When the Germans invaded Russia in 1941, Vasily Grossman became a special correspondent for the Red Star, the Soviet Army's newspaper, and reported from the frontlines of the war. A Writer at War depicts in vivid detail the crushing conditions on the Eastern Front, and the lives and deaths of soldiers and civilians alike. Witnessing some of the most savage fighting of the war, Grossman saw firsthand the repeated early defeats of the Red Army, the brutal street fighting in Stalingrad, the Battle of Kursk (the largest tank engagement in history), the defense of Moscow, the battles in Ukraine, the atrocities at Treblinka, and much more.
Antony Beevor and Luba Vinogradova have taken Grossman's raw notebooks, and fashioned them into a gripping narrative providing one of the most even-handed descriptions at once unflinching and sensitive we have ever had of what Grossman called “the ruthless truth of war.”
Much of the material that filled Grossman's notebooks never made it into print, because it was either politically sensitive or, in the view of the censors, too disturbing for Soviet citizens to read. In A Writer at War, the British historian Antony Beevor and his research assistant, Luba Vingradova, have mined this rich seam of gold, translating and editing generous excerpts from the notebooks (made available by Grossman's descendants) and stitching together a coherent narrative from Grossman's completed articles, his letters and the memoirs of contemporaries, notably his editor at Krasnaya Zvezda. The result is a first-rate volume of war reporting that belongs with the best work of writers like Ernie Pyle, A. J. Liebling and John Hersey.