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.
About Geoffrey Roberts
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.
Roberts (History/University College Cork; Stalin’s Wars, 2007, etc.) relies less on his subject’s self-glorifying memoirs and more on newly available archival material in Russia. Zhukov’s relationship with Stalin emerges as a key, fascinating aspect to the story, as Zhukov, a rising cavalry commander in the rapidly modernizing Red Army, managed to escape being a victim of the army purges of 1937-38 and was then appointed on his first important mission for Stalin: to “conduct a purge” of the Japanese from the Mongolian-Manchurian border in 1939. The victory at Khalkhin-Gol was the Red Army’s first real triumph, deflecting the Japanese from Russia and establishing Zhukov as a brilliant offensive field commander who kept his cool under fire and was not averse to administering draconian discipline to his own men. Stalin had neglected defensive preparation of the Motherland in favor of the counterattack, and he summoned Zhukov after the disastrous response to Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa. From victory at Yel’nya to saving Leningrad and Moscow (“no surrender and no retreat; counterattack wherever and whenever possible”) to Operation Bagration in Belorussia, Zhukov spared no number of Russia soldiers in his path to victory. Roberts spends a good deal of space on Zhukov’s mysterious postwar dismissal to the provinces, due no doubt to his overweening confidence and “Bonapartist” self-aggrandizement, which grated on Stalin. He resurfaced supremely under Khrushchev and died a fitting hero in 1974. – Kirkus Reviews
“Stalin’s General: The Life of Georgy Zhukov” by Geoffrey Roberts
The Washington Post Book Review – June 23, 2012 (Excerpt)
Georgy Zhukov certainly was, as Geoffrey Roberts puts it, “the great general who had saved the Soviet Union from catastrophic defeat by Hitler and then led the country to a great victory,” but the men in whose service he labored had a strange way of expressing their appreciation. First Joseph Stalin in the immediate postwar years and then Nikita Khrushchev in the 1950s subjected him to ridicule and disgrace on wholly specious grounds, removing him from power and humiliating him. In both instances he was rehabilitated and restored to something approximating the stature that was his due, but while the treatment he received may have been explicable by the insane standards of the Kremlin, it was wholly inexplicable by any others.
Among the Russian people, though, veneration for Zhukov seems never to have wavered and indeed has grown ever more intense over the years. In the United States we tend, understandably, to regard the leading American generals — Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley — as the great heroes of the European theater, but it was Zhukov who faced the most daunting challenges and won the most crucial victories. Forces under his command turned back the German invaders at Leningrad, Moscow and Stalingrad, then won the decisive victory at Kursk, after which “there was no possibility of the Germans surviving the grinding war of attrition the Soviets had the power and the will to inflict on them.” [Read the full article...]
THE BLEEDING HILLS A Novel by Wilfried F. Voss
I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith. - 2 Timothy iv. 7
The Irish War is officially a part of history, but not for Finnean Whelan, an IRA veteran of almost 40 years. British Intelligence has produced evidence that he is the mastermind behind a conspiracy to assassinate the First Minister of Northern Ireland. For Whelan this is not only a mission of revenge, but marks the beginning of a journey into the past and the return to the one true love: Ireland. [More...]
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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