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Enemy At The Gate Book Review

1248 words - 5 pages

Enemy at the GatesWilliam Craig's book Enemy at the Gates Tells the gripping tale of one of the bloodiest battles every waged and a pivotal point in the Second World War. Being somewhat of a war buff I was intrigued to read this book, I had little or no knowledge of the battle of Stalingrad or the events that took place there during the 900 day siege. I am happy that William Craig took over five years in researching this insightful and provocative narrative.As you begin to read this book you are struck by the number of different styles of writing. At times the work reads as if it is merely a text book recounting events as they happened in a sterile and listless manner, but at other points the book dives into personal accounts of the events of the battle and the human experience of living through such events. This form of narrative I found both frustrating and confusing at times, but at other time interesting and emotional. However this led me to feel as if I was listening to a person with Attention Deficit Disorder tell a story, that keeps going on little side tangents every few minutes. Ironically enough it is the side stories that are more compelling then the majority of the text. It is in these side stories that we get the truest accounts and better sense of what it was really like to be in Stalingrad during the siege. One such example of this is the story about young Natasha Kornilov and her mother. As their house is invaded and their possessions taken away from them right in front of their faces you are able to feel the fear that these people must have been going through. Later after they put the sign on the door that the house is plague-ridden and Natasha must drag her own mother out of their own burning house after the German army medical team set the house on fire. One can not help but feel the emotion that these people must have felt during that time.The majority of the text is overly complex, with troop movements and numbers of troops as the prime topic. This I found difficult to make sense of with out always referring back to the map in chapter four. I believe that the text could be simplified a great deal if more maps were put into the book which more accurately diagram these movements. However the book forces us to deal with a small un-detailed map which we struggle to comprehend any meaning from. This is not to say that the book is not well written in any respect, rather that the parts of the book I most enjoyed were the first hand accounts of the people who lived thought the siege. The author however I feel wanted a different type of book, I'm sure that there are many books that are written as first hand accounts of the siege and do not cover as much of the battle but rather focus on the human elements. I think that William Craig's intentions of the book are not as clear as he had hoped to make them, and if he wanted to write only an overview of the battle he would have been better off leaving out the side stories.William Craig...

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