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Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad
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Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  10,114 ratings  ·  293 reviews
Stalingrad, the bloodiest battle in the history of warfare, cost the lives of nearly two million men and women. It signaled the beginning of the end for the Third Reich of Adolf Hitler; it foretold the Russian juggernaut that would destroy Berlin and make the Soviet Union a superpower. As Winston Churchill characterized the result of the conflict at Stalingrad: " the hinge ...more
Hardcover, 457 pages
Published July 15th 2003 by Barnes & Noble Books (first published 1973)
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Lisasue Yes, and available today, January 16, 2016, for $1.99.

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4.22  · 
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 ·  10,114 ratings  ·  293 reviews

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Feb 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
A study of World War II is an exercise in tragedy. To compare it to a Greek or even Shakespearean play is to engage in understatement and reverse hyperbole: World War II is comparable to nothing else in history.

A student will delve into the political and economic backstory, come to vaguely understand the causes and the historical indices of what was to come. Next he will learn of the epic battles and the strife that engaged millions. But lurking in the shadows, like an especially miserable and
'Aussie Rick'
Jun 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This title was the catalyst for my enduring fascination with books covering the fighting on the Eastern Front during World War Two. This is a great story of the fighting at Stalingrad endured by the German and Russian armies. Although not as deeply researched as Glantz’s titles this book offers an insight into the soldier’s war and does it brilliantly. This is still one of my top ten books ever which isn’t bad considering it was first published in the early 1970’s. Recommended for anyone who lov ...more
One would not be entirely correct if one thinks that the movie Enemy At The Gates was based on this book, even though the movie posters claims it to be so. Somehow, it resembles more with the book War of the Rats by David L. Robbins, which is a fictionalized account of the duel between two sharpshooters in the warzone of Stalingrad. In my opinion, Stalingrad (1993) is a way better movie than the Hollywood one.

This book in fact covers the whole battle of Stalingrad from the German perspective.

Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Enemy at the Gates is a narrative full of eye witness accounts that makes the battle of Stalingrad come to life. You will not be able to put it down. I promise you that this book will haunt you through the rest of your days.

I am haunted by the contents of this book. First, I read it on my kindle. I liked it so well that I ordered the audio version. I listened to the audio version two or three more times. As I read about 6th Army advancing toward Stalingrad I could see the dust of the panzers ris
A.L. Sowards
I knew the basics about Stalingrad before reading this book: that it was perhaps the most important battle of the war and a huge turning point, that it involved sniper battles, house-to-house fighting, huge casualties on both sides, and entire armies from Germany and Romania pretty much disappearing. This book gave me a more complete picture of the battle, its scope, and how it unfolded.

It wasn’t a happy read. The Soviets get pushed back almost all the way to the Volga and barely hang on. They s
William Craig's account of the battle for Stalingrad is overwhelmingly taken from interviews and accounts, diaries and letters, and official memorandum. Thus, while the movements of troops and of strategic planning is described so that the reader has an overall picture of the theater, it is the human element that gives the book its structure. Vignette after vignette unrolls as Craig follows the German Sixth Army across the steppes to Stalingrad, and how their initial enthusiasm turns to surprise ...more
Mikey B.
Nov 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An entirely sobering account of the epochal battle of Stalingrad. The ruthlessness and inhumanity of war is nakedly exposed. Corpses abound – towards the end rotting bodies are stacked up in makeshift German hospitals.

Stalingrad is what can happen to invaders. Although one feels sympathy for the Germans in reading their letters home to their wives and parents – there is no introspection in these letters of the reasons of why they were so far from their homeland. When one seeks to destroy a city
Sep 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an account of one of the most decisive battles of World War II. It marks the spot in history when the Russian Army stopped retreating from the relentless German invasion which was started in June 1941, and when the utter, catastrophic defeat of the Germans gave the Russians and their allies in the United States and Great Britain a huge morale boost. This was one of those turning points where the ultimate outcome of a great conflict could trace its origins.

