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Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942–1943

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  29,271 ratings  ·  1,040 reviews
The Battle of Stalingrad was not only the psychological turning point of World War II: it also changed the face of modern warfare. Historians and reviewers worldwide have hailed Antony Beevor's magisterial Stalingrad as the definitive account of World War II's most harrowing battle.

In August 1942, Hitler's huge Sixth Army reached the city that bore Stalin's name. In the f
Paperback, 494 pages
Published May 1st 1999 by Penguin Books (first published July 1st 1998)
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Feb 06, 2010 rated it liked it
"You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is 'never get involved in a land war in Asia' - but only slightly less well-known is this: 'Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line'"!
-- Wallace Shawn as Vizzini in The Princess Bride

Never get involved in a land war in Asia. Or the European portion of Russia.

That's good advice.

For whatever reason, though, the lure of Russia - its vast steppes, its vast resources, its vast and bloody history - has
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, russia
This is a painful book to read, as it shows the horror of the war on both sides. The half-year battle for the streets of Stalingrad was an unremitting horror, with not only two armies, but thousands of civilians jammed into a city that was being bombed into rubble while everyone was starving or dying of thirst. (Apparently this book demonstrated the dangers of trying to substitute snow for water.)

Just when the battle for the streets of Stalingrad appeared to be turning into a stalemate, with Ge
Stefania Dzhanamova
Oct 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wwii
Antony Beevor's book is a compelling, meticulously researched study of the Battle of Stalingrad.

The first time the German people heard of the city of Stalingrad as a military objective was only two weeks before Hitler, who had never wanted his troops to become involved in street-fighting in Moscow or Leningrad, became determined to sieze this city "at any price." As Beevor explains, the events on the Caucasus Front, supposedly the Führer's main priority, played a major role in his decision. On
E. G.
List of Illustrations
List of Maps
Preface to the New Edition


Appendix A: German and Soviet Orders of Battle, 19 November 1942
Appendix B: The Statistical Debate: Sixth Army Strength in the Kessel
Source Notes
Select Bibliography
So, I'm watching a movie in German about the siege of Stalingrad last night while I'm knitting and my first thought was 'but I won't have a clue what is going on' and my second is 'fair enough....why should I have an unfair advantage over the poor fuckers who were there in the thick of it.' Just because I'm watching the movie, it shouldn't give me an edge.

Afterwards, explaining this to my mother, she asked, so did you get it? And I'm like 'nope, but neither did they.' Bunches of people being con
'Aussie Rick'
Jun 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2, military-history

This is an excellent account of the battle of Stalingrad, I'd place it next to 'Enemy at the Gates'. The author gives you an overview of the military situation on the Eastern Front prior to the German Offensive towards Stalingrad on the Volga. The author tells the story of this terrible battle through the accounts of those soldiers who endured this inferno and survived as well as using letters and diaries of those who didn't! This is a story of the fighting, not of the strategy and tactics behin
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As with Mr. Beevor’s The Fall of Berlin 1945, Stalingrad is an excellent book, well written and researched. I have three primary thoughts:

First, to synthesize the standard American narrative of the Second World War’s European Theatre, it was the United States who broke the back of Nazi Germany, rescuing, yet again, the French (and others) from the Germans. It was the United States who provided substantial material support to Russia, significantly enhancing their ability to defeat Germany. While
Apr 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, wwii, russia
This book was more from the 6th Army/German perspective, which wasn’t what I was expecting. But seeing as my background on this event comes more from the Russian perspective, so it was an interesting read. This book covers a lot of ground, starting with Operation Barbarossa (well, really even a little bit before that) and follows through some prison camps that extended into the 1950s! There is a part in this book that describes a German officer who gets flown out of the 6th Army encirclement (la ...more
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Stunning account of perseverance, deprivation and stupidity surrounding one of the most pivotal battles of WW II. In the summer of 1942 German axis forces descended on the small city of Stalingrad, Russia, pollution 400,000. The city was of no real significance other than it carried Joesph Stalin's name. Germany thought it would be an easy win for their propaganda machine. It proved otherwise. Over the next 9 months, the Axis threw roughly 1 MM well armed expertly trained soldiers, supported by ...more
Did you read the one about THE END OF THE WORLD but the name, ANTONY BEEVOR, was above the title and in as-big or bigger type? Antony Beevor is such a brand I think Penguin Books should just go full bore and give him an official logo in lightning-bolt font like some hair band of the '80s.

