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If you want to read a book about the Battle of Moscow – this isn’t it.
The author is a descendant of a family that fought against the Russians in Poland after the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact in 939 that was the real beginning of WWII. Most of the book is about the terror that Stalin unleashed on his own people. When the book takes a break from the long list of Stalinist terrors, he upbraids those Americans who hoped that Russia would turn to democracy. He hates Harry Hopkins, Davis, FDR – anybody who thought that beating Hitler was more important that fighting Russia.
With the chapter upon chapter listing of every Stalinist stupidity and atrocity, you wonder how the Russians ever beat Germany. And that’s what is wrong with this book – we all know that Stalinist Russia in 1941 was on the brink of disaster – as Hitler said, kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will collapse. A real question to be answered is WHY Russia didn’t collapse as everyone predicted they would. What did they do right – what did they have – that made them able to do what no other country had been able to do up to then – defeat the Wermacht.
I would not recommend this book to any serious student of the period.
It is not so well written that you can get involved in the story because every time the author actually gets into the fascinating tale of what happened in front of Moscow in late 1941, he remembers how much he hates the Communists and we’re off to the races once again.
66 of 70 people found this review helpful
I bought this title expecting a detailed military history with descriptions of the battle for Moscow. Instead the author details everything that was going on around Stalin at the time except for the actual battle. This was actually moderately interesting. However, the author steadfastly avoids talking about the actual battle. It is lucky for Nagorski that there are no laws that the title of a book has to reflect its content.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful