John Mosier presents a revisionist retelling of the war on the Eastern Front. Although the Eastern Front was the biggest and most important theater in World War II, it is not well known in the United States, as no American troops participated in the fighting. Yet historians agree that this is where the decisive battles of the war were fought.
The conventional wisdom about the Eastern Front is that Hitler was mad to think he could defeat the USSR, because of its vast size and population, and that the Battle of Stalingrad marked the turning point of the war. Neither statement is accurate, says Mosier; Hitler came very close to winning outright.
Mosier's history of the Eastern Front will generate considerable controversy, both because of his unconventional arguments and because he criticizes historians who have accepted Soviet facts and interpretations. Mosier argues that Soviet accounts are utterly untrustworthy and that accounts relying on them are fantasies. Deathride argues that the war in the East was Hitler's to lose, that Stalin was in grave jeopardy from the outset of the war, and that it was the Allied victories in North Africa and consequent threat to Italy that forced Hitler to change his plans and saved Stalin from near-certain defeat. Stalin's only real triumph was in creating a legend of victory.
©2010 John Mosier (P)2010 Tantor
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"The tone grows wearisome after a few chapters"
Any book on the subject of the Eastern Front of WWII is welcome. It's a part of WWII that for my generation (graduated college during the Cold War) was mostly ignored in history class. Yet it was the largest and deadliest theater of the war. However, Mosier's tone and pet phrases such as "You would think...but you'd be wrong", "Contrary to conventional wisdom..." gets more and more grating with each chapter.
Despite his insistence that he is speaking the truth against the official accepted history, much of his view of the Eastern Front is not unique or shocking. His scrutiny of evidence from the belligerents is biased to support his thesis (that the Germans were much closer to victory in the East, and that it was the Allied offensive in the West that compelled Germany to retreat in the East to better defend the West). Official Soviet numbers (from casualties to weapons production et al) are laboriously explained away as propaganda, but rarely is the same level of examination given to Nazi numbers. In fact, to support his contrarian view that German troops were not demoralized during their retreat Mosier refers to photos of happy German soldiers from that period. He insists without proof that they were candid and not staged, and somehow a handful of photos is a clear indicator of overall sangfroid up and down the German lines as they marched backwards through Poland.
Overall, I can't recommend this book. However, I will give Mosier credit for his insights at the end of Deathride. No single book could sum up what a tragedy the War was for the people of Eastern Europe, but Mosier's overview of the staggering human costs can be felt as it is read. His summary of the post-war consequences of Stalin is apt and thoughtful, too. The Soviet Union never recovered from the incalculable death and damage or the War, and Stalin's incompetence and ruinous policies that beat the Nazis led to the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union.
"Speaking the un-speakable"
This book finally addresses the nagging logical questions that any amateur eastern front historian has been too embarrassed to ask. First – would the fall of Moscow really been the end to Soviet resistance? John Mosier answer is clear, logical and I my opinion correct. The Soviets would not have simply given up if Panzers were parked in the Kremlin. He also correctly asserts that Hitler’s decision to not take Moscow off the march in August/September was the strategically correct one based on the larger economic considerations and military dispositions of the Soviet Armed Forces at the time. He ties the failure to finish off the Soviets at that time was the lack of a strategic bomber in the Luftwaffe. He believes that the possession of such a weapon would have enabled the Germans to destroy the relocated factories in the Urals and any reinforcements being gathered around Moscow or Don/ Volga basin (Stalingrad). He also believes that the lack of this weapon was the reason for the loss of the Battle of Britain and probably the war. If Britain had been knocked out the US would have no realistic location to base a continental invasion.
"Outcome of the war was evident before it began?"
I have always been fascinated about history and particularly events of the eastern front during the WW2. For or a person such as myself, who has already read dozens of books covering the subject you seldom come across something that has completely new information or points of views.
This book challenges some of the prevailing theories and takes the listener to whole other level in understanding the events in the eastern front. The theory that the outcome of the war was evident years before the war even began was really insightful. I'm not convinced that everything was correctly displayed or that the conclusions are 100% accurate but I liked the fresh perspective anyway. Mosier is correct when he states that history is written by the winners so in general we know only what we are supposed to know.
As long as listener remembers to be careful and objective as to what can be considered "truth beyond reasonable doubt" and what are the writers conclusion and theories this book can be considered well worth listening. It had fresh perspectives, bold conclusions and the reader managed the job well.
I found this book to be a wonderful insight. and being a military man for 21 years some of the points were very valid indeed. This book will make you think and will place so much 'coffee table' history in the bin. I would highly recommend it to any student of history looking for a strategic view point of the war in the east. Its also a great read. Well do, would recommend it to anyone.
"Its not a book that will grab your attention"
Yes, but it would have to be more captivating. When reading books a writer can droon on for hours about facts and figures. When listening, you need to grab my attention and hold it. Not all books should be in the audible format. This book is better read.
"Revisionist History of the Eastern Front????"
History has always told us that the Soviet Union won the Second World War. They defeated the Germans in front of Moscow in the winter of 1941; they stalemated them at Leningrad; they kicked their swastikas at Stalingrad in 1943; they beat them at Kursk in July 1943 and rolled to Berlin in 1945.
Now comes John Mosier.
No, no. The Germans didn't lose. They just, well, didn't WIN.
Moscow? Retreated to winter positions.
