Sunday, September 19, 2010

Five best World War Two memoirs

Andrew Roberts is the author of Masters and Commanders: How Four Titans Won the War in the West, 1941-1945.

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a five best list of World War II memoirs.

One title on the list:
Life and Fate
by Vasily Grossman

Between 1941 and 1945, Vassily Grossman was a reporter for the Soviet Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) newspaper who specialized in interviewing the "frontoviki" (front-line troops). He covered the battles of Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk and Berlin, and his interview subjects included Gen. Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov, the Red Army's battlefield commander at Stalingrad. The writer was also present at the liberation of the Treblinka concentration camp. Taking extensive notes throughout the war, Grossman—a Jew who felt deeply betrayed by the Bolsheviks' growing anti-Semitism— incorporated the stories into his monumental autobiographical novel, "Life and Fate," which has been likened to "War and Peace" in its scope and ambition. The book, and even the typewriter ribbon on which it was written, were confiscated by the KGB after the war, and Grossman was told that "Life and Fate" could not be published for 200 years. That wasn't true—the book came out in the West in 1980 and in Russia eight years later. Its author had died of cancer in 1964.
Read about another book on the list.

Life and Fate also appears among Antony Beevor's five best works of fiction about World War Two.

Also see Ian Kershaw's five best books about major decisions of World War II.

--Marshal Zeringue