Saturday, August 28, 2004

More Bookses - Stalingrad

So it looks like I'm feeling somewhat more verbose today after all. The next book is Stalingrad by Antony Beever. This is a non-fiction book, but written in the style of a novel, to entice all of you people who'd never normally read a history book.

This book tells the story of the siege of Stalingrad during the second world war. My mum commented to me while we were in Europe, 'It must be interesting to be reading all about these places while traveling around them at the same time!'
'Mum, we're not in Russia, we're in Germany.'
Her PhD obviously isn't in Geography.
Still, I felt a tiny bit self conscious reading this book in Germany. 'Don't talk about ze war!'. That didn't seem to bother the Aussie chick sitting next to us on the flight to Frankfurt. 'Man, this the Nazi airline!', she exclaimed when she saw the shitty little meals Lufthansa served us.

Anyway, it was quite an affecting book, there's lots of people starving, civilians getting slaughtered, and general death and mayhem, so it's not exactly light reading, but it brings to life the horror of the world wars. The main focus is on the soldiers of both armies, and the terrible conditions they suffered through. Basically, Stalin fucks up and the defenders of Stalingrad end up hiding in holes with no food or supplies for months, and then Hitler fucks up and the German army ends up cut off from their food and supplies, and freezing to death in the brutal Russian winter. The author uses letters and other genuine written descriptions from the soldiers to vividly describe the grisly details of the campaign.

So, highly recommended, but not exactly light reading. Don't take it on holiday to Greece.

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