Stalingrad?? Oh, see, what we think of as Stalingrad, the encirclement of the 6th Army, well, you know, it was more complicated than just that. There were four operations at the same time, see, and the others didn't do as well, and that encirclement thing, well - they got lucky. He actually says the surrender of Von Paulus was curious in light of the fact that at that very moment Von Manstein's 4th Panzer Army was practically there, and they had beer and pizza all ready to go. Fact, Dr. Mosier: Manstein, who HAD been trying to get to Stalingrad to break out the 6th Army, was forced to turn away on December 23, 1942. You're talking fiction.
Kursk was NOT, as we've been led to believe, the greatest tank battle of all time. The Germans would have won, see, they'd practically put it in the bag, except Hitler reacted to the invasion of Sicily by transferring armies to Italy to guard against an Allied invasion of the mainland. So let me see...Hitler turned away from a huge, potentially decisive battle he was poised to win in a week or two against his fiercest, most hated adversary in his self-proclaimed racial war of annihilation, to guard against a possible invasion someplace, well, maybe sometime a few months from now, maybe, by somebody else.
Berlin? By now the guy's on fumes, and he just kinda sorta mentions that yeah, the Russians were in Berlin, and Hitler married Eva and killed his dog, and anybody who doesn't see it his way is a Stalinist toolbag.
If Mosier is to be believed, then the only thing standing between the Germans constructing a beer garden in Red Square and the Wehrmacht touring the cultural sights of Leningrad was some gosh darned bad luck. After all, those Russians, they lost X millions and the Germans only lost Y millions, and that awful Stalin just kept pouring troops into the bloody maw until he reached the Brandenburg Gate without regard for their lives. Yes. Yes, he did. That's how the Russians won the war. Shading, interpretation, reinterpretation - at the end of the war the Germans surrendered. Even Mosier can't dispute that.
For a historian, he has a hell of a lot of trouble with facts.
"IT IS ALMOUST AND TEXTBOOK OF MILITARY HISTORY"
No. I am not a scholar to need all the interesting details in the book. One read was enough for me
The rise and fall of the third reich
No, it is a fact book not an emotional novel
The books on the murderous machinations of Charles Manson were about anarchic drugged up mayhem in the hippy world of Oz of the late '60's. It was all decadence, perversion and madness. Imagine now a different world where 2 of the most powerful leaders were just as wacko as Manson but highly disciplined, extremely ruthless and would stop at nothing to see their dreams (your nightmares) realized upon an ocean of blood and suffering. One wins, the other dies in the ruins of one of Europe's great cities. The empire that the winner led comes crashing down 60 years later.
This is a sort of alternative history of WW2. There is a lot of strategic analysis and the scope is vast. The narrator reads in a matter-of-fact voice which is most suitable to the subject matter, grisly and awesome as it is.
If you think your life is tough now - listen to this, and give praise to the Lord for being born is calmer times. Living in the Soviet Empire or the Nazi Empire would have been living life in a meat grinder, not to mention the mountain of lies that each were built on. Western civilization could have been over run by either of these empires, lucky for us a leader came along who understood the threat and was up to the task of taking them both on. God bless you Winny!
"No new insight"
An interesting book although the info provided is not new. Some of the conclusions presented by the author are overstreched and not supported by evidence in the book. In addition due to many numbers used in the book (casualties, troop strength etc) sometimes somewhat difficult to follow in the audio format.
"Might be a terrific book; I'll never know"
I've listened to scores of books (not all from Audible), and this has to be the worst narration I've come across. The flat monotone and irritating timbre of the reader--not to speak of the jarring patches that intermittently change the volume--make it impossible for me to get through the book. The narrator projects some life into the reading only when quoting from this or that Russian, French, or German military figure. The quotes are delivered in English, but with an accent that's vaguely reminiscent of the quotee's native language. It's bizarre and awful, but at least there's some intonation in these quotes. The rest of the reading sounds as if it were generated by computer. My advice to anyone interested in the topic is to skip this audio and read the book instead.
Very interesting and though-provoking. I bought the hardback copy after listening to this audiobook just so I could refer to it occasionally and look at his sources.
After reading books by former GRU spy and Spetsnaz man Victor Suvorov, then this, it puts a new perspective on the war.
"Fascinating revisionist look at the eastern front"
IMO the book can be roughly summerised thus,
- Most accounts of the war are based on Soviet sources, which were systematically falsified and manipulated to serve Soviet propaganda.
- Soviet accounts of the war were the product of a society where criticism of the leadership and pointing out failings were capital crimes, and therefore must be treated with great skepticism.
- The USSR did NOT have limitless manpower or resources, and Stalin came within a inch of losing the war due to the astronomical rate at which he wasted lives and material.
- The notion of great Soviet victories at Moscow, Stalingrad, and Kursk is not supported by the loss figures for either men or equipment. All were draws.
- Hitler was not the military imbecile he is often painted.
- The USSR was saved from Stalin's incompetence by offensives from the western allies drawing away German forces: and because vast shipments of Anglo-American aid made up for Soviet deficiencies.
BTW: the reviewer claiming the book "paints Hitler as noble" is either lying or hasn't read it. Mosier never say anything of the kind.
"A must for WWII enthusiasts"
It is well known that victors get to write history. John Mosier presents a completely alternative view on how Stalin and the USSR defeated Hitler's Germany. The book is very well researched and written in an engaging manner that had me enthralled to the very last page. The book introduces the reader to little known or even new facts about the war that puts the accepted view of what actually occurred in doubt. An absolute must for any WWII enthusiast.
"Spin on Hitler"
This man writes a history at odds with almost every other writer. He even boasts about it. Hitler it appears was a noble leader. Tell that to the Jews of europe. This man needs to be banned or at least put in the fantasy section.
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