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Monday, April 16, 2012

Enemy At The Gates

I don’t usually read a book or watch a movie more than once but exceptions can be made. I was laying in a hospital bed two days after my knee replacement surgery. Then they began withdrawing the intravenous pain killer. The knee ( now a fake one) didn’t hurt anymore, thank god, but the slightest turn and the my thighs cramped up like a bad charley horse. Ouch. For distraction there was a cable TV movie channel. I began watching a movie. In the face of German bombers, fighters and artillery and forced at gunpoint by the secret police, young Red Army soldier crossed the Volga in barges. They headed into surrounded and burning Stalingrad. I was captivated, enthralled and horrified at the overwhelming scenes.... They kept repeating the movie. I watched it three times.
Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad by William Craig is a spellbinding account, based on personal reminiscences, of the battle that turned the tide against the previously undefeated Nazi juggernaut. It inspired the 2001 movie of the same name starring Joseph Fiennes, Jude Law and Ed Harris. First published in 1973, Enemy at the Gates was reissued in 2001 as a movie-tie book for the film. Today, William Craig's epic account of the battle for Stalingrad remains one of the finest historical works ever published on World War II. Waged from August 23, 1942, to February 2, 1943, the battle of Stalingrad featured two mighty armies locked in mortal combat, with the war on the critical Eastern Front hanging in the balance.Two madmen, Hitler and Stalin, engaged in a death struggle that would determine the course of history at staggering cost of human life. Craig has written the definitive book on one of the most terrible battles ever fought. It’s only comparison is Harrison Salsburys Nine Hundred Days, his account of the siege of Leningrad. Enemy at the Gates personalizes the battle with a montage of memories from the participants. Craig's book is compelling and very readable. If World War Two and events that most Americans know little about is an interest, I highly recommend this book.


Loree Huebner said...

I saw the movie. It was difficult. Thanks for the review and recommendation on the book!

Ms Sparrow said...

After having two hip replacement surgeries, I know how weary and listless the recovery period can be. Thank heaven there are movies and TV to help us keep our minds active! I saw "Enemy at the Gates" some years ago. WWII is an endless source of incredible stories.

Retired English Teacher said...

I've been a blog slacker lately, so I didn't know you were having a knee replaced. I hope the recovery is coming along nicely. My husband has had two knee replacements and a hip replacement. They are rough surgeries, but each one gave him his life back and he is pain free.

This book sounds quite interesting.

troutbirder said...

ooops. I don't know if you regularly check my "nature" blog but I put in a post on "computers in the classroom" you might enjoy..

NCmountainwoman said...

I haven't read that particular book but I have read a lot about the battle for Stalingrad. I'll definitely look for the book.

Should Fish More said...

What a strange and interesting history the Soviet Union had, it speaks to the will and the strength of the people to withstand such a brutal and incompetent bureaucracy. The accounts I've read say they lost 20 million people in the war, had half their territory occupied, and still won the war.
Given the purges and decimation of the higher ranks in the military by Stalin before the war, its doubly amazing.