Moscow 1941: A City and its People at War - Rodric Braithwaite [epub]
As German troops approached Moscow in June, 1941, two million people were evacuated from the city, in seventy thousand trainloads, including forty carriages and thirty-five freight cars carrying the sets, staff, and props of the Bolshoi Theatre.
But, after a brief spell during which Stalin seemed paralyzed and despite his habit of having his own generals shot the Russians turned and attacked. Braithwaite concludes that it was not, as the Germans liked to claim, the Russian winter that undid the Wehrmacht; rather, an unexpectedly strong Soviet counteroffensive delivered Hitler's first major defeat. The cost included almost a million Soviet soldiers dead.
Braithwaite, who was Britain's Ambassador to Moscow from 1988 to 1992, interviewed a remarkable range of Muscovites for the book, from students and nurses who joined the fight to a metro worker who dug Stalin's secret bunker, and he has produced a symphonic evocation of a great city at war.
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Vintage; 1st edition (October 9, 2007)