Drawing on remarkable and never-before-seen material, the extraordinary story of one of the most horrific and devastating encounters of the Second World War.
On June 22nd, 1941 the largest military invasion in human history was launched – an attack on the Soviet Union by almost four million men of Nazi Germany’s brutal war machine.
Operation Barbarossa led to the bloodiest military campaign mankind has ever known. The statistics of death and destruction are almost impossible to believe. The cruelty, suffering and destitution it wrought are unimaginable . . . over forty million people lost their lives.
Yet, the real story of the Eastern Front is still not truly understood outside of Germany and Eastern Europe. Little is known of those who suffered in the horror of Hitler’s ‘War of Annihilation’ – the soldiers and civilians of Eastern Europe who fought and died trying to save their homelands and their loved ones.
In Barbarossa, Stewart Binns tells the story of how they lived and survived, and how, once the tide had turned, they exacted an appalling revenge on the Nazi aggressors. This is the story of the bloodiest war in history.
Stewart Binns draws on Russian archives to paint a uniquely intimate picture of the war from the Soviet side of this terrible conflict – presenting this dark moment in history in panoramic detail, matching sweeping accounts of tactical manoeuvres with harrowing personal stories of civilian hardship and bravery.
‘A masterful narrative, deeply enriched by extraordinary research and a profound analysis of the soul of Russia.’ – Nick Hewer
This is a truly astounding book, packed with searing hitherto-unpublished testimony about what it was like to endure, and ultimately defeat, the most formidable invasion in the history of Mankind. The sheer endurance of the Russian people between 1941 and 1945 will leave readers utterly staggered. It is a debt that we in the West should do more to acknowledge. * Andrew Roberts, author of CHURCHILL: WALKING WITH DESTINY * A masterful narrative, deeply enriched by extraordinary research and a profound analysis of the soul of Russia. * Nick Hewer * Barbarossa reads wonderfully well * Spectator * This compact and well-written account clearly demonstrates the close links between the military events at the front, the suffering of the civilian population and the genocide of the Jews. * TLS * His subject is dramatic, of course, but nonetheless his writing is vivid, personal and adds to the impact of the narrative. * Scotsman * This is an admirable book. How can anyone write an all-encompassing narrative of these times in a mere 305-pages? Binns has managed to do it beautifully, capturing the story, the rationale for the response by the Soviet people in general to mobilise willingly against the invader, whatever their view of their own dictator and his murderous cronies, and the sheer military, industrial and human enormity of the subject. That he's also done so through the lens of a wide range of voices of those who experienced the war adds to the scale of his achievement. * Aspects of History * Barbarossa contains an even wide fund of harrowing testimonies, drawn from diaries and letters in Russian archives, and sources such as Svetlana Alexievich's superlative oral history The Unwomanly Face of War. We are always the richer for hearing ordinary voices at war, reclaiming the human from the military, the barbaric, the statistics. * Saturday Telegraph * There is very little that happened in Operation Barbarossa that does not still have an effect on our lives today. . . A sobering but vital read * The Scotsman * This compact and well-written account clearly demonstrates the close links between the military events at the front, the suffering of the civilian population and the genocide of the Jews. This is important because accessible English-language books on the war in the East, written in an engaging style and directed to a wider public, still rarely point out these crucial connections * TLS *
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