Kirkus Star


Email this review


If you have any customers who have been waiting for the one book of the season on Russia which will come closest to doing all that could be asked (of one book), this is their meat. Larry Lesueur made a name for himself with his broadcasts from Russia (you realize under what difficulties they were given as you read this book); many people who do not follow syndicated stories and news reports in the press, do listen to the international hook-up. The year he records in this book began with October when Moscow seemed about to fall; and carries through the miraculous saving of Stalingrad. That year encompassed the amazing halt and subsequent retreat of the German forces from the very gates of Moscow; it includes the offensive of the Russian Fall and Winter; it records the fall of Rostov, of Sevastopol; it ends on the triumph of a second miracle at Stalingrad, and the saving of the Caucasus oil fields. Lesueur left for Archangel from a Scottish port, by the northernmost route, before Germany saw the necessity of sinking the supplies which might well soon be their own; but when he left, he he flew back. He spent that year shuttling back and forth from Kuibyshev to Moscow; he took successive authorized trips to recently repossessed fronts, to industrial centers, to collective farms. He gives an intimate picture of how people are living, of the looks of the streets, of the food problems, the clothes, the moving pictures, the music and the ballet; he reflects the changing mood, never one of defeat, but one of intense exhiliration at times, of serious determination always; he indicates a gradually changing attitude towards foreigners, from suspicion and fear to friendliness. The demand for the second front, the inside interpretation of the Churchill visit, the sloofness -- at first -- towards Wendell Willkie, the reception of the news of the Dieppe raid, of the North African landing, etc. There is, actually, little that has not been told by Graebner and Browne and Hindus -- collectively -- but I think he covers more ground, individually, than any of them, and he writes supremely well, with color and vigor and pace. I liked it.

Pub Date: July 26th, 1943
Publisher: Knopf