Monday, September 3, 2018

Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942–1943

Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942–1943Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942–1943 by Antony Beevor
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I feel guilty for what I'm about to say because I've been a big fan of World War II history since childhood and I've read countless books on virtually every nation involved, as well as most of the various conflicts, etc. But I lacked a good book on Stalingrad, so I was happy when I stumbled across this book. I had high hopes for it. And it started promisingly. There's a slow buildup on getting the German forces even TO Stalingrad, which is somewhat understandable, and there's incredible detail on the Russian defense of the city and area surrounding it. There's fascinating information on Stalin, his mindset and that of his advisors, a little info on Hitler and his advisors. And then it begins. I'm about to admit that after awhile, I set it aside for awhile, hoping to pick it up later and regain my interest, only to do so, experience the same feelings, set it aside, pick it up later, etc. I've been doing so for 10 months and I STILL haven't finished it, though I'm very close to the end. But I'm done, I'm not going to finish, this is it. I've tried so hard and I've read so many military histories, but I've got to say it: this book bored the shit out of me! At first the various battles within Stalingrad were interesting, but after awhile it became so repetitive and predictable, I practically fell asleep after 2-3 pages at a time. My God! How many can you take of One Side attacks the other, the Other Side counterattacks; One Side is starving, the Other Side is starving; One Side is freezing, the Other Side is freezing; One Side is valiant, the Other Side is valiant; One Side seems to be winning, oh no, the Other Side Seems to be winning??? Holy shit, after awhile I just didn' anymore. There's only so much of that you can take, page after page, hundreds of pages after hundreds of pages, before you want one fucking side to just fucking WIN!!! I tried to give it a fair chance. I read most of it. But it was like the worst homework. It was a chore. I had to make myself keep picking it up. In the meantime, I've read fascinating books on the creation of the Israeli state, the Yom Kippur War, the creation of the NSA, the creation of DARPA and its history, a book on infamous spy Kim Philby, and much more. And all of these held my attention. I couldn't put them down. But this book? Sheer painful agony. The only reason I'm giving it two stars instead of one is that part of the book is interesting -- the part leading up to and the beginning of the battle for Stalingrad. After that the book frankly sucks. Surely there have to be other books on the battle that are more interesting, more captivating! Right? Please? Because this book is most definitely Not.Recommended!

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