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Battle of the Books

The Battle of Kursk (David M. Glantz) | Other books | A Novel: Last Citadel (David L. Robbins) | Bibliography

The Battle of Kursk (David M. Glantz)

Amazon. The Battle of Kursk by David M. Glantz, Jonathan M. House (publisher's blurb). This was a History Book of the Month club main selection (which means it's good, but also plentiful in used bookstores).

Review by Milton Goldin, for H-NET. [mirror]

"[T]he value of The Battle of Kursk turns on new and critical details relating to Soviet perspectives."

Review by Michael Green, World War II Magazine (Feb. 2002).

"What is important about Kursk, and what the authors superbly illustrate, is that even after some of the myths are stripped away, what is left is the most intense battle of World War II. It was the maturation of the Soviet operational art and the end of the German offensive capability, and is therefore one of the most important engagements in the history of warfare. Glantz and House do an impressive job in portraying this struggle, placing it in its proper perspective and capturing the detail without sacrificing readability."

Reviewed by Michael Peck, The Military Book Review.

"The Battle of Kursk is a typical Glantz book, long on mind-numbing detail and sometimes short on analysis. Of nearly 500 pages, almost half consists of orders of battle, notes and the text of key German and Soviet orders. … This is a book that is truly authoritative. Too bad that it also is truly colorless. Kursk was as dramatic a fight as can be imagined, two ruthless and relentless armies locked in a titanic death match. Yet Glantz's prose is rendered in the dry language of a staff report. Even with the text liberally sprinkled with anecdotes from those who fought, this book is exciting because of its topic rather than its writing."

Review by Hubert P. van Tuyll, Historian (Spring 2001)

"These issues aside, the book is clearly the type of multiarchival "international" history for which the profession so often calls."

Reviewed by Bill Stone (Nov. 2002).

"Glantz and House … have set the new standard by which accounts of the campaign must be judged."

Other books

Books on the Battle of Kursk. Review essay by Mike Licari separates the wheat from the chaff.

  • Caidin, The Tigers are Burning: "As history, this book is pure garbage."
  • Cross, The Battle of Kursk; Operation Citadel 1943:
    "By showing a chart of German daily tank strength during Citadel, Cross demonstrates that the clash at Prokhorovka barely registers, especially when compared to losses during the first few days when the defensive belts were being cracked."
  • Dunn, Kursk, Hitler's Gamble 1943: "if you are interested in military institutional performance, this is a great book."
  • Glantz and House, The Battle of Kursk: "This is the definitive book on the battle of Kursk. … If you own but one book on Kursk, it should be this one. "
  • Healy, Kursk 1943 (Osprey Campaign Series): praised for its maps, dispraised for much else
  • Glantz and Orenstein (eds.), The Battle for Kursk 1943, The Soviet General Staff Study:
    "Only somebody who is very interested in the technical details of military planning, or someone who is interested in military institutional effectiveness will appreciate this book. It is a technical report and reads as such. That said, it is a valuable primary document, and it provides us with a veritable treasure trove of data and information about Soviet conduct in the Battle of Kursk."
  • Newton, Kursk, The German View:
    "The primary contribution of the book is to completely strip away any lingering portions of the myth that had the Germans kept pressing they would have won the battle."
  • Zetterling and Frankson, Kursk 1943, A Statistical Analysis: "By itself, however, the book is not particularly valuable. Zetterling and Frankson choose to mostly let the numbers speak for themselves."
The end of the article is a good short review of what we now know about the battle, in simple declarative sentences.

Amazon. Kursk 1943: A Statistical Analysis by Niklas Zetterling, Anders Frankson. Book marshals statistics to argue that Kursk was not the German disaster Soviet propaganda made it out to be. The real German losses happened after Kursk.

Review by Frank Cass, Military Book Review.

"And what conclusion does all this statistical firepower support? Kursk 1943 comes out squarely on the side of those who say Kursk was not a German defeat. The authors claim the scrutiny of German records reveals that German tank losses were neither crippling nor manpower losses excessive. It was the Soviets who took a beating, losing four times as many men, eight times as many tanks and more than twice as many aircraft."

Reviewed by Bill Stone, Stone and Stone books. This long review includes a section comparing Zetterling and Frankson against four other sources on the crucial engagement at Prokhorovka.

"Those fascinated by numbers, statistics, and quantitative analysis will be intrigued. Anyone with a notion to design a wargame on Kursk will definitely find this to be a must-have."

Amazon. Kursk 1943: Tide Turns in the East by Mark Healy, one of the Osprey series books. (publisher's blurb)

Review by Neville Lord, for Roll Models. Positive.

"I particularly enjoyed his discussion of how the respective high commands sought to second guess each other prior to the battle and how political interference determined Germany's fateful game play."

Amazon. Kursk: The German View by Steven H. Newton. (publisher blurb)

A Novel: Last Citadel (David L. Robbins)

Amazon. Last Citadel : A Novel of the Battle of Kursk by David L. Robbins. Ecstatic reviews lauding it as "a book written by a WWII buff for WWII buffs."

Robbin's website has a summary , an excerpt and a selection of critical praise. (publisher's blurb)

"Taking a stand in World War II" review by David DeVaney, The Decatur Daily (October 2003).

"David L. Robbins has done a great job of combining fact and fiction. The Battle of Kursk encompasses an immense territory and 'The Last Citadel' covers the many fronts of this battle."

Review by John Wellfare, Navy News (Newspaper of the Australian Navy). Negative.

"What really ruined this book for me was the fact that all the characters, Russian and German alike, had the same inner voice; a decidedly modern, American voice. Last Citadel is a good story and a bad piece of writing all at once, there are some moments when it's hard to put down, but it could be so much better if only it were better written."


Kursk Bibliography. Very lengthy effort by David R. Higgins, from his The Wolf by the East project.

LibraryThing: Catalog your books online.

If you enjoy this site you may like these other sites by me:

D-Day on the Web. Everything about the allied invasion of Normandy, June 6, 1944.

Andrew Jackson on the Web. The ultimate resource on "Old Hickory," President Andrew Jackson.