Leningrad by Anna Reid
The Epic Siege of World War II, 1941-1944

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Synopsis

On September 8, 1941, eleven weeks after Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, his brutal surprise attack on the Soviet Union, Leningrad was surrounded. The siege was not lifted for two and a half years, by which time some three quarters of a million Leningraders had died of starvation. Anna Reid's Leningrad is a gripping, authoritative narrative history of this dramatic moment in the twentieth century, interwoven with indelible personal accounts of daily siege life drawn from diarists on both sides. They reveal the Nazis' deliberate decision to starve Leningrad into surrender and Hitler's messianic miscalculation, the incompetence and cruelty of the Soviet war leadership, the horrors experienced by soldiers on the front lines, and, above all, the terrible details of life in the blockaded city: the relentless search for food and water; the withering of emotions and family ties; looting, murder, and cannibalism- and at the same time, extraordinary bravery and self-sacrifice. Stripping away decades of Soviet propaganda, and drawing on newly available diaries and government records, Leningrad also tackles a raft of unanswered questions: Was the size of the death toll as much the fault of Stalin as of Hitler? Why didn't the Germans capture the city? Why didn't it collapse into anarchy? What decided who lived and who died? Impressive in its originality and literary style, Leningrad gives voice to the dead and will rival Anthony Beevor's classic Stalingrad in its impact.
 

About Anna Reid

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Anna Reid is the author of The Shaman's Coat:A Narrative History of Siberia and Borderland: A Journey Through the History of the Ukraine. She holds a master's degree in Russian history and reform economics from the University of London's School of Slavonic and East European Studies. She was Ukraine correspondent for the Economist and the Daily Telegraph from 1993 to 1995, and from 2003 to 2007 she ran the foreign-affairs program at the think tank Policy Exchange.
 
Published September 6, 2011 by Walker Books. 513 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Leningrad

Kirkus Reviews

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Historian and journalist Reid (The Shaman’s Coat: A Native History of Siberia, 2003, etc.) turns her considerable investigative powers to Germany’s 872-day siege on Russia’s important Baltic port, “the deadliest blockade of a city in human history.” The author recounts a woefully unprepared defen...

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The Guardian

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Leningrad: Tragedy of a City Under Siege, 1941-44 by Anna Reid Buy it from the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop With scholarship and narrative verve, ...

Sep 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Leningrad: The Epic Siege of ...

Publishers Weekly

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Former Ukraine correspondent for the Economist and Daily Telegraph, Reid brings to this narrative a comprehensive background in Russian affairs, an eye for the telling anecdote, and an approach that integrates the everyday horrors of the three-year Nazi siege of Leningrad into wider contexts of o...

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The Wall Street Journal

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Joshua Rubenstein reviews "Leningrad: The Epic Siege of World War II, 1941-
1944."

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The Wall Street Journal

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More than 40 years ago, the veteran New York Times correspondent Harrison Salisbury published "The 900 Days," an epic account of the German siege of Leningrad.

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The Washington Times

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Most battles grow out of an army's attempt to destroy the forces of its enemy or to occupy its terrain. The siege of Leningrad in World War II was different, for Hitler's armies were stretched too thin to capture the city that had been the cradle of the Bolshevik Revolution.

Sep 27 2011 | Read Full Review of Leningrad: The Epic Siege of ...

The Economist

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Have you listened to The Economist Radio on Facebook?The Economist Radio is an on-demand social listening platform that allows you to listen, share and recommend The Economist audio content.

Aug 27 2011 | Read Full Review of Leningrad: The Epic Siege of ...

Washington Independent Review of Books

Robbins Every generation selects its absolutes: that thing, event or person we describe as the best or worst ever — as if we could recall “ever.” For tales of cold horror and deprivation, a time that truly reduced the human condition to its instinctual range of heroism to barbarity, a strong can...

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Express

Yet when it came to evacuating civilians the Soviet state machine dithered: “Failing to empty Leningrad of its surplus population before the siege ring closed was one of the Soviet regime’s worst blunders of the war, leading to more civilian deaths than any other save the failure to anticipate Ba...

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Reid missteps only occasionally, as when she quotes passages from Solomon Volkov's book Testimony, which purports to be the dictated memoirs of the Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich, whose Seventh Symphony, "Leningrad," became a wartime anthem for the city in 1942—but scholars have fatally unde...

Aug 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Leningrad: The Epic Siege of ...

Macleans

by the end of what was a savage winter even by Russian standards, with frequent days of -30° C, the total was already half a million.

Sep 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Leningrad: The Epic Siege of ...

Portland Book Review

@Lael_Lenehan @melmoes could you make a You Tube Video that way we could post it afterwords?

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The New Yorker

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Sep 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Leningrad: The Epic Siege of ...

Literary Review

was neither the Sweeney Todd of legend nor the bestial lowlife of Soviet history writing, but an honest, working-class housewife from the provinces, scavenging protein to save her family.' Only the Ice Road - a stream of trucks that delivered meagre supplies to the city in the winter of 1941-2 ...

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Dabbler

Elberry finds historian Anna Reid successfully managing a difficult balancing act in her new book about the seige of Leningrad, which killed four times as many people as Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined… “When one man dies it is a tragedy, when thousands die it’s statistics” (Stalin to Churchill ...

Apr 27 2012 | Read Full Review of Leningrad: The Epic Siege of ...

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