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Book and Film Reviews

The Combat History of the 2nd Guard's Tank Army from Lublin to Berlin Volume 2: July 1944-May 1945 by Igor Nebolsin, Translated and Edited by Stuart Britton, Helion & Company Ltd., 2016, 552 pages, $89.95
Reviewed by
Steve Mercatante
on Dec 22 2016 - 11:19pm
I previously reviewed and endorsed Volume One of Igor Nebolsin's two-volume set entitled Stalin's Favorite. Here, I shall examine what Volume Two has to offer (subtitled "From Lublin to Berlin, July 1944-May 1945). Like Volume One, Volume Two offers Second World War armored enthusiasts a treasure trove of information about one of the Red Army's top combat armies and the mechanics of tank warfare in general. Continuining where he left off Nebolsin takes the combat history of the 2nd Guards Tank...
Review Type: Book
The Red Army's Forgotten 15-Month Campaign Against Army Group Center 1942-1943 by Svetlana Gerasimova, Translated and Edited by Stuart Britton, Helion & Company Ltd., 2013, 280 pages, $59.95
Reviewed by
Steve Mercatante
on Sep 19 2016 - 8:09pm
The Battle of Rzhev was a fifteen-month campaign that took place during World War II. During these battles the Red Army sought to not only evict German forces from a central position not far outside of Moscow, but also eliminate the bulk of Army Group Center. These battles formed a campaign so colossal that in a number of metrics outdid the fighting at Stalingrad. However, there is much controversy surrounding the Rzhev battles. As such, Svetlana Gerasimova's The Rzhev Slaughterhouse seeks to...
Review Type: Book
The Combat History of the 2nd Guard's Tank Army from Kursk to Berlin Volume 1: January 1943-June 1944 by Igor Nebolsin, Translated and Edited by Stuart Britton, Helion & Company Ltd., 2015, 504 pages, $79.95
Reviewed by
Steve Mercatante
on Mar 26 2016 - 7:55pm
Igor Nebolsin's Stalin's Favorite offers Second World War armored enthusiasts a treasure trove of information about one of the Red Army's top combat armies. One would be hard pressed to find an English language translation of a Soviet army's combat history, and in doing so here the team of Nebolsin and Britton have performed an invaluable service. As the mouthful of a sub-title indicates this is the first of a two part look at the 2nd Guards Tank Army (hereinafter referred to in this review as...
Review Type: Book
The Red Army's Gentleman Commander by Dr. Boris Sokolov, Translated by Stuart Britton, Helion & Company Ltd., 2015, 493 pages, $79.95
Reviewed by
Steve Mercatante
on Dec 30 2015 - 6:22pm
Dr. Boris Sokolov's Marshal K.K. Rokossovsky offers a unique look at not only the life of one of the Red Army's top Second World War era senior officers, but also interesting insight into a Red Army at war. Detailed English language treatments of the Red Army's personnel are rare. For this reason alone this book is an important one for any student of the Second World War. And minus a few oversights the author does a credible job of providing a detailed study of Marshal Rokossovsky. Sokolov's...
Review Type: Book
German Operations West of Kiev 24 December 1943-31 January 1944 Volume's 1 and 2, by Stephen Baratt, Helion & Company Ltd, 2014, Hardcover, $61.69 (per volume with each volume including accompanying map book), each volume approximately 300 pages (with accompanying map books another 400 plus pages in total)
Reviewed by
Steve Mercatante
on Jun 28 2015 - 2:07pm
Stephen Barratt's two-volume set Zhitomir-Berdichev (sold separately) should go down as the definitive look from the German side of the hill at the critically important combat operations on Army Group South's left flank during the lead up to the far more famous Battle of the Korsun Pocket.  Well-researched, these books are an excellent starting point for understanding how and why the German 4th and 1st Panzerarmy's were unable to stop Soviet General Nikolai Vatutin's 1st Ukrainian Front from...
Review Type: Book
The Struggle for Hungary, Autumn 1944 by Kamen Nevenkin, The History Press, 2013, Softcover, 288 pages
Reviewed by
Steve Mercatante
on Dec 20 2014 - 2:34pm
Piggybacking upon my recent review of Tomb of the Panzerwaffe is another well done work covering the tank heavy battles in Hungary that occurred in the final year of the Second World War. In this case Kamen Nevenkin’s Take Budapest ably documents the first Soviet drive on Budapest during the fall of 1944, and in that process provides a firm foundation for those interested in this particular aspect of the Second World War. The first four of the book’s eleven chapters detail the political,...
Review Type: Book
The Combat History of SS-Panzer Regiment 12 and SS-Panzerjager Abteilung 12 Normandy 1944 Based on Their Original War Diaries, by Norbert Szamveber, Helion Books, 2012, Hardcover, $47.94, 304 pages.
Reviewed by
Steve Mercatante
on Oct 14 2014 - 9:56pm
Norbert Szamveber’s Waffen-SS Armour in Normandy covers the combat history of the SS-Panzer Regiment 12 and SS-Panzerjager Abteilung 12 during the Second World War’s Battle for Normandy France; which lasted from June 6 to just about the end of August 1944.  These two units served as the armored core of the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend; a unit noted for both is ferocious fighting skill and at times criminal disregard for the laws of war.  Waffen-SS Armour in Normandy is organized around...
Review Type: Book
The Defeat of the Sixth SS Panzer Army in Hungary 1945, by Aleksei Isaev and Maksim Kolomiets, Helion Books, 2014, Hardcover, $46.44, 184 pages.
Reviewed by
Steve Mercatante
on Oct 3 2014 - 2:59pm
Aleksei Isaev and Maksim Kolomiet’s Tomb of the Panzerwaffe delivers an engaging operational history of the significant battles that took place near Hungary’s Lake Balaton from January to early March of 1945. In addition it also provides readers with several points of value not normally found in Second World War Eastern Front operational histories.  For these reasons as well as those that follow I believe even well informed readers will enjoy this fast moving but information packed book. Tomb...
Review Type: Book
World War II And The Battle For Food, by Lizzie Collingham, Penguin Books, 2013, Softcover, $22.00, 634 Pages
Reviewed by
Steve Mercatante
on Mar 24 2014 - 10:26pm
When it comes to the Second World War I have read countless books, prowled through any number of libraries and archives, and spent more time with my nose in primary sources or journal articles than I probably care to remember. Accordingly, to read Lizzie Collingham's book The Taste of War and have more than one eye-opening experience of revelation and wonder is quite a remarkable experience. But that is exactly what The Taste of War has done in terms of providing even the well-read with not...
Review Type: Book
Hitler's Battle for Supremacy in the East, by David Stahel, Cambridge University Press, 2012, Hardcover, $35.00, 486 pages
Reviewed by
Steve Mercatante
on Apr 24 2013 - 11:59pm
Reviewed by Steven D. Mercatante* David Stahel's Kiev 1941 follows his 2009 work Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East as the second book in a trilogy ostensibly taking a fresh look at the 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union. Had Stahel conducted a comprehensive analysis of the military operations near Kiev during the summer of 1941 this reviewer would have much to recommend. Regrettably however Stahel's Kiev 1941, much as its predecessor, all too often rehashes stale Cold...
Review Type: Book

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