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Edited and translated from the Russian by Antony Beevor and Luba Vinogradova A Writer at War is a masterpiece of the Second World War, never before published in English, from one of the great Russian writers of the 20th century—a vivid eyewitness account of the Eastern Front and “the ruthless truth of war.”
When the Germans invaded Russia in 1941, Vasily Grossman became a special correspondent for the Red Star, the Red Army’s newspaper. A Writer at War—based on the notebooks in which Grossman gathered raw material for his articles—depicts the crushing conditions on the Eastern Front, and the lives and deaths of soldiers and civilians alike. It also includes some of the earliest reportage on the Holocaust. In the three years he spent on assignment, Grossman witnessed some of the most savage fighting of the war: the appalling defeats of the Red Army, the brutal street fighting in Stalingrad, the Battle of Kursk (the largest tank engagement in history), the defense of Moscow, the battles in Ukraine and much more.
Historian Antony Beevor has taken Grossman’s raw notebooks, and fashioned them into a narrative providing one of the most even-handed descriptions—at once unflinching and sensitive—we have ever had of what he called “the ruthless truth of war.”
“A remarkable addition to the literature of 1941-45. . .a wonderful portrait of the wartime experience of Russia, whose people the author loved so much and felt for so deeply. . . Beevor and Vinogradova’s collection of his writings forms a worthy memorial to a remarkable man.” —Max Hastings, The Sunday Telegraph
“No other journalist wrote with the same regard for what Grossman called ‘the ruthless truth of war’. . .A Writer at War is impeccably edited, the commentary as informative as it is unobtrusive.” —Robert Chandler, Financial Times
“This book is the first attempt, sanctioned by Grossman’s family, to turn the bulk [of his writing] into print. . . the material assembled here, so colorful and sharp, helps us to understand both the writer and the war he was attempting to describe. . . In bringing his notebooks to a wider audience, and in reminding us about this brilliant witness, Beevor and Vinogradova have done their readers—and Grossman’s memory—a great service.” —Catherine Merridale, The Independent
“Vasily Grossman’s notebooks. . . have now been edited and translated into English by the two persons most qualified to do so.” —Donald Rayfield, Literary Review