Saving Stalin: Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, and the Cost of Allied Victory in Europe

Hachette. Oct. 2020. 384p. ISBN 9780306902772. $30. HIST
Writing a popular history of World War II is a daunting task. Substantial works, such as James L. Stokesbury’s A Short History of World War II, which convey new information, original theories, and modern interpretations stand up well against the competition. Unfortunately, this latest work from Kelly (The Great Mortality) focuses on the war in Europe but doesn’t consider the global implications and includes numerous errors and jarring statements throughout, some more forgivable than others. The author asserts that German Luftwaffe commander Albert Kesselring evacuated 43,000 troops and 93,000 vehicles from Sicily. Each soldier apparently drove more than one vehicle. The Dukla Pass, part of the Carpathian mountain range, is stated as joining Poland and Slovenia yet Poland shares a border with Slovakia; Slovenia is farther south between Italy and Croatia. Moreover, Kelly writes that slain Nazi soldiers were “assembled in the snowy fields... summoned to Valhalla,” the mythological Norse hall of warriors killed in battle, thus glorifying men who perpetrated some of the worst atrocities in history.
VERDICT Errors and awkward prose mar a work that could have otherwise been acceptable. Not recommended.
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