Saturday, November 7, 2015
Stalin's General: The Life of Georgy Zhukov by Geoffrey Roberts
Zhukov was a talented military commander whose career spanned the czarist army as an enlisted soldier until the Brezhnez era. The author covers the major World War II campaigns of the Red Army, but also explains many facets of Soviet actions that are not often examined in the west. For example, Zhukov's defeat of the Japanese on the Manuchurian border in 1939 may have influenced the Japanese to move into the Pacific (against the U.S.) rather than attack further west into Soviet territory. It also sheds some light on the mostly rational relationship between Stalin and his commanders, and why the Soviets did not (or could not) aid the Warsaw uprising in 1944. Zukhov was a proud and sometimes bombastic officer who ran afoul of both Stalin and Krushchev in the vindictive political atmosphere of the Soviet Union after the war, but managed to regain his prominence in the Soviet hierarchy in his final years. He is still regarded by many as the greatest overall general of World War II.