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  • The Reckoning

  • The Defeat of Army Group South, 1944
  • Written by: Prit Buttar
  • Narrated by: Richard Trinder
  • Length: 20 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Russia
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Bloomsbury presents The Reckoning by Prit Buttar, read by Richard Trinder.

By the end of 1944 the Red Army was poised on the very frontiers of the Third Reich. How had the once unstoppable, mighty Wehrmacht faltered so disastrously? Certainly it had suffered defeats before, in particular the vast catastrophe of Stalingrad, but it was in 1944 that the war was ultimately lost. It was no longer a case of if but rather when the Red Army would be at the gates of Berlin.

Prit Buttar retraces the ebb and flow of the various battles and campaigns fought throughout the Ukraine and Romania in 1944. January and February saw Army Group South encircled in the Korsun Pocket. Although many of the encircled troops did escape, in part due to Soviet intelligence and command failures, the Red Army would endeavour to not make the same mistakes again. Indeed, in the coming months the Red Army would demonstrate an ability to learn and improve, reinventing itself as a war-winning machine, demonstrated clearly in its success in the Iasi-Kishinev operation. 

The view of the Red Army as a huge, unskilled horde that rolled over everything in its path is just one myth that The Reckoning reassess. So too does it re-evaluate the apparent infallibility of German military commanders, the denial of any involvement in (or often even knowledge of) the heinous crimes committed in the occupied territories by German forces and the ineffectiveness of Axis allies, such as the Romanians at Iasi, to withstand the Soviet forces. Like all myths, these contain many truths, but also a great many distortions, all of which are skilfully unpicked and analysed in this powerful retelling of 1944 on the Eastern Front.

©2020 Prit Buttar (P)2020 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

What the critics say

"The Reckoning reinforces Prit Buttar's standing as a leading authority on modern warfare in Eastern Europe. If you find the scale and complexity of the Eastern Front battles daunting, pick up a copy, relax and let Prit Buttar lead the way...totally absorbing narrative." (Mike Peters, chairman, International Guild of Battlefield Guides)

"The panorama of the WWII Eastern Front is so huge, it's often difficult to comprehend. Dr Prit Buttar has nailed it through his judicious blend of the strategic and tactical - commanders’ debates and soldiers’ experiences. At times this is Sven Hassell brought vividly to life. The Reckoning is well-balanced throughout, fair to both sides, employing the widest range of Russian and German sources I've ever seen. Long overdue, I am sure it will replace all previous accounts of Army Group South." (Peter Caddick-Adams, author and broadcaster)

What listeners say about The Reckoning

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    5 out of 5 stars

The collapse of the southern Eastern Front

For a British GP, Prit Buttar is perhaps one of the best storyteller-historian with a very easy listening narrative of a very complicated description of the collapsing German army in Ukraine as the Nazi's finally ran out of steam. It is a nice balance of recollections among front soldiers and Generals on both the German and Soviet sides. If you want a good understanding the most important portions of WWII, you need to understand the German-Soviet war that accounted for 75% of all casualties and material of the entire theatres of war. Prit Buttar has a flow to his words that makes the entire story engaging. His other books look inviting and will try to hear another.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2021-04-25

Exceptional

As always, Buttar is extremely informative and descriptive. Leaving no details to obscurity, he brilliantly outlines what is possibly the most important defeat for the Germans in ww2. Bravo.

4 people found this helpful

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  • A R K
  • 2021-05-28

Pro-Soviet Revisionism

In the first chapter the author states his intention to "correct" established historical narratives about the Eastern Front. From then on he gleefully describes the Red Army heroically slaughtering their way across Eastern Europe, while wholesale ignoring their crimes against humanity, and portraying Nazis as mustache twirling cartoons.

The author's emotional involvement in the material, lack of objectivity, and opposition to established history slather the pages with the black (or red) mark of postmodern revisionism.

I wouldn't recommend this book to people interested in objective history but if you want to read about the glorious Red Army liberating Europe you may enjoy it.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Yuki Taga
  • 2021-08-02

No maps!

I'd heard that the maps in the book are a bit of a disappointment because they are in very small scale, but I would expect a .pdf download or something, so I could SEE them and decide for myself.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Hector Ivan Godoy
  • 2021-07-18

Engaging narrative, solid history.

A good history of the late Eastern Front, and some of the fictions that built up around the 'mythic' strength of Germany during the Second World War. The book includes plenty of primary resources, but does well at not taking them at face value. The author takes the time to apply the rigors of good historicity to the sources to divide what can be verified as true, and what was a more convenient narrative for the author of the primary resource. Soviet generals certainly had reason to mask failures in their dangerous, hyper-competitive system, and German generals were trying to shift blame for their actions and defeats during the war. It is in some ways a controversial piece for those who are married to older histories of how the Eastern Front was fought, but the book makes a thesis and defends it well. Overall, a good general history of the defeat of Army Group South.

1 person found this helpful