Leningrad by Michael Jones
State of Siege

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“All offers of surrender from Leningrad must be rejected,” wrote Adolph Hitler on September 29, 1941, at the outset of Operation Barbarossa. “In this struggle for survival, we have no interest in keeping even a proportion of the city’s population alive.”

During the famed 900-day siege of Leningrad, the German High Command deliberately planned to eradicate the city’s population through starvation. Viewing the Slavs as sub-human, Hitler embarked on a vicious program of ethnic cleansing. By the time the siege ended in January 1944, almost a million people had died. Those who survived would be marked permanently by what they endured as the city descended into chaos.

In Leningrad, military historian Michael Jones chronicles the human story of this epic siege. Drawing on newly available eyewitness accounts and diaries, he reveals the true horrors of the ordeal—including stories long-suppressed by the Soviets of looting, criminal gangs, and cannibalism. But he also shows the immense psychological resources on which the citizens of Leningrad drew to survive against desperate odds. At the height of the siege, for instance, an extraordinary live performance of Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony profoundly strengthened the city’s will to resist.

A riveting account of one of the most harrowing sieges of world history, Leningrad also portrays the astonishing power of the human will in the face of even the direst catastrophe.


About Michael Jones

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Michael Jones has a Ph.D. in history from Bristol University and has taught at Glasgow University and Winchester College. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, he has previously written books on Agincourt and Stalingrad. He lives in Croyden, England.
Published July 1, 2008 by Basic Books. 359 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

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The Washington Times

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In Hollywood and on Main Street, World War II was a victory won by "the greatest generation" of Americans and Britons. In fact, Russia bore the heaviest burdens in the war and suffered the most from war's barbarism.

Oct 23 2008 | Read Full Review of Leningrad: State of Siege

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