Stalin's General by Geoffrey Roberts


15 Critic Reviews

...very convincingly puts forth Georgy Zhukov, Stalin’s deputy supreme commander, as “the best all-around general of the Second World War.”
-Washington Times


Widely regarded as the most accomplished general of World War II, the Soviet military legend Marshal Georgy Zhukov at last gets the full-scale biographical treatment he has long deserved.
A man of indomitable will and fierce determination, Georgy Zhukov was the Soviet Union’s indispensable commander through every one of the critical turning points of World War II. It was Zhukov who saved Leningrad from capture by the Wehrmacht in September 1941, Zhukov who led the defense of Moscow in October 1941, Zhukov who spearheaded the Red Army’s march on Berlin and formally accepted Germany’s unconditional surrender in the spring of 1945. Drawing on the latest research from recently opened Soviet archives, including the uncensored versions of Zhukov’s own memoirs, Roberts offers a vivid portrait of a man whose tactical brilliance was matched only by the cold-blooded ruthlessness with which he pursued his battlefield objectives.
After the war, Zhukov was a key player on the geopolitical scene. As Khrushchev’s defense minister, he was one of the architects of Soviet military strategy during the Cold War. While lauded in the West as a folk hero—he was the only Soviet general ever to appear on the cover of Time magazine—Zhukov repeatedly ran afoul of the Communist political authorities. Wrongfully accused of disloyalty, he was twice banished and erased from his country’s official history—left out of books and paintings depicting Soviet World War II victories. Piercing the hyperbole of the Zhukov personality cult, Roberts debunks many of the myths that have sprung up around Zhukov’s life and career to deliver fresh insights into the marshal’s relationships with Stalin, Khrushchev, and Eisenhower.
A remarkably intimate portrait of a man whose life was lived behind an Iron Curtain of official secrecy, Stalin’s General is an authoritative biography that restores Zhukov to his rightful place in the twentieth-century military pantheon.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Geoffrey Roberts

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Geoffrey Roberts is the author of Stalin's Wars and Victory at Stalingrad. He is professor and head of the School of History at University College Cork, Ireland. Roberts is a frequent contributor to British, Irish, and American newspapers and to popular-history journals and has been a consultant for TV and radio documentaries.
Published June 5, 2012 by Random House. 409 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Stalin's General
All: 15 | Positive: 14 | Negative: 1


Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on May 01 2012

A welcome new biography of the ruthless Red Army general who defeated the Nazis and then spent decades alternately disgraced and rehabilitated in Soviet Russia.

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Reviewed by Ian Pindar on Jun 28 2013

...Geoffrey Roberts draws on newly available archival material and private papers to piece together Zhukov's remarkable story.

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WSJ online

Reviewed by Jennifer Siegel on Jun 24 2012

In "Stalin's General," Geoffrey Roberts joins the fight on Zhukov's behalf, although one feels that the war has already been won.

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Washington Times

Reviewed by Geoffrey Roberts on Jul 02 2012

...very convincingly puts forth Georgy Zhukov, Stalin’s deputy supreme commander, as “the best all-around general of the Second World War.”

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The Washington Post

Reviewed by Jonathan Yardley on Jun 23 2012

...has written in “Stalin’s General” what is likely to stand for some time as the most comprehensive biography of Zhukov.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Reviewed by Stephen Randolph

This is a fine biography, wrapped well into the broader context of Zhukov’s war and the Soviet system he served so loyally.

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Open Letters Monthly

Below average
Reviewed by Quentin Brand on Sep 02 2012

However, it is marred by several errors, not of facts, but of judgment in the selection (or omission) and presentation of facts.

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Reviewed by DOUGLAS OSLER on Aug 25 2012

This is the first biography to establish beyond doubt what has long been hinted at by historians – that Zhukov was the most successful and influential of the Second World War generals.

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Irish Times

Reviewed by Séamus Martin on Aug 04 2012

The result is the most comprehensive biography of Zhukov in English, which chronicles not only the marshal’s well-known military feats but also, and very importantly, the military and political intrigues...

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Foreign Affairs

Reviewed by Robert Legvold

But even more remarkable was Zhukov’s ability to survive in the Soviet system, a tale well told in this compact biography.

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Herald Scotland

Reviewed by Hugh Macdonald on Aug 17 2012

Roberts has produced a biography that testifies to a substantial body of work, but the heart and soul of Zhukov remain elusive.

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The Weekly Standard

Reviewed by ANDREW NAGORSKI on Jul 16 2012

Yet in this meticulously researched new biography, Roberts also points out that Zhukov was “a deeply flawed character of epic achievements .  .  . neither the unblemished hero of legend nor the unmitigated villain depicted by his detractors.”

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Reviewed by Susan H. Gordon on Jun 18 2012

In broad, clear language aimed at history fans of all stripes, he fills pages with detailed information on the military and political aspects of the Red Army...

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History Today

Reviewed by Paul Dukes on Oct 15 2012

Geoffrey Roberts judiciously picks his way through the thicket of controversy, while drawing a distinctive portrait of the successive stages of a glittering career in which his hero preferred the battlefield to the desk...

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Kunikovs Reviews.

Reviewed by T. KUNIKOV on Jun 20 2012

...for those interested in the Soviet Union, the Eastern Front, Zhukov, and the postwar battle(s) around the history(ies) of the war, this is a highly recommended book.

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