The invasion of the Soviet
Don't even harbor the thought that the film version of "Enemy at the Gates" bears anything but cursory relation to this book. The movie was actually based on a fictionalized book called "War of the Rats." If you want to read one book about the Hell that was World War II, this is the one. This is a sweeping chronicle of the most heinous campaign in the history of human warfare - Stalingrad. William Craig's command of the material is complete; the realities of everyday life and death are essayed t ...more
Steve Coscia
Feb 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
For WWII history buffs, this book is mandatory. The Russians had no idea that they had trapped so many Germans in Stalingrad during their November 1942 pincer movement. The bold Russian move along with diminishing supplies and brutal weather sealed the German's fate. This book details the day-by-day and hour-by-hour deterioration of German existence inside the Stalingrad pocket or "kessel" (Cauldron).

Descriptive personal testimony of trauma, starvation, frostbite and even post-war follow up on
Nov 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Mike by:
One of the best battle accounts incorporating both sides while keeping a fair perspective. Fascinating and bloody, the battle was a key turning point to the war and this one should be read. *Oct 2012 Reread* This book remains a "must-read" on Stalingrad. It ranges from the grand strategy of Hitler's invasion of the USSR down to the grunts in the cellars and rubble of the city. Horror, cruelty and suffering yet flashes of humanity and charity in a titanic battle. Excellent reading even if it is a ...more
This book was first published in 1973 then was reissued in 2001, as a movie-tie book for the film of the same name. The book is considered one of the best written about the siege of Stalingrad. The battle for Stalingrad was waged from August 23, 1942 to February 2, 1943. The battle was critical to the fate of the Eastern Front.

General Frederick von Paulus’s German Sixth Army was fresh from crushing the Ukraine. In three years of warfare the Sixth Army was undefeated, having scored victories in P
Katherine Addison
I found this book deeply problematic. Partly this is because I am irredeemably fussy and will nitpick anything to death, given half a chance. But I think my fundamental concern is a valid and important one. In this book, Craig has made some choices with which I vehemently disagree. One is to tell the story of Stalingrad rather than the history, which he does by largely turning the progress of the siege into a series of interlaced human interest stories. The other, related choice is to radically ...more
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, ww2


The name evokes pain, suffering, hardship, death. William Craig’s Enemy at the Gates conveys all of the above and more. Published in 1973, Craig’s book is compiled from scores of survivor interviews, letters, communiqués and protagonist memoirs from both sides. The reader is immersed in the freezing trenches and basements of privates and NCOs, the command bunkers of German and Russian generals and Führer headquarters at the Wolf’s Lair in East Prussia. No detail is spared and the brut
Tony Le
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I watched the movie before reading the book; a mistake I'll never do again. The movie was a blockbuster but the novel was much more than that. William Craig knows how to get us attached to the characters and how to bring them to life. A true masterpiece describing the Eastern front in WWII.
Kenneth Decroo
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This non-fiction book reads like a novel. It is very informative. Written from extensive interviews and diary accounts from both sides of the battle of Stalingrad. I could not put it down.
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jerome by: Jane Cook
An accessible, riveting, graphic and very well-written history of the battle.

The narrative is engaging, insightful and balanced, and Craig vividly covers the savagery and human toll of the fighting, the horrible conditions the Russians and Germans fought under, and the courage and brutality of the men there. Along with the coverage of the strategic and tactical picture, Craig does a great job putting a human face on the struggle, and explaining the battle’s context and significance.

There are a
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Dec 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016

A couple of months ago I read a non-fiction account of an air-raid against my hometown during World War II. The book ("Ploesti" by James Duggan) whetted my apetite for other similar accounts from that conflagration. Being already familiar with the two famous novels by Cornelius Ryan ("The Longest Day" and "A Bridge Too Far") I turned my attention to the Eastern front and to what is arguably the deciding battle of the whole conflict:

Marked by constant close quarters combat and direct assaults on
Jerry Peace
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heroism, courage, the almost maniacal will to survive, loyalty, patriotism- yep, all these things shone in this history of the World War Two battle for Stalingrad. Also stupidity, blind pride, vengefulness, and barbarity. But what I both sadly and angrily take away from this is the sheer monstrous insanity of the worship, the deification, of orders to kill. We're taught, just as these men and women, from infancy to obey, obey, obey. Do not question the order to kill, to maim, to destroy. Instead ...more
Stephen Simpson
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not perfect, but quite good.

