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Volga Rises in Europe by Curzio Malaparte

Volga Rises in Europe

by Curzio Malaparte

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Being the first portion of the author's lyrical and insightful eastern front reportage on WWII. This is a very good book which largely lacks the poetry and insight of the other portion, yclept Kaputt. ( )
  Big_Bang_Gorilla | May 27, 2011 |
This is the first Eastern Front book that I have read, and perhaps it is not the best place to start for a military over-view, but Malaparte provides a fascinating look at an aspect of war in the Russian campaign that I suspect has precious little coverage in English. The first half of the book sees Malaparte following the front east, a few miles from the "action", encountering civilians and writing in a very detached, almost dreamlike fashion about his experiences. There are no recurring characters, there is little criticism of the German actions or policies that brought about the campaign (he does write about communism and how it has affected the civilians he meets to quite some extent), and it is an eery, poetic recount of snapshots into the life and death that he encountered on a daily basis. Half way through, and German intervention sees Malaparte "re-deploy" to the fight for Stalingrad, and we see a different situation, but still told in his thoroughly engaging style. I would not recommend this book to people who want maps, orders of battle, and discussions of tactics or grand strategies, but I would suggest that anyone interested in this campaign who wants to delve a little deeper than usual give this a read. It's quite short too, so won't take you long. ( )
  moss_icon | Apr 2, 2008 |
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Reports from the Eastern Front written for Corriere della Sera, many of which were suppressed, and collected in 1943 under the title Il Volga nasce in Europa.
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Imprinted on the ice, stamped on the transparent crystal beneath the soles of my shoes, I saw a row of exquisitely beautiful human faces: a row of diaphanous masks, like Byzantine icons. They were looking at me, gazing at me...the delicate, living shadows of men who had been swallowed up in the mysterious waters of the lake. DURING THE SUMMER OF 1941, the Italian journalist and novelist Curzio Malaparte was the only frontline war correspondent in the whole of Russia. His account of events there is not unique for this reason alone: his astonishing eye for detail and intimate knowledge of the country lends his record a depth of understanding rarely found in other war reporting, and his attention to the human dimension of the conflict reveals him as a man of great humanity and compassion. Expelled from the southern war zone on the orders of Goebbels in September 1941, Malaparte spent four months under house arrest before being sent to cover events in Finland. From here he reported the Siege of Leningrad-one of the seminal events played out on the Eastern Front.… (more)

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