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Eastern Front 1914-1917 de Norman Stone
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Eastern Front 1914-1917 (1975 original; edició 2004)

de Norman Stone

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1896109,161 (3.73)9
Norman Stone's groundbreaking book was the very first authoritative account of the Russian Front in the First World War to be published in the West. In this now-classic history he dispels the myths surrounding a still relatively little-known aspect of the war, showing bow inefficiency rather than economic shortage led to Russia's desperate privations and eventual retreat. He also reinterprets the connection between the war and the chaos that followed, arguing that although fighting had almost ceased by the end o f 1916, Russia was still in turmoil - undergoing a period of change that would inexorably lead towards revolution.… (més)
Membre:leifurh
Títol:Eastern Front 1914-1917
Autors:Norman Stone
Informació:Penguin Global (2004), Edition: 2Rev Ed, Paperback, 352 pages
Col·leccions:Military History, La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:Military History

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The Eastern Front, 1914-1917 de Norman Stone (1975)

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You could argue that the WWI Russian front set up the remaining history of the 20th century. The early assault on East Prussia, although eventually disastrous for the Russians, may have slowed down the Germans just enough to keep them out of Paris, the eventual failure of the Brusilov Offensive contributed heavily to the Revolution, and the development of the munitions industry during the war dropped a fairly well developed industrial base into Stalin’s lap.


Norman Stone’s The Eastern Front 1914-1917 covers this interesting period very well. All the military campaigns – invasion of East Prussia and the German riposte; campaigns in Galacia, Brusilov offensive and Romanian intervention – are all well described, but the real strength of the book is the detailed analysis of politics, infrastructure and economics. Soviet histories tend to exaggerate the deficiencies of Tsarist Russia in order to provide contrast with the glories of Communism; however, Stone makes it clear that there’s not that much exaggeration. Tsarist politics produced a surplus of antiquated generals who hated each other and were seemingly more interested in seeing their counterparts defeated than the enemy; the historical pre-eminence of Russia artillery had distorted into an emphasis on permanent fortresses, which were obsolete by WWI but which still absorbed the lion’s share of Russian artillery and shell production (fortress commanders went to the length of hiding munitions stocks, lest they be transferred to infantry units that would “waste” them); Russian traditional secrecy made it difficult to have weapons manufactured overseas – blueprints were supplied grudgingly, were in Cyrillic, and had Russian measurement units; and communications were primitive even by 1914 standards. The entire Russian army had fewer than 40 radios, insufficient technicians to use them, and no cryptographers; there were some automobiles, motorcycles and airplanes but they were usually broken down and underutilized when they worked; thus, Russian commanders either had to move around on horseback or broadcast in the clear to communicate with their troops. The Russians had shot themselves in the foot in western Poland, where roads, rail and telegraph lines had been deliberately kept undeveloped to act as an obstacle to an invading army; this probably would have worked if the Russians were on the defensive (after all, that’s more or less what happened in 1941) but was of no use at all when they were trying to invade East Prussia or Galacia.


If they had been given the time, the Tsarist Russian might have been able to pull it off. By 1916, factories were producing munitions on the same scale as the Western allies and General Brusilov had put together an offensive strategy that prefigured some of the German 1918 stormtrooper tactics and which almost collapsed the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Brusilov offensive failed due to internal army politics, German intervention, and the poor decision to transfer troops to Romania. (Stone makes the interesting point that politicians on both sides focused on gaining “allies” which were often worse than useless; Romanian intervention simply handed over the Ploesti oil fields to the Central Powers and absorbed more Russian troops than if Romania had remained neutral).


