1942, at the Eastern Front. Soldiers crouch in horrible holes in the ground, mingling with corpses. Tunneled beneath a radio mast, German soldiers await the order to blow themselves up. Russian tanks, struggling to break through enemy lines, bog down in a swamp, while a German runner, bearing messages from headquarters to the front, scrambles desperately from shelter to shelter as he tries to avoid getting caught in the action. Through it all, Russian artillery—the crude but devastatingly effective multiple rocket launcher known to the Germans as the Stalin Organ and to the Russians as Katyusha—rains death upon the struggling troops.
Comparable to such masterpieces of war literature as Ernst Jünger’s Storm of Steel and Erich Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, The Stalin Front is a harrowing, almost photographic, description of violence and devastation, one that brings home the unforgiving reality of total war.
The brutality and mindlessness of battle could hardly be more trenchantly depicted than in this account of the most ferocious warfare of all time… Hofmann provides a sterling translation as well as an insightful overview that puts the work in context. This book belongs on every shelf that hosts Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front.
— Library Journal
…a shattering novel of Germany’s war against Russia. For stripping war of any glamour and exposing the sheer physical horror of modern conflict it deserves to stand next to Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front.
— David Cesarani, Evening Standard Books of the Year
Ledig’s constant shifting of narrative, and his ability to capture the essence of chaos within a deceptively tight framework, make his 1955 novel an important contribution to war literature.
…Slender but powerful account of the brutal fighting outside Leningrad in the summer of 1942…Ledig’s style is straightforward and unremarkable, but his shockingly modern view of war is anything but.
— Publisher’s Weekly