View Full Version : Thinking of writing a novel on the Eastern Front (WW2) - recommended reading?

21 Jul 10,, 12:55
The title says it all, I basically plan to write a novel chronicling the life of a Soviet infantryman in either the siege of Leningrad or Stalingrad, but I'm leaning towards the former due to the fact that Stalingrad is synonymous with the Eastern Front, as opposed to Leningrad, which was often overlooked, even though the siege lasted for over 800 days.

I don't want to write a novel glorifying either side, and it is merely my attempt to pay homage to the nameless Soviet soldier that won world war 2, I feel that too little people know about the sacrifice of these men.

I'd like to get advice from seasoned readers on the forums as to what books I should read as background information - non-fiction, fiction and biographies that have been particularly interesting, informative or moving.

I.e I'd like to know a bit about Zhukov, Timoshenko, Vatutin, and right down to personal levels on both sides, as I intend to also provide a German perspective.

Thank you in advance,


22 Jul 10,, 22:14
Yeah,Lone-Kommie.The name says it all:biggrin:.Try ''Blood on the shores'',by Viktor Leonov who writes about Soviet Marines.Or Dmitri Loza-''Commanding Red Army's Sherman tanks''.Both were low on the food chain.If you'll write something about Stalingrad I might find and translate more from Romanian to English,if you decide to write about the whole battle,not only about the battle in the city itself.
The Soviet Marshals and Generals memoirs should be available in libraries or online.They are a starting point about the guys in question.

24 Jul 10,, 09:41
Haha thank you Mihais.

But no, I am not a communist anymore.. not after I read a bit more history and uncovered atrocities like the Great Leap Forward, Stalins purges, and the fall-out from his and Lenins rapid industrialization. Such deaths should never be acceptable on that level, regardless of political belief.

I will read the books you recommended, thank you.

I intend not only to write about the battle, but a biography of this imaginary soldier following him into Berlin and after the war as he struggles to find his place in society. So I do not mind reading non-fiction about the Eastern Front, as I can then accurately portray the facts and figures, whilst at the same time providing a story which will hopefully move people.

24 Jul 10,, 10:27
Well,some humans manage to better themselves:biggrin:

Those I recommended were memoirs of Soviet soldiers.If you have acces to Russian literature I also recommend ''The War'' by Ivan Stadniuk.Catherine Merridale's ''Ivan's war-life and death in the Red Army'' is in my view the best about Soviet soldiers' experience of the war.
German soldiers memoirs are plenty.Johan Voss' ''Black Edelweiss'' and Siegfried Knappe's ''Reflections of a German soldier'' are my latest.That's if you like to have a paralel view.