Antony Beevor is the author of Crete: The Battle and the Resistance (Runciman Prize), Stalingrad (Samuel Johnson Prize, Wolfson Prize for History and Hawthornden Prize), Berlin: The Downfall, The Battle for Spain (Premio La Vanguardia), D-Day: The Battle for Normandy (Prix Henry Malherbe and the RUSI Westminster Medal), The Second World War, and Ardennes 1944 (Prix Medicis shortlist). The number one bestselling historian in Britain, Beevor's books have appeared in thirty-two languages and have sold just over seven million copies. A former chairman of the Society of Authors, he has received a number of honorary doctorates. He is also a visiting professor at the University of Kent and an Honorary Fellow of King's College, London. He was knighted in 2017.
This gripping account of Germany's notorious campaign combines sophisticated use of previously published firsthand accounts in German and Russian along with newly available Soviet archival sources and caches of letters from the front. For Beevor (Paris After the Liberation, 1944-1949), the 1942 German offensive was a gamble that reflected Hitler's growing ascendancy over his military subordinates. The wide-open mobile operations that took the 6th Army into Stalingrad were nevertheless so successful that Soviet authorities insisted they could be explained only by treason. (Over 13,000 Soviet soldiers were formally executed during the battle for Stalingrad alone.) Combat in Stalingrad, however, deprived the Germans of their principal force multipliers of initiative and flexibility. The close-gripped fighting brought men to the limits of endurance, then kept them there. Beevor juxtaposes the grotesque with the mundane, demonstrating the routines that men on both sides developed to cope with an environment that brought them to the edge of madness. The end began when German army commander Friedrich von Paulus refused to prepare for the counterattack everyone knew was coming. An encircled 6th Army could neither be supplied by air nor fight its way out of the pocket unsupported. Fewer than 10,000 of Stalingrad's survivors ever saw Germany again. For the Soviet Union, the victory became a symbol not of a government, but of a people. The men and women who died in the city's rubble could have had worse epitaphs than this sympathetic treatment. Agent: Andrew Nurnberg. History Book Club main selection; BOMC alternate selection; foreign sales to the U.K., Germany and Russia. (July)
More than half a century later, the Battle of Stalingrad still strikes powerful chords. Its titanic scale and ferocity, the endurance and fighting capacities of the combatants, and the huge importance of the outcome to the larger world war beyond combine to give the terrific clash on the Volga a unique, epic quality. All this comes out splendidly in this book. Beevor (Paris After the Liberation, LJ 8/94) has drawn on archival and published sources in Russia and the West, along with revealing interviews with veterans on both sides. The savagery of Stalin's regime toward its own people, struggling to emerge both alive and victorious from the deadly battle with the invading Germans, has not been bettered. This is a thoroughly mesmerizing narrative to be read by specialists and generalists alike. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/98.]ÄRobert H. Johnston, McMaster Univ., Hamilton, Ont.