In the summer of 1941, as the Germans invade Russia, newspaper reporter Vasily Grossman is swept to the frontlines, witnessing some of the most savage atrocities in Russian history.
As Grossman follows the Red Army from the defence of Moscow, to the carnage at Stalingrad, to the Nazi genocide in Treblinka, his writings paint a vividly raw and devastating account of Operation Barbarossa during World War Two.
Grossman’s notebooks, war diaries, personal correspondence and newspaper articles are meticulously woven into a gripping narrative and provide a piercing look into the life of the author behind recent Sunday Times bestseller Stalingrad.
A Writer at War stands as an unforgettable eyewitness account of the Eastern Front and places Grossman as the leading Soviet voice of ‘the ruthless truth of war’.
‘A remarkable addition to the literature of 1941 – 1945...a wonderful portrait of the wartime experience of Russia... A worthy memorial to a remarkable man’ Sunday Telegraph
Soviet author Grossman volunteered for the army when the Germans invaded in 1941 and spent more than three years as a special correspondent at the front for the army newspaper Red Star. His wartime writing established him as a major "voice" of war a status resembling in many ways that of Ernie Pyle in America. This volume, a perfect complement to the panoramic vision of Ivan's War, collects excerpts from Grossman's notebooks and published dispatches, few of them longer than a couple of paragraphs. And while the dispatches usually describe scenes fitting with Soviet orthodoxy, Grossman's notebooks also record the bloody-mindedness, the despair and the disaffection that permeated Soviet ranks as the Red Army paid its dues of learning how to fight a modern war. That material, of course, was not published at the time. Grossman was a perceptive observer with an eye for essential detail. His vignettes of the fighting at Kursk and the battles that brought the Red Army into Berlin are models of combat reporting, and the elegiac realism of his description of Treblinka merits wide anthologizing in Holocaust literature. This volume stands among the finest eyewitness accounts of Soviet Russia's war on the Eastern Front.
Breathtaking, evocative and, ultimately, heartbreaking.
One of the best books I have read involving the Eastern Front of World War 2. A first hand account of the author's experiences and all of the individuals he had interviewed at his various postings.
This book gives one a good view of events at some the greatest battles of all time as well as some insight into Stalinist Russia and some of the attitudes of the Russians themselves.
The chapter on Treblinka is truly awful to read but should be compulsory material.
I couldn't recommend this book highly enough.