The Road to Stalingrad: Stalin's War With Germany
by John Erickson
Release Date: July, 1999
This is an excellant book for those seeking detailed accounts of the war between the USSR and Germany. Mr. Erickson does a masterful job of detailing the Soviet failures at the beginning of the war through their successful defense of Moscow to the fall of the Crimea setting the stage for Germany's catastrophic defeat at Stalingrad. This account is largely from the Soviet perspective, but I do not believe that detracts from its value. The author displays little bias, he rather lets the facts speak for themselves. This has one weakness: as others have said, it has no maps. The lack of maps make it somewhat difficult to follow unless one has some idea of the geography of the USSR; even then, it is still difficult to follow at times. However, overall this is an excellent work for anyone seeking more detail about the Great Patriotic War.
If you're studying Stalingrad or building up a credible military library, you really need this book, which stands alongside Antony Beevor's best-selling "Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege" and Joel Hayward's definitive "Stopped at Stalingrad: The Luftwaffe and Hitlers Defeat in the East 1942 - 1943". Make sure you have all three.
Erickson's book explains Soviet grand strategy, operational art, and tactics, and does so during a narrative that is gripping and informative. Yes, it is true that you need maps to help you locate the place names but check out the good maps in Hayward's book while you are reading Erickson's.
Erickson cut a trail with his meticulous use of Soviet russian-language archival documents. This gives the book real strenth and reliabilty.
Soviet sacrifices were as great as Soviet suffering. I would like to shake the hand of every Soviet commander Erickson mentions. Thank God for them is all I can say. THEY won World War II.
The books I mention in this book review are so far ahead of the rest that I would give them all six stars. You must get them. Erickson's companion volume, by the way, is about the period from Stalingrad to Berlin. It is also magnificent.
By the way, I once met Professor Erickson and I can affirm that he is a thoroughly nice gentleman. He signed his book for me and happily answered my dumb questions. Isn't it nice that at least some of our paramount scholars aren't ivory-tower types?