Moscow 1941 : A City & Its People at War
A magnificent narrative of 1941 and the Battle of Moscow, by some criteria the biggest battle in history, and the Russian ordinary men (and women) who fought it. It was fought over a territory the size of France. It cost the Russians as many casualties as the British lost in the whole of the World War I. And it marked the first strategic defeat the Wehrmacht had suffered in its hitherto unstoppable march across Europe. During the first half of 1941 Moscow and its people were living in a kind of peace in a world of war. In spite of the horrors of Stalinism many ordinary people managed to find their own ways of enjoying themselves, and when war surprised a country unprepared, thanks to Stalin's obduracy, most rose with enthusiasm to defend their country and their city. One of the points of the book is to try and show how people find a kind of normality even in the hardest of circumstances, in peace and in war. On the 22 June the Nazi armies invaded and raced across the country. By the end of the year they were held, finally, in the suburbs of Moscow (as it were on the A4 at Heathrow). Based on huge research and scores of interviews, this book offers an unforgettable and richly illustrated narrative of the military action; telling portraits of Stalin and his generals, some apparatchiks, some great commanders. It also traces the stories of individuals, soldiers, politicians and intellectuals, writers and artists and dancers, workers, schoolchildren and peasants. The war remains a highly emotional matter for Russia and there are troubling questions like the role of Stalin or the appalling cost of victory. The book concludes with reflections on these issues.
- Hardback | 464 pages
- 156 x 236 x 46mm | 839.16g
- 06 Apr 2006
- Profile Books Ltd
- London, United Kingdom
- 16 Illustrations, unspecified
Braithwaite...has written the best history book of the year so far. * Sunday Herald * With great skill, he maintains tension throughout this sinewy, moving and consummately crafted history of the soviet union's darkest hours...it is the stuff of epics. * Glasgow Herald * A vivid picture of the stark and bloody struggle for national survival with which Russia's war began. * Economist * Braithwaite...retells the story with verve and compassion. * The Guardian * an impressive account * Financial Times * It is remarkable to find new material, new insights and even fresh revealing reflections on Stalin * The Tribune * dramatic and frightening reading * Daily Express * a masterful account * Times * an outstanding book...these accounts provide a fascinating insight not only into the war but also into Soviet society. * THES * a splendid read, full of interesting material, and essential for anyone trying to understand the Russians...and the war they fought and won at such a great cost * BBC History Magazine * one of the most overlooked moments in history...the strength of Moscow 1941 lies in its eye for detail, the snapshots of everyday life that set the scene * Observer * Together with his remarkably clear, concise style...and his empathy with the people, he achieves a graphic vividness which puts this book on a level with Beevor's * Mail on Sunday (5 stars) * a remarkable epic, vividly portrayed * Sunday Telegraph * vibrant and humane portrait of a remarkable city in the face of a terrible enemy. He has succeeded triumphantly in restoring the Battle for Moscow to its proper place in history * Daily Telegraph * a real taste of people's history...he allows them to tell their stories of comradeship, inventiveness, hunger and horror * New Statesman * A heartbreaking and thrilling story of peerless heroism and misery on a barely imaginable scale...the reader staggers from laughter to tears, while never forgetting that blood is flowing. -- Simon Sebag Montefiore * Daily Mail * a wide-ranging and excellent account...Braithwaite never shirks the terrible truths -- Antony Beevor * Sunday Times * engrossing and masterly account...this is a significant contribution to our understanding of the Great Patriotic War * The Independent * In the grim roster of battles, Moscow has always been overshadowed by Stalingrad....Rodric Braithwaite's epic history, skilfully drawing on the experiences of ordinary Russians, goes a long way to setting the record straight. * Sunday Telegraph * Extraordinary story. -- Simon Mayo * Radio Five *
About Sir Rodric Braithwaite
Sir Rodric Braithwaite was British Ambassador in Moscow during the fall of the Soviet Union. He has also been Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee. He lives in London. Click here to visit the author's website.