Physical description

Index, ill, maps, p.378.

Publication type



Based on the notebooks in which Vasily Grossman gathered the raw material for his newspaper articles, A Writer at War depicts the crushing conditions on the Eastern Front during World War II and the lives and deaths of infantrymen, tank drivers, pilots, snipers, and civilians. Deemed unfit for service when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, Grossman became a special correspondent for The Red Star, the Red Army newspaper. A portly novelist in his mid-thirties with no military experience, he was given a uniform and hastily taught how to use a pistol. Remarkably, he spent three of the next four years at the front, observing with a writer's eye the most pitiless fighting ever recorded.". "Grossman witnessed almost all the major events on the Eastern Front: the appalling defeats and desperate retreats of 1941, the defense of Moscow, and the fighting in the Ukraine. In August 1942 he was posted to Stalingrad, where he remained during four months of brutal street fighting. Grossman was present at the battle of Kursk (the largest tank engagement in history), and, as the Red Army advanced, he reached Berdichev, where his worst fears for his mother and other relatives were confirmed. A Jew himself, he undertook the faithful recording of Holocaust atrocities as their extent dawned. His report "The Hell of Treblinka" was used