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Any book on the subject of the Eastern Front of WWII is welcome. It's a part of WWII that for my generation (graduated college during the Cold War) was mostly ignored in history class. Yet it was the largest and deadliest theater of the war. However, Mosier's tone and pet phrases such as "You would think...but you'd be wrong", "Contrary to conventional wisdom..." gets more and more grating with each chapter.
Despite his insistence that he is speaking the truth against the official accepted history, much of his view of the Eastern Front is not unique or shocking. His scrutiny of evidence from the belligerents is biased to support his thesis (that the Germans were much closer to victory in the East, and that it was the Allied offensive in the West that compelled Germany to retreat in the East to better defend the West). Official Soviet numbers (from casualties to weapons production et al) are laboriously explained away as propaganda, but rarely is the same level of examination given to Nazi numbers. In fact, to support his contrarian view that German troops were not demoralized during their retreat Mosier refers to photos of happy German soldiers from that period. He insists without proof that they were candid and not staged, and somehow a handful of photos is a clear indicator of overall sangfroid up and down the German lines as they marched backwards through Poland.
Overall, I can't recommend this book. However, I will give Mosier credit for his insights at the end of Deathride. No single book could sum up what a tragedy the War was for the people of Eastern Europe, but Mosier's overview of the staggering human costs can be felt as it is read. His summary of the post-war consequences of Stalin is apt and thoughtful, too. The Soviet Union never recovered from the incalculable death and damage or the War, and Stalin's incompetence and ruinous policies that beat the Nazis led to the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
This book finally addresses the nagging logical questions that any amateur eastern front historian has been too embarrassed to ask. First – would the fall of Moscow really been the end to Soviet resistance? John Mosier answer is clear, logical and I my opinion correct. The Soviets would not have simply given up if Panzers were parked in the Kremlin. He also correctly asserts that Hitler’s decision to not take Moscow off the march in August/September was the strategically correct one based on the larger economic considerations and military dispositions of the Soviet Armed Forces at the time. He ties the failure to finish off the Soviets at that time was the lack of a strategic bomber in the Luftwaffe. He believes that the possession of such a weapon would have enabled the Germans to destroy the relocated factories in the Urals and any reinforcements being gathered around Moscow or Don/ Volga basin (Stalingrad). He also believes that the lack of this weapon was the reason for the loss of the Battle of Britain and probably the war. If Britain had been knocked out the US would have no realistic location to base a continental invasion.
22 of 24 people found this review helpful
Very interesting and though-provoking. I bought the hardback copy after listening to this audiobook just so I could refer to it occasionally and look at his sources.
After reading books by former GRU spy and Spetsnaz man Victor Suvorov, then this, it puts a new perspective on the war.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
The theme of this book is that Stalin was able to re-write WW2 because he was the victor, and because statistics from the Soviets were unchallenged.
The book argues that lots of what we know about the Eastern Front is false. The Author explains why that might be and supports the counter view with compelling statistics however a couple of details were annoyingly wrong: Model did not die on the Eastern Front, it was on the West, and Spandau jail is in Berlin, so it was not the jail where Hess spent WW2.
Understandably those mistakes made me question the authors other assertions.
My thoughts while listening to this is that any one of the revisionist points, such as the new way of looking at the battle of Kursk, could be an excellent book by itself.
It is good to learn about proper history not the propaganda echoed since the end of WW2. It was always obvious to someone with an education on WW2 that Russian power was a myth. now we just need a documentary book on the myth of Zhukov and how he was not a great tactician which again is obvious