Stalingrad: Letters from the Volga

By Robbin Laird

When it comes to understanding particular wars for generations which follow, there is no better way to do so than to immerse them in the experience.

With regard to World War I, a visit to the trench experience which can be had at the Imperial War Museum in London is unparalleled.

Or watching the recent film, They Shall Not Grow Old, which was released this year and provided the original films shot during the war and which contained letters from the soldiers providing a first-hand experience immersing the viewer in what it was like to be a World War I soldier.

With the publication of Stalingrad: Letters from the Volga,  the authors provide a unique walk through the battle of Stalingrad, the bloodiest urban battle fought by two major armies in history.

The authors craft their narrative by providing a walk through the various phases of the battle and in each phase provide letters, images and maps which place the reader in the heart of the battle, and in the heart of what it must have been like.

It was an historical Dante’s Inferno and when you are done you have a glimpse of why it was so.

The book is unusual in that the authors use drawings to guide the reader through the experience and provide a sense of immediacy within the conflict as well.

They provide  an innovative way to provide immersion for the reader similar to a film or an animated tale.

The experience is a powerful one and I highly recommend acquiring the book and immersing yourself in the experience.

While one has little positive to say about Nazism or Hitler, the book reveals the experience of the average German soldier and certainly highlights the courage of the Soviet forces in turning back the horrors of Nazism.

Buy the book and enter the Stalingrad experience, not an easy one to encounter or live through.

But at least you will.

The book is translated from the original Spanish by Jeff Whitman.