From September 1941 to January 1944 Leningrad was a city under siege from three German armies. Nearly three million people were trapped inside Leningrad; when the siege was lifted just under half were dead, killed by Germans or by their allies `Generals Hunger, Cold and Terror.'to write this acclaimed history of the siege, Harrison Salisbury interviewed survivors, had access to Soviet archives and drew on his wide experience as a correspondent in the Soviet Union.The result: a classic and compelling account of one of the ...
From September 1941 to January 1944 Leningrad was a city under siege from three German armies. Nearly three million people were trapped inside Leningrad; when the siege was lifted just under half were dead, killed by Germans or by their allies `Generals Hunger, Cold and Terror.'to write this acclaimed history of the siege, Harrison Salisbury interviewed survivors, had access to Soviet archives and drew on his wide experience as a correspondent in the Soviet Union.The result: a classic and compelling account of one of the great epic dramas of the Second World War. A story of courage and cowardice, heroism and horror, suffering and endurance. `A massive book to match the magnitude of the subject...a vivid and passionate narrative...a proper monument to the Leningrad epic, true in scale, movingly written, deeply researched, presented in all heroism, suffering and chilling cruelties, made worse by Stalin's political sadism.' Sunday Times `One of the most horrible, most heroic episodes in human history' New York Times
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This book was first published in 1969 at a time when the Eastern Front in World War 2 got very little coverage in the UK. I first read it in about 1975 and it had a great impact on me. The scale and duration of the suffering and the number of deaths involved in the Siege of Leningrad are truly horrifying.
This book gives a very good account of the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Its core, for me, is the descriptions of the hardships experienced by both the civilian and the military populations of Leningrad. It is a book everyone should read, I think.
Inevitably, I suppose, it is now showing its age a bit. There was a brief, now largely ended, opening up of Soviet archives after Glasnost and the fall of the Iron Curtain. More recent accounts of this siege, like Michael Jones' Siege of Leningrad, have had access to more documents and present a clearer account of some of the military incompetence of the Red Army in the first months of the war. They also give a clearer picture of the corruption and special privileges available to the select few in senior Communist Party positions throughout the siege.
But for the detail of life for the civilian population of Leningrad, particularly during the starvation winter of 1941-2, when probably well over a million people died of starvation, Salisbury's account is very hard to beat.
This is a very harrowing book but one that I thoroughly recommend. No-one who reads it will ever forget it, I believe. I have given it 4 stars rather than 5 because of the availability of later information and, occasionally, some repetitiveness in the text. But this wasn't an easy decision and when I first read it, I would certainly have classed it as excellent. It is a true classic, I believe.
Nov 4, 2010
This is a thorough and fast moving story of the seige of Leningrad (St. Petersburg) Russia by the Nazis. If you don't let youself get too tied up with the names of military units and individual players you will get a tremendous feel for the times.
Jul 8, 2010
Hell on Earth
This documents in frightening detail the horrors of the siege.
Jan 1, 2009
Very informative book concerning the siege of Leningrad (St. Petersburg) Russia during World War II. Just the right amount of troop movement versus civilian accounts. Makes you appreciate the life we have today. Book is very well written and more than adequately referenced.
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