Fairly dense reading, but well worth it to explicate a usually obscure part of WWI history. ( )
1 vota setnahkt | Dec 21, 2017 |
Being a turgid history of WWI's Eastern Front, viewed almost entirely from the Russian perspective. The book clearly reflects extensive scholarship, but is less than pleasant reading. The author fell asleep the first day his historiography class met; rule one of the historian's style manual, identify each player by their full name, exists for very good and sufficient reasons, and the second, identify their position or role in the story, is like unto it. The author, as far as I can remember, doesn't use a full name in the entire book; he's slightly better on role, but not much. And most of these people are well and truly nobodies; you're not talking about familiar figures such as Hindenburg and Ludendorff, or even semi-familiar ones such as Conrad and Brussilov, you're talking about corps commanders. His emphasis on logistics is justifiable; certainly that's an understudied aspect of warfare which was crucial here, but how interesting can one make Russian shell production statistics or musings on rail capacity? Less justifiable is his obsession with economics; his concluding chapter says nothing about the big conclusions he has reached about the war, it's simply his take on the economic roots of Russia's revolution. His military narrative is good enough, if muddy, and there are plenty of maps, but they are very small and seem rarely designed to illuminate the places he mentions. I'm glad the blurbers enjoyed the book, but they are more easily entertained than I.. ( )
  Big_Bang_Gorilla | Jan 22, 2017 |
Sought this out after many sources claimed it as the best general history of the Eastern Front. In many places it reads like a shopping list of divisions, casualties, number of railroad carriages, and the like. When the narrative takes hold Stone is excellent. There were unfortunately not enough of those instances for me to recommend this book for anyone else. ( )
  kcshankd | Nov 7, 2016 |
In a way, this is three books in one. The first book is a strategic analysis of the eastern front in WWI. Most chapters begin by laying the groundwork for the battle or campaign covered in that chapter. Stone describes and analyzes the strategic, social and economic factors at work. I found these discussions fascinating.

Then come the tactical discussions of the battle and campaigns -- the "second book." Stone doesn't fare so well here. Like so much military history, the lack of maps is a problem. (If I ever write a book on military history, which is of course highly unlikely, it will be full of maps and will be accompanied by a Web site with an animation showing troop movements!) Also, and Stone admits this in the introduction, The Eastern Front isn't written from the soldier's perspective. You don't learn how the soldiers lived and how they fought, what it was like to be part of this war. I wish the book would have gone into that but, as Stone says, the source material just wasn't available.

The third book is an economic history of Russia during this time period. There are many discussions of Russian economic strengths and weakness, of how they affected the war effort and laid the groundwork for the revolution. I found these discussions interesting, but other readers may not.

As I read, I found myself devouring the strategic analysis that began each chapter, then plodding through (and trying too hard to follow) the tactical discussion that followed. But the good far outweighed the bad, and I recommend this book if you're interested in WWI history. ( )
  dwieringa | May 28, 2010 |
Tutto sommato il libro non e' male. Uno spaccato del fronte orientale. Un fronte spesso trascurato dagli storici preferendogli il fronte occidentale dove sicuramente sono state decise le sorti della Prima Guerra Mondiale. Ad ogni modo in alcuni tratti risulta piuttosto noioso, specialmente laddove vengono forniti i dati e le statistiche dell'economia di guerra attinente la Russia zarista. L'ho trovato interessante nella misura in cui vengono riportate le operazioni militari. Ad ogni modo il libro fa chiaramente capire che la leggenda di una Russia zarista entrata in guerra in stato di arretratezza economica e militare e' un falso storico. Difatti il Paese avrebbe avuto grosse potenzialita' ma l'amministrazione dell'Esercito e del Governo era in mano a persone incapaci a profittatrici e alla fine inevitabilmente questa situazione ha portato alla rivoluzione e all'uscita della Russia dalla Prima Guerra Mondiale. ( )
  xanax025 | Jan 7, 2010 |
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Norman Stone's groundbreaking book was the very first authoritative account of the Russian Front in the First World War to be published in the West. In this now-classic history he dispels the myths surrounding a still relatively little-known aspect of the war, showing bow inefficiency rather than economic shortage led to Russia's desperate privations and eventual retreat. He also reinterprets the connection between the war and the chaos that followed, arguing that although fighting had almost ceased by the end o f 1916, Russia was still in turmoil - undergoing a period of change that would inexorably lead towards revolution.

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