is that you should understand that this is a detailed history of operations - down to the movements of individual units. This is very much a military history and not a political
Jul 26, 2015 rated it liked it
I'll admit to a more than passing obsession with WWII, especially the Eastern Front. The sheer scale and brutality of it is just awesome. The amount of suffering the Soviet people is astounding, and the lengths they had to go to beat the Nazis is hard for any Western person to truly grasp until they've read books like When Titans Clashed. The fate of the world was decided on the Russian steppes, not on the beaches of Normandy.

I've read about a dozen books on the Ostfront and Glantz's effort
Jun 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
actually, 3.5 stars

When Titans Clashed provides an overview of the most titanic armed struggle in history, the murderous fight between the German Axis forces (large numbers of Italians, Romanians, Hungarians and Bulgarians were involved) and the Soviet armed forces. The numbers of men and arms employed and ground into mincemeat are simply staggering. Even if the Wehrmacht had available to it all of the men facing the Allies in France, it still would have lost the battle, as the Red Army had
Jun 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: world-war-ii, history
Glantz recognised a void in existing bibliography and set about to correct it; that void had to do with the history of WWII being presented from the Western PoV - and even when dealing with the Eastern front that view persisted (though to a lesser degree).

So Glantz wrote a book from the Soviet side, using new sources from the Russian archives etc. While it's undoubtedly great to have the 'other' view, the book suffers in two aspects:

-first, it's necessarily and by design one-sided. Of course
Philip Girvan
Sep 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Solid one volume history of what we in the West call the Battle of the Eastern Front.

What I found particularly illuminating is the author presents the two totalitarian states mirrored one another in terms of decision making: at the beginning of the war Stalin's purges had crippled the Red Army; meanwhile the Wehrmacht at that time was the most efficient army Europe, and arguably the world, had ever produced. Much of this was due to the autonomy enjoyed by Hitler's generals. Their Soviet
Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Really liked the analysis of the transformation of the Red Army through the war, transforming from a fragmented, clueless, Stalin-driven institution to a juggernaut that was more independent of Stalin, organized and well-supplied as opposed to its opponents. Still showed that there were problems at the end, particularly losing more and more men as they swept over eastern and central Europe. I had the sense that they would have had to take a strategic pause in operations if the war had gone on ...more
North Landesman
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
An academic book on Eastern Front in WW2 on a big picture level with lots of divisions and maps with arrows. Interesting but dry. A couple big things I took away.
1. I was amazing how much the Nazi, who had an ideology of racial supremacy, relied on the Hungarians, Romanians, and Italians
2. It was equally amazing how much the Hungarians, Romanians, and Italians screwed up.
3. The Western version of WW2 is fairly false. D-Day and the Invasion of France mattered, but Germany had pretty much lost
Derek Brozowski
Apr 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Glantz & House provide an excellent overview of the Eastern Front. However, I would not recommend this book to a novice on the subject. The driving forces in the narrative are armies and divisions. At times, it can feel very sterile and disconnected from the human reality of the conflict. Overall, the authors do a great job. It is an exceedingly informative book, and I look forward to reading more of Glantz's work.
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'll go ahead and do my standard gripe up-front--the maps could be better. When a historian is describing, for example, the way the Finns spanked the Red Army all along their shared frontier in the 1939-40 war, I'd like to follow the narrative with some graphics. That being said--Glantz has again proven he's likely the best American expert on the Wehrmacht's gigantic fight in the East. He expertly describes this seasonal (it's Russia, after all) back-and-forth war at the operational level for ...more
Heinz Reinhardt
Nov 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Col. David Glantz has made a name for himself in the military history community by bringing to light battles and campaigns, unknown largely in the West (though perhaps still remembered by some in Germany), that took place in the Eastern Front during WWII. In this book Glantz teamed up with Jonathan House to write a succinct, yet still detailed, overall history of the Eastern Front. What makes this book so unique, at least at the time 20 years ago when it came out, was it's focus on the Soviet ...more
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
When this first was released in the 90s, old Soviet archives had only recently been opened to the public. Due to the Cold War, there were many lingering misconceptions about the Eastern Front in Europe which this book set out to correct. This updated version, coming around 10 years after the original release, further builds on that effort.

While in the present year of 2018 this is no longer quite as groundbreaking a work as it once was, it is still the best all-around single front history of the
Karl Jorgenson
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
This book, a project of 'Modern War Studies' and published by the University Press of Kansas, is exactly, completely and meticulously what it purports to be: a day by day account of the positions, plans, movements, strength, armaments, and commanders of the two armies, Wermacht and Red throughout the almost 4 year battle across Poland, the Ukraine, and Russia. If, for research or curiosity, you need to know the casualty figures for each army group in the battle for Kursk in 1943, you will find ...more
Nov 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler. I picked it up because I saw a couple people recommend the author’s Stalingrad series, but I figured it would be better to have a better grasp of the big picture context before trying it.

