A Soviet operations commander reporting directly to Stalin during WW II, Shtemenko presents a long, detailed military and political account of a topic generally neglected in the West: the windup of the war in Eastern Europe. The General Staff's greatest worry, he writes, was its officers' preference for headlong, careless advances; the Soviet aim was to envelop the enemy and preserve major cities from German destruction. When coordinated action was achieved with local partisan forces, cities like Budapest and Prague were saved. On the defeated Warsaw Uprising in August 1944, Shtemenko offers the traditional Soviet view, but develops it in detail: the uprising was called by Britain through the exiled ""London Poles"" to embarrass the USSR, or worse, to draw the Red Army into a debacle when its extremely tired and overextended forces engaged a well-entrenched Nazi force. Shtemenko stresses that, as the advance through Eastern Europe continued, the front broadened enormously and supply problems multiplied; in late 1944 the war was far from over. During four months of Hungarian fighting alone, the Soviet army lost 140,000 men, haft the total US loss in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. Shtemenko defends Stalin's military decisions, ali in all, and offers a homey view of the Marshal planting watermelons in his dacha backyard. Since other writers have focused on the Warsaw events and the final ""race for Berlin"" from the US or British point of view, this is a worthwhile addition on a relatively unfamiliar area of the war.