Leningrad by Anna Reid


On September 8, 1941, eleven weeks after Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, his brutal surprise attack on the Soviet Union, Leningrad was surrounded. The siege was not lifted for two and a half years, by which time some three quarters of a million Leningraders had died of starvation.Anna Reid's Leningrad is a gripping, authoritative narrative history of this dramatic moment in the twentieth century, interwoven with indelible personal accounts ...

Details Leningrad

Release DateAug 30th, 2011
PublisherWalker Books
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Cultural, Russia, War, World War II

Reviews Leningrad

  • Ilse
    One might say that Leningrad is particularly well suited to catastrophes. That cold river, those menacing sunsets, that operatic, terrifying moon.- Anna AkhmatovaWhen the Wehrmacht attacked Leningrad in 1941, Leningraders had yet been generously endowed with war, terror and famines. Still, the worst was yet to come. Relying for most part on diaries, memoires and interviews of survivors, journalist and historian Anna Reid chronicles Leningrads gha...
  • Matt
    "With his back to the post, a man sits in the snow, wrapped in rags, wearing a knapsack Probably he was on his way to Finland Station, got tired and sat down to rest. For two weeks I passed him every day as I went back and forth to the hospital. He sat 1. Without his knapsack; 2. Without his rags; 3. In his underwear; 4. Naked; 5. A skeleton with ripped out entrails. They took him away in May"- Vera Kostrovitskaya, diary entry written during the ...
  • Ray
    The German army raced east in the early stages of the Barbarossa campaign and soon reached Leningrad. It stopped at the outskirts of the city and settled down to a long siege. The Russians, demoralised and bloodied but not beaten, hunkered down too.What followed was three years of unremitting hardship as the inhabitants ran out of food and fuel. Hundreds of thousands starved to death and those that survived had to fight to stay alive. We see the ...
  • Thore Husfeldt
    Perhaps Ill be able to understand Beethovens music better, and the genius of Lermontov and Pushkin, once Ive been to war Heartbreaking words of 18-year old Oleg to his girlfriend at the advent of operation Barbarossa: Hitlers attack on Stalin that would see Leningrad besieged for years by German and Finnish troops and reliant on the incompetence, corruption, paranoia, and callousness of the Soviet Union.This is an expertly written book about a te...
  • Calzean
    The book focuses on the people of Leningrad and their experiences during WWII. The was some original research and interviews as well as use of many other published references. The book was structured mainly chronologically with a focus on 1941. There were chapters on certain themes (cannibalism, purges, crime, etc), a couple of chapters on particular military battles and an odd occasional use of a German officer's experience. The way the book was...
  • Matt Brady
    The epic Siege of Leningrad during the Second World War is an event that, while not exactly overlooked, seems to be given less importance when compared to the Battle of Stalingrad, or the massive tank clashes of Kursk, or the desperate last-gasp defence of Moscow. Anna Reid sets out to describe exactly why the Siege was so important, illuminating lesser known details and dispelling popular Soviet myths that sprang up in the years following the wa...
  • Manray9
    The distinguished historian, Antony Beevor, wrote that Anna Reid with her Leningrad: The Epic Siege of World War II, 1941-1944 provides an honest reappraisal of the myths surrounding this epic siege. Her contribution is not in simply retelling the narrative of Leningrads brave citizenry and their tenacious defense of the city against Nazi aggression, but in exposing the incompetence, cruelty and indifference of Soviet authorities and the Germans ...
  • Leftbanker
    As I began to read this essential book on the terrible siege of Leningrad in which approximately three-quarters of a million civilians starved to death during its almost nine hundred days from September 1941 to January 1944, I realized that Ive never really been hungry, ever. Few of the people who will read this have. There were a few man-made incidents when I went with little foodlike during Air Force Survival School where for five days my calo...
  • S.
    fantastic read, all the more impressive because Reid only finished a bachelor's degree. *one error: Reid writes, "Stalin shouldn't have liquidated his army's generals during his purge;" however, among Hitler's last words were "I should have purged the army's generals like Stalin." these kind of broad historical judgments are "too big" to make. USSR won the war, so who can say 70 years after the fact which of Stalin's decisions were correct and wh...
  • Mikey B.
    An excellent account of the horrifying siege of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) that occurred following the German invasion of June, 1941.This is a ground view look at the siege taken mostly from the diaries, and to a lesser extent, interviews of the survivors. Many are wrenching, many are poetic, and provide us with portrayals of their terrible ordeal. There is little in the book of the military details of the long blockade and these are told fro...
  • Marc
    This authoritative history of the Nazi siege of Leningrad during World War II, and of the effects of the siege on the city's inhabitants, is meticulously researched and fluidly and crisply told. Reid is a disciplined writer with an eye for the telling detail. The book is arranged chronologically, and much of the story is told through contemporaneous accounts of the siege. This is a very effective approach: the personal stories have a powerful cum...
  • Dara Salley
    One question runs through your mind over and over while reading Leningrad It is, What would I have done? Would I eat my pets, would I let a relative starve, would I leave a weak friend behind to seek relief, would I take more than my fair share and watch others suffer? I dont think anyone can really answer these questions, its impossible to know what you would do in such extreme circumstances. But you cant help wondering.The book forces you to co...
  • Richard
    Overall, I'm not dissatisfied with the book. I am glad the author included additional details about how Stalin and his generals managed the war effort and a German commander commanded his troops held the territory around Leningrad. This gave the book an perspective outside of the besieged Leningrad, and contrasted with the plights of the starving Leningraders. Many of the anecdotes and stories of the besieged citizens of Leningrad were well chose...
