To retell the epic of Stalingrad is to enter a tough competition and invite many comparisons. Craig's narrative falls into that military genre which charges each moment with dramatic significance; he follows foot soldiers, doctors, quartermasters, generals, snipers and sappers on both sides through the terrible five-month battle in which half a million combatants and countless civilians died. Craig's extensive research and fresh interviews of surviving fighters and others authenticates the immediate, intimate circumstances of the battle; but a much earlier book, Plievier's Stalingrad (1948), carries the same conviction with even greater impact, at least with reference to the German foot soldier, while Chuikiv's The Battle for Stalingrad (1964) from the Soviet vantage point, as well as Schroter's Stalingrad (1958) from the point of view of the German military, give a fully adequate picture of the battle formations. The clashes at the railroad station, grain elevator, nail factory, department store, tractor works, ""Pavlov's house,"" and the triumph of the Russian sniper Zaitzev and his lover Tania over the German sharpshooter Konigs have been recorded over and over. Craig adds to already existing accounts some grisly material on the puppet Italian army and the fate of its POW's, but nothing of special consequence. In short: a fine history of the battle among many previous fine histories.