More of a story than a history, personalities and interlinked narratives play a far, far greater role here than a sequence of "this happened ... then that happened ... and then that other thing happened." It probably makes the events more accessible and more relatable; which isn't necessarily a bad thing given what a horrible even this was.

The one downside for me was that it didn't convey the passage of time particularly well ... it was hard to keep a sense of persp
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, nonfiction, war
The Battle of Stalingrad is acknowledged as one of the largest, bloodiest, and most important in history. Author William Craig describes the battle (August 1942 to February 1943) mostly in very personal terms, following individual Russian, German, and Italian soldiers, officers, and generals through those six months. He also gives the reader a good appreciation of the actions of Joseph Stalin and in particular, Adolph Hitler. Human suffering and death on both sides was simply horrendous. The res ...more
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jul 10, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a classic work on the Battle of Stalingrad--or maybe the *first* classic. Although forty years old, the book still has value. I could see how this battle was a major turning point in world history--the first time the Wehrmacht had been defeated--overwhelmingly and at such a human toll! Stalingrad took place in 1942-43, and D-Day was still over a year in the future.

The book lays out all the strategy, tactics, and brings the battle and its aftermath home to the general reader with passages
Christopher Seaton
Excellent account of THE critical battle of World War 2

Not at all sensational, complete and thorough, never boring. This is an excellent account of the battles in and around Stalingrad. Highly recommended.
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
I have my grandfather's original copy of this book, which was a huge motivator for me to read it. Plus, I love anything having to do with World War II history. Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad is a non-fiction collection of interviews Craig conducted turned into a loose narrative outlining this critical battle. Historically, the Battle for Stalingrad triggered the end of the War for the Germans. Craig's account details the battle, which at times came down to a handful of buildings d ...more
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is yet another must-read for anyone interested in WWII history and a painstakingly researched work that sometimes goes a bit too far in its personal touches. I sort of get what he is trying to do but do we really need the names of so many people who played what could only be called minor roles in this epic battle? He tries to write this like someone who was actually a participant in the struggle but for me there were just too many details I thought to be insignificant. With that said this b ...more
Debbie Keller
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Even though there were tons of military personnel from both sides to keep straight in this book, the author did a great job of helping the reader with that. If you like WWII history, this is a great book!
Katherine Dillon
Sep 18, 2014 rated it liked it
A very detailed account of the Battle of Stalingrad. I've always heard that this battle was the turning point of the war but knew very little about it. Now I feel like I have a decent comprehension of what happened (only because it was hard for me to keep track of everything, not for lack of information included).

Although it is an interesting book it was so difficult for me to get through this book. It was very difficult for me to keep track of the names and places. I wish there was an extensive
Nov 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, wwii, russia
This isn’t the first book I’ve read about the Battle of Stalingrad and it won’t be the last. This wasn’t the best book about the Battle of Stalingrad, and it wasn’t the worst. I probably learned a few new things and some of the personal stories, while slightly choppy, did add a perspective. I still get lost with some of the more military terms (how big is a battalion?), this is a decent read for anyone interested in WWII, written by an American but not about any American theater of war.
Terry Parker
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that stays with you, making you remember the brutality of war. Whether you were German, you were sorrily sacrificed, or Russian you were driven to be sacrificed. The body counts and politics play off each other to show how decisions made behind the lines affect the men and women at the front. And in Russia the front was everywhere. And the movie of the same name, while very focussed, intense and realistic, it does only have to do with a small portion of the book.
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THE WORLD WAR TWO...: 2012 - October - "Enemy at the Gates" by William Craig 155 120 Dec 08, 2012 10:17AM  

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William Craig (1929–1997) was an American author and historian.
“The Italians not only had been given the job of containing any Russian threat from across the river, they also served as a buffer between the Hungarians and the Rumanian Third Army, which was to hold the territory from Serafimovich to Kletskaya deep in the steppe. The German High Command had inserted the Italians between the other two armies to avoid conflict between ancient enemies, who might forget the Russians and go at each other’s throats.” 0 likes
“Stalin never forgot or forgave. He once told a Russian writer that Ivan the Terrible had not been ruthless enough because he left too many enemies alive.” 0 likes
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