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Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  11,073 ratings  ·  372 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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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
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
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
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A classic of military history -- and for good reason. A wrenching, detailed account of the Battle for Stalingrad in 1942-1943. Among the most interesting surprises and particularly memorable characters? The Soviet female sniper. The young Russian teenager who pretended to be a cobbler repairing German officers' shoes, but was actually providing valuable reconnaissance to the Soviet Army. And the Italian physician, who found astonishing ways to survive in the POW camp until the end of the war.
Bryan--Pumpkin Connoisseur
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
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
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
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
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 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
Written in the early 70s, the author had the opportunity to interview survivors from the Russian forces, local civilians, German soldiers and a couple of Italians. Coupled with access to the war records available at the time this is a terribly fascinating military history study. The book is sensibly divided into two halves - the Battle for Stalingrad followed by the Russian pincer movement and entrapment of the German Sixth Army. The battle descriptions ranged from broad summaries of troop movem ...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
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
Americans talk about D-day but the real turning point of WWII was Stalingrad. The Russians turned the tide there and held and turned the Germans back in 1943. Russians did most of the killing and dying to defeat Germany. The importance of D-day for the west is it kept the rest of Europe from becoming Soviet. It can safely be said the Stalingrad was the key battle that started the taking down of the Third Reich. The book covers that battle which lasted over five months.
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
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was an impressive, dramatic, and heart ripping account of that part of the European history.
I wanted some point of view from the side of the ordinary soldiers and other people implicated in this colosal battle and in this peculiar volume you have it all, from the german to the italian and rusian side. There was also a small passage about the romanian army, but, as usual, there aren`t a lot of information about them in this kind of books. AT the time of the writing this book Romania was a de
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
Joy D
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book tells the story of the Battle of Stalingrad. It is based on interviews with survivors, along with a great deal of research. It documents both strategy and tactics of the battle, from the perspective of both the Germans and Russians, attempting to provide a neutral account. I recommend it to those who want to understand what happened in WWII and, in general, students of history. It is at times difficult to read due to various accounts of the horrors of war and associated atrocities. I h ...more
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.
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
Shannon Callahan
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gruesome yet factual

We all heard the word Stalingrad during any history about world war 2. Even watched the famous Russian sniper movie too. I didn’t know much about the battle of Stalingrad. Until now, holy heck with all gruesome and bloody battle. It sounds so unbelievable when I read it but it is true. War isn’t all about flowers and sunsets. It is all about deaths and destruction. It was a good read to see many views. If anybody wants to know more about Stalingrad then this could be a good
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: nonfiction, war, history
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
Bailey Malbuff
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, history, military
The first half of this book was tough to get through due to the amount of detail that the author went into about the beginning of the battle, and a lack of personal anecdotes. The second half was much more engaging with more personal stories about the people involved in the battle and was much more interesting. Overall, a very good book.
Leah Hanley
Had to put this away before I finished because it reads like a special on the History channel. (I was hoping it would read more like the thrilling movie.) I may pick it back up in the future though. It’s really well written, very descriptive and interesting, but just not what I’m into at the moment.
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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THE WORLD WAR TWO...: 2012 - October - "Enemy at the Gates" by William Craig 155 121 Dec 08, 2012 10:17AM  

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William Craig (1929-1997) was an American author and historian.

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You know the saying: There's no time like the present...unless you're looking for a distraction from the current moment. In that case, we can't...
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“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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