This book did deliver on that, but mostly in the introductions and conclusions of various sections. Those were readable and informative, and I do feel much better informed about the progress of the eastern front as a whole, and
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Simply excellent. This book somehow manages to be somewhat neutral about the Eastern Front. Of all the books I've read about the subject, the vast majority have to some extent floated the myth of a Red Army that defeated the Germans through sheer numbers, no doubt building on the assertions of Eastern Front German generals like Von Manstein. A smaller number glossed over the Red Army's failings (particularly the damaging impact of Stalin pre-war), perhaps due to political reasons. When Titan's ...more
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An interesting book looking at the war on the eastern front. It was the majority of the war, the fighting and where the greatest causalities came from. The western theater was important, but Glantz said Germany treated it like the secondary front all through the war.

The most interesting part of the book was near the end, where Glantz tells the proportion of Germany's war resource on the eastern front compared with the western front. The eastern front never stopped being the primary front.

Philip Kuhn
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very good book. Glantz is an expert on the subject and clearly enjoys writing about it. He covers areas of the war other people usually leave out like the winter war of 41-42. However, he gives epic clash at Stalingrad one short chapter. Interesting because Glantz authored a huge three volume set on Stalingrad. His conclusions were all spot on what I have always thought about why the Soviets won and the effect of American aid. ( American aid helped the Soviets win MORE QUICKLY BUT didn't win the ...more
Dorian Box
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
It feels almost criminal to give this epic work anything less than five stars, but my honest review from a "casual reader" standpoint would have been three stars, so I compromised and gave it four. This impeccably well-documented book is no doubt the ultimate go-to source for researchers of the savage Eastern Front war between Hitler's Germany and Russia in WWII. Unfortunately, I'm just an ordinary reader interested in military history. I was looking for book presenting a compelling narrative of ...more
Gary Boland
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although I had read a number of texts about WW2, this one really opened my eyes. It neatly divide the eastern front into the initial blitzkreig, then the germans get bogged down and finally the Red Army overwhelms the over-extended germans. I docked a star as the various armies are described by their generals but there isn't much back story to any of them and thus they blur into each other (confusingly)
Daniel Almeida Leon
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant although too statistical for those who seek a more humane approach to the war. It does a very good job at outlining the order of battles and arguments on our misconceptions and perceptions of the Eastern Front. It does a great job at painting the institutional and military reform that puts the Soviet Union on the path to victory. Apart from this it is littered with maps as references to the most important troop movements. A serious military historian would enjoy this.
Stephen Paish
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book is an strategic/operational history of the Red Army throughout the Second World War. It introduces the effects of Stalin's purges and carries on to Barbarossa and beyond. Some interesting points brought up include:

-Soviets followed a pre-established defensive plan in July 1941. It just wasn't effective.
-Encirclement battle near Kiev in August/Sept 1941 may have delayed the Germans enough to save Moscow.
Scott Sheriff
May 27, 2017 rated it liked it
This book offers a brief overview of the Eastern Front in WW2. The focus is on the Soviet perspective with concentration on the Soviet commanders and units conducting major operations. Glantz works to revise some of the accepted conclusions of the conflict, including the myth that the Soviets used raw numbers to succeed despite clumsy and simplistic tactics. The tables of force strengths and casualties at the end of the book is quite illuminating on the scale and carnage of the conflict.
TJ Guiney
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent read that should be required before you have anything to say about WWII. Goes in-depth (but always readable) on just how the Soviets developed their strategy and smashed the Nazi war machine. Does fall somewhat into the Speer myth, but the work on debunking that had only just begun back when this was published. Strong recommend!
John Davie
Oct 24, 2019 rated it liked it
It isn't easy to fit all of the Eastern Front into 500 pages but they manage quite well. Though the constant focus on the movement of individual divisions etc can be exhausting. Needs more maps. Best as a reference book.
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's not often these days that I learn more about WWII, but this book definitely added to my understanding of the event. It's scholarly, military history based on newly available Soviet histories.

It debunks some myths and illustrates how Allied aid helped the Soviets on the Eastern Front.
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David M. Glantz is an American military historian and the editor of The Journal of Slavic Military Studies.

Glantz received degrees in history from the Virginia Military Institute and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Defense Language Institute, Institute for Russian and Eastern European Studies, and U.S. Army War
“Germans needed to reduce their casualties “if we do not intend to win ourselves to death.” 0 likes
“isolated near Iukhnov, and Kluge and his army commanders shifted their few mobile forces to meet new threats.” 0 likes
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