My rating of four stars is essentially meaningless. Three stars seems too severe but five seems too generous. Should you read it? Yes, but not as your first book on Stalingrad. Go to William Craig's Enemy at the
Jan 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first Beevor, it was outstanding. I will be coming back for more. Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942-1943 gets 5 Stars for the epic battle history presented here. What Beevor conveys better than others is the sheer brutality of the eastern front and the Stalingrad battle. While millions die, Beevor brings the tragedy down to the individual level. Atrocity is matched by atrocity until you mourn the death of each side while seeing each side having justification. The Nazis started it but the So ...more

Description: The Battle of Stalingrad was not only the psychological turning point of World War II: it also changed the face of modern warfare. Historians and reviewers worldwide have hailed Antony Beevor's magisterial Stalingrad as the definitive account of World War II's most harrowing battle.

In August 1942, Hitler's huge Sixth Army reached the city that bore Stalin's name. In the five-month siege that followed, the Russians fought to hold Stalingrad at any cost; then, in an astonishing revers
Vuk Prlainović
Mar 20, 2013 rated it did not like it
It's not a bad book, but as a proclaimed "historical analysis" I can hardly give it more than one star. Reasons include:
- Heavy anti-Soviet bias. The author tries very hard to hammer in the notion of every Red Army soldier being a drunken lout. "Slavic peasant" phrasing is uncomfortably common, and it makes you question the author's intentions.
- Use of individual anecdotes to portray behaviors depicted in those anecdotes as common and regular.
- Unfounded claims, the most jarring of which being 1
Jun 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in war
This book is an astounding piece of work. Beevor does not have the moral resonance of a Martin Gilbert or the sparkling language of a Dan Van Der Vat, but in his own stolid way he tells a damn good story. Painstakingly researched and grippingly told, the book begins with Operation Barbarossa, Hitler's ill-conceived and treacherous plan to invade the Soviet Union. As we all know, this attempt foundered after the Soviet counter-attacks around Stalingrad in the Northern winter of 1942-43. Beevor at ...more
Karl Lazanski
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eastern-front
What can one say about this book! Antony Beevor has written a tome that will last the ages.

I found this book so easy to read and follow, but also exciting and majorly informative. I came into this book, not having much knowledge of Stalingrad and the battle/s surrounding it. There is a lot of personal narrative from soldiers on both sides that gives one a very heart wrenching and sometimes grotesque idea of the pain and struggle that not only the soldiers went through, but also the civilians tha
Rohit Salgaonkar
~ Stalingrad - For when the attackers became the besieged.

At the foremost, the Siege of Stalingrad was perhaps the most strategically insignificant and inconsequential conquest after the failure of Operation Barbarossa, however, as events transpired gradually it became one of the most vital epicenter which would dictate how the finale of this prolonged turmoil of a war would end.

My recent fascination with WW2 in particular, has led me to rate it as a modern equivalent of the epic Mahabharata and
Aug 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good global overview of the Battle of Stalingrad, from both sides. Author is citing a lot from personal letters sent by Russian and German soldiers.

Read in 2013 | Re-read in 2020 (in Dutch)
Igor Ljubuncic
One word: visceral.

Antony Beevor does not disappoint. He delivers a nonstop, no-pause total war tale of one of the most brutal, iconic sieges of all times. From euphoria of the blitzkrieg to disillusioned Wermacht soldiers dying with more lice than beard on their emaciated faces. From defeat and confusion among the Soviet troops to a sense of justified vengeance.

Every fact of the story is explored. The civilian population, the sycophantic generals, the ordinary soldiers in the freezing trenches,
Walter Mendoza
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The battle of Stalingrad was the most important of WWII, the author tell us about the siege of Stalingrad; an very detailed story of the battle and point of view of soldier. The book count with an excellent research, well written like a novel. You have a good look of both armies and their commanders, focuses on the details tactical and strategic of the battle, about decisions of the generals. However the book it barely mentioned the military aviation but this is one the best books of the battle ...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
It was called as the Great War. It was great in all aspects of war, including in its stupidity. You know how it started. A minor potentate was assassinated and with this single death nations found reason enough to stage an orgy of bloodbaths across Europe which resulted to the death of millions, most of them young men in the prime of their lives. The manner this war was conducted even looked more foolish: the soldiers dug trenches, built fortifications and set up machine gun nests. They rain bom ...more
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
British historian Antony Beefor has written a complete and objective history of the titanic Battle of Stalingrad during WWII. He certainly did his research, drawing upon the once secret Russian archives as well as German records. The result is very readable, a narrative that moves along swiftly, so that at times I couldn't put it down. And we know the ending--the Soviet Army's defeat and destruction of the German Sixth Army in the city of Stalingrad in Russia. I would argue that it was not only ...more
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent account of the Stalingrad battle on all perspectives. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

It recounts the battle and the importance of Stalingrad as a turning point in the war between the nazi Germany and the allied powers as well as the experiences of soldiers of both Russian and German soldiers.

Brilliantly researched and written down in a way that the reader gets a clear picture of the situation before ,during and the aftermath of the battle.
The author does not hide back fro
Jan 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is surely one of the best, if not the best, books written on the siege of Stalingrad. The description of the siege, from both the German and Soviet perspectives, is quite unforgettable. The battle was joined on 23 August 1942 and concluded over five months later with the encirclement of the assaulting German Sixth Army by Russian reinforcements. Casualty estimates are always difficult for a battle of this size, but most agree that over a million lives were lost on both sides. Many civilians ...more
Anthony Ryan
Dec 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Beevor manages to capture the scale of a truly titanic struggle without forgetting the human element. A powerful and often harrowing picture what happens when two dictatorships go to war. The Soviet Union may have been a dreadful place to live, but it should be remembered that its people did, once upon a time, save the world from something worse.
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Stalingrad by Antony Beevor

Orlanda Figes, another popular Historian, describes Stalingrad as ‘a tour de force’ and I must say that I agree. Beevor’s book is a well put together no-holes-barred retelling of the fateful battle that involved several million individuals in the span of just over 5 months. The paced and procedural telling of the lead up, battle and aftermath week after week grips the heart and did a great job of making me better consolidate, but hardly improve, my understanding of the
I've always been fascinated with modern history, especially World War II - it was my favourite subject and topic back in school. I would stay up late into the night reading up on various things from history (probably instead of doing my actual history homework) that interested me - I seem to remember spending a weekend doing nothing but reading about the Unification of Germany.

It's been a few years since I finished Year 12, and upon starting Stalingrad I was struck by how much I had missed readi
Indeed a great work by a great historian. An essential read for all world war followers.

Stalingrad was a game changer of world war 2. During the complete course of war, change in mood, thoughts, impressions of Germans, Romanians and Soviets is easily depicted. It is easy to trace that conflict of ego, was the main reason for mass killing of mankind and animals.

Conflicts of regional political ideologies was another big reason for it. Leaders of each region had recklessly tried to get public obed
Robin Webster
May 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The ending of siege of Stalingrad was seen by many historians as the defining moment of the Second World War. It cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of both German and Russian soldiers, as well as countless numbers of civilians. It is said that during the reconstruction of Stalingrad they were digging up bodies for decades afterwards.Tens of thousands died needlessly due to the interference of both Stalin and Hitler who on countless occasions overrode their Generals and insisted upon attacks ...more
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I rate this book high, but it was not a pleasure to read, primarily because of the subject matter itself, not because of the author’s choices. These days it’s clear that our view of WWII usually downplay the role of Russia in winning the war. Not perhaps surprising in the past where we were brought up to see the USSR as enemy number one. But actually, the USSR and its leader Stalin were allies in WWII.

We were also led to believe not only that Stalin and his country were wicked but that the coun
Michael Gerald
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you learn your world history from American and Hollywood sources, you would think that it was only the US that won the Second World War.

Well, that's totally BS.

It was the Soviet Union that bore the brunt of the fighting, destruction and suffering. And the Battle of Stalingrad alone is a testament to that.
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Antony James Beevor is a British historian who was educated at Winchester College and Sandhurst. He studied under the famous historian of World War II, John Keegan. Beevor is a former officer with the 11th Hussars who served in England and Germany for five years before resigning his commission. He has published several popular histories on the Second World War and the 20th century in general.

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“This armchair strategist never possessed the qualities for true generalship, because he ignored practical problems.” 7 likes
“German soldiers made use of Stalingrad orphans themselves. Daily tasks, such as filling water-bottles, were dangerous when Russian snipers lay in wait for any movement. So, for the promise of a crust of bread, they would get Russian boys and girls to take their water-bottles down to the Volga’s edge to fill them. When the Soviet side realized what was happening, Red Army soldiers shot children on such missions.” 4 likes
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