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The siege of Leningrad has long been known as one of the great tests of human courage in World War II. It has also long been pointed to as a prime example of the Russian people's will to fight for their Communist government through incredible hardships---hardships which in this case cost the city one million lives! Histories of the fight are scarce however, and with the appearance of this extremely important document we have material sufficient to change certain judgments about the Leningrad fight. The book starts with a brief history of the city, then shows the hysteria and general confusion brought about by the Nazi attack in the summer of 1941. Spy scares, food shortages, shelling by German guns, rationing, then the slow starvation of the great city, follow in rapid order. It develops (as it did in many other parts of western Russia) that some of the people actually welcomed the idea of Nazi occupation rather than continue the hardships of the fight, or the repressive measures of the Communist Party. When stories of German atrocities reached the Leningraders however, resistance stiffened. Out of fear more than patriotism, it would appear, the fight went on until January of 1944 when the Germans withdrew. The book is specific about the hardships of the people, if not about many of the political factors behind the scenes. Perhaps nowhere in current reading can we find such agonizingly accurate descriptions of starvation, overwork, and constant fear. Diaries, letters, and personal accounts by the people themselves lend even greater authenticity. An important, perhaps even a major contribution to current.

Publisher: Stanford Univ. Press