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  • Views on Glantz's new book 'Colossus Reborn'

    Has anyone bought David Glantz's new book Colossus Reborn: The Red Army At War? It looks pretty promising, but I'd like to get a readers opinion on it before I hand over the $50 Australian it's going to cost me to import the book via amazon.com. If you haven't read the book but have spotted a review of it elsewhere I'd love to see that as well.
    Last edited by Case; 19 Mar 05, 04:38.
    Owner and operator, Armed Forces of the Asia Pacific
    Forum administrator, www.orbat.com
    Co-administrator, www.historic-battles.com

  • #2
    Originally posted by Case
    Has anyone bought David Glantz's new book Colossus Reborn: The Red Army At War? It looks pretty promising, but I'd like to get a readers opinion on it before I hand over the $50 Australian it's going to cost me to import the book via amazon.com. If you haven't read the book but have spotted a review of it elsewhere I'd love to see that as well.
    Glantz? Buy it!
    a brain cell

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    • #3
      Colossus Reborn

      Glantz? Buy it!
      Ditto.
      Stay Alert, Stay Alive!

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      • #4
        Despite not being able to track down a review, I've ordered the book and will report back on it when it arrives in a few weeks.
        Owner and operator, Armed Forces of the Asia Pacific
        Forum administrator, www.orbat.com
        Co-administrator, www.historic-battles.com

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        • #5
          I've never seen a bad review for this author.........
          Lance W.

          Peace through superior firepower.

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          • #6
            I just got the book. After skimming though it, I can say that it's an incredibly detailed summary of the development of the Soviet Army from 1941 to 1943. Judging by the 100-page notes section, it is based almost entirely on open-source materials. I saw VERY few references to actual archival material. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but there is a claim on the dust cover that "Colossus Reborn is marked by Glantz's unrivaled access to and use of Soviet archival sources..." which is publisher's hyperbole plain and simple. Glantz has an incredible mastery of the OPEN source Soviet material, some of it hard to get I grant, but the book has very little in it which is from actual documents in the Central Archives of the Ministry of Defense.

            Another thing - it could use some editing. I realize that we're talking about the U of Kansas, not a major commercial book publisher, but a bit more time could have been spend on editing. Nevertheless, the book is outstanding.
            Last edited by Kardon; 07 Apr 05, 21:36. Reason: mistake
            "If you have too firm a belief in the glories of soldiering, try a war."

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            • #7
              I am generally careful with writings made by Glantz alone. For all his merits as a researcher he is not a good writer, IMHO, having a repetitive style distorting read flow and obfuscating important details.

              His more popular works like the Battle of Kursk are done with a co-writer and are a much smoother read.

              This one is part of his selection of hardcore studies and it probably reads like stomping through half-molten rubber.

              I find his non-cowriter style OK when the books is mostly concerned with numbers, tables and descriptions of static organizations, e.g. with the Kharkov 42 book. Explanations of complex interactions of things are probably challenging to absorb.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Redwolf
                I am generally careful with writings made by Glantz alone. For all his merits as a researcher he is not a good writer, IMHO, having a repetitive style distorting read flow and obfuscating important details.

                His more popular works like the Battle of Kursk are done with a co-writer and are a much smoother read.

                This one is part of his selection of hardcore studies and it probably reads like stomping through half-molten rubber.

                I find his non-cowriter style OK when the books is mostly concerned with numbers, tables and descriptions of static organizations, e.g. with the Kharkov 42 book. Explanations of complex interactions of things are probably challenging to absorb.
                Well, it is very hard to be precise and the same time readable. (Anyway, for me his style is very smooth compared to the daily reports I read usually about the battles .)
                His daily maps really help to understand the movements.
                a brain cell

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                • #9
                  I mentioned earlier that I'd post my thoughts on this book when my copy arrived from the US. The book arrived last week, and I've had time to skim it, but not yet read it.

                  In short, I'm extremely impressed with the book, and consider it to have been well worth the price. The book is, in essence, a detailed primer on the Red Army, and focuses on how it was lead, how it was organised and how it was equipped and supplied.

                  It's main features are:
                  • A succinct (30 pages) but informative history of the War between 22 June 1941 and the Battle of Kursk;
                  • Lots of details about the organisation, training and general capabilities of all the classes of Soviet ground and air units (from Armoured Corps right down to railroad repair brigades, Penal Battalions and NKVD border regiments);
                  • A detailed description of the Red Army's command structure;
                  • A social history of the Red Army's officers and men; and
                  • many detailed orders of battle and tables showing the actual equipment for units at various points in time (with no less than 6 complete OOBs of the Red Army at various points in time to be published in the forthcoming companion volume)


                  The only downside to the book is that Glantz's writing style can, at times, be cumbersome and should have recieved a little more editing to remove some confusing and unnecessary passages.

                  All up, I'd strongly recommend this book to anyone with a serious interest in the Eastern Front. The book is also an excelent reference for war gamers.
                  Owner and operator, Armed Forces of the Asia Pacific
                  Forum administrator, www.orbat.com
                  Co-administrator, www.historic-battles.com

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                  • #10
                    Thanks, Case.

                    Do you have Zaloga's "Red Army 1939-1945" and can you compare the two?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Redwolf
                      Thanks, Case.

                      Do you have Zaloga's "Red Army 1939-1945" and can you compare the two?
                      I'm afraid not.
                      Owner and operator, Armed Forces of the Asia Pacific
                      Forum administrator, www.orbat.com
                      Co-administrator, www.historic-battles.com

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                      • #12
                        Well, I got it, thanks to the 25% coupon borders was throwing around.

                        I think it is awesome.

                        The writing is much better than in the suboptimal Glantz works, it has a very clear speration of items discussed and you seem to be able to absorb whatever you like independently.

                        He resues his maps that were in other books before. They are good maps for medium-format B/W books, but in all honesty for anyone his Atlas of the Eastern Front should be required buying (I think it's only 2 bucks mailed).

                        Useless photos but that's really not the point of the book.

                        I might actually absorb major parts of it page by page.

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                        • #13
                          Glantz

                          You made an excellent choice. Granted Glantz's works can be as dry as a popcorn fart, but his work has been ground-breaking. Colossus Reborn is no different. It is a great reference for sources, and he has identified tons (well, maybe 100's of pounds) of archival material particularly in the the Red Army General Staff's collections of war experience studies(which alone take two file cabinet drawers).

                          Unlike military historians of the American Civil War, one researching and writing on the eastern front must deal with two foreign languages. Each of Glantz's books reveals his latest forays and discoveries in Soviet archival material.
                          Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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