The Greatest Battle: Stalin, Hitler, and the Desperate Struggle for Moscow that Changed the Course of World War II

Andrew Nagorski, Author . Simon & Schuster $27 (366p) ISBN 978-0-7432-8110-2

Journalist and foreign correspondent Nagorski combines published sources and interviews in this history of what he calls the largest, deadliest and most decisive battle of WWII. The often cited Russian winter did not account for the battle's outcome, he asserts, nor did German military overstretch. The tide wasn't turned by Hitler's increasingly erratic command decisions either. Moscow, Nagorski argues, was won by the Soviet government, the Red Army and the Russian people. Stalin's decision to stay in the city provided a rallying point—otherwise his mistakes as a commander and his brutality as head of state might have handed the Germans a victory they couldn't win in combat. A Red Army still learning its craft lost more than two million soldiers before Moscow, many of whom were victims of teenaged officers and obsolete weapons, failed tactical doctrines and logistical systems. Even the vaunted Siberian divisions were short of everything, including winter clothes, as they fought in sub-zero temperatures. Nor were Moscow's residents the united folk of Communist myth. Nagorski's sources luridly describe panic, looting and wildcat strikes as the Germans approached. Still, he concludes that whatever the shortcomings of Moscow's defenders, their deeds don't require heroic myth: the truth is honorable enough. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 06/25/2007
Release date: 09/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 366 pages - 978-0-7432-8111-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-4001-0507-6
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MP3 CD - 978-1-4001-5507-1
Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-4165-4573-6
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