  • Yogesh Wadhwa
    "Good Read"A very detailed account of what Leningrad/people there went through during the war.
  • Dachokie
    A New Classic Having read hundreds of volumes covering the Eastern Front in World War II, I have never taken an interest in understanding the horrors bestowed upon Leningrad during the war. In fact, it was Russias subtle but potent reference to The Great Patriotic War in the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics that prompted me to learn more about the siege. Anna Reids LENINGRAD certainly proves to be a superbly efficient study on the be...
  • Sarah
    The story is of course devastating and gripping, though I'm not sure there are many revelations in this account of the siege of Leningrad. The myths of the siege (the role of musicians, the self-sacrifice) are exploded, not for the first time, and replaced by the plainly-told horrors of the dehumanisation and near death of a European city - pretty much accepted now, and told here with subtlety and balance. The author is quite unequivocal however ...
  • Kieran Healy
    Overall a great piece of historical work, with only a few issues. As for the politics, that will inevitably be decided by the reader on an individual basis. I felt it mostly as a humanist text, which is imperative if you are going to cover an atrocity. At the end I felt exhausted, still not quite able to comprehend what I had just read. Other than some minor quibbles, I consider this a required piece of reading for any history buff interested in ...
  • Denis
    This harrowing account of the tragic siege of Leningrad is not for the faints of heart but its a definitive read for anyone interested in the history of Russia and WWII. Reid is a vivid storyteller, and one of her great accomplishments, in this book, is that she has recovered (or discovered) a trove of testimonies from various people who lived through the siege. Her very numerous quotes from those people help us understand, see, and feel from th...
  • Jonathan Dunsky
    Stalingrad is the battle of the Eastern Front which gets the most historical attention. However, the battle for Leningrad is also important to get the full picture of the horror of war.Leningrad, today's St. Petersburg, is at the north of the front and, when Nazi forces are surging ahead, the city is in danger.The Soviet government, with it's little care for the welfare of their people, wants the city to hold and prevents mass evacuation. The res...
  • Stefanie
    After you finish reading this book, you'll never want to waste a morsel of food again and/or you'll want to go on a starvation diet in solidarity and in remembrance of all the victims of starvation in Leningrad during the Siege. It took me a little over two years to read this (off and on as I read other books in between) as the subject matter is quite a lot to absorb at one time. This is an important piece of history that so many people don't kno...
  • Philip Whiteland
    Having read Max Hastings' account of the final months of the last war, I was eager to know the background to the Soviet psyche with regard to WWII, I downloaded (in my defence, it was on offer again) 'Leningrad: Tragedy of a City under Siege, 1941-1944'. If you're ever in need of feeling totally depressed and hopeless, this is the book for you. Caught between the incompetence, brutality and corruption of Soviet-era Communism and the sadistic desi...
  • Christopher Fox
    Compelling. Drawing on what must have been a mountain of source material (diaries and government and military records...but mainly those diaries), Reid has fashioned an engrossing, exhaustive and utterly grim account of a particularly dark chapter of WWII. She and they describe the horrors and privations they suffered, descriptions of such intimate and personal detail that they draw continual emotional responses from the reader. "How could people...
  • Andrew Lewis
    A wonderful addition to any history of the eastern front of world war 2. It's very interesting to see that not only did The Wehrmacht's surrounding of Leningrad deliberately intend to starve the civilian population into capitulation, but to see the horrific collectivist inefficiencies of the Soviet government's gross inefficiency to supply it's own people with the basic essentials to survival. The two regimes , communism and fascism, both contrib...
  • Richard
    Considering this was one of the great events of world history, the book is surprisingly bland. Not much about the political scene, or the military, or life in starving Leningrad other than the starvation. For an "epic siege," it's not a very compelling read. But, imagine, a crown jewel of a city surrounded by the enemy during the worst winter in memory, and in which almost every occupant is starving to death - and this occurs over a period of yea...
  • Andrea Fife
    This is definitely not the sort of book that one just picks up for some light reading. I read it to satisfy a personal longing to know more about the siege of Leningrad referenced in Billy Joel's song by the same title. This book was informative and well-organized, giving a comprehensive and unbiased account of events pre- during- and post-siege. Interested more in the city's inhabitants, I found the war tactics a bit tedious to wade through. I d...
  • Daniel Kukwa
    What an epic, magnificently researched, beautifully written, and achingly sad account of one of the worst disasters of WW2...in a nation that covered up the truth of this disaster under decades of totalitarian bureaucracy, lies, and propaganda. This is as fine a work of 20th century history as you are likely to find...as well as a gripping read in its own right. Utterly marvelous, and achingly tragic.
  • Mireille Kools
    ChaoticInteresting info esp. the treasure trove of the diaries. The writing is a bit chaotic and ad hoc if one is not a historian
  • KB
    My interest in World War II has waned a bit in the last few years, but this book caught my eye. The Siege of Leningrad is something I've never read in depth about, although I've known about it from more comprehensive WWII histories. Anna Reid's Leningrad provides readers with a close look into the city during the siege, as told by those that endured it.I found the book to be an easy read. There were times here and there that I had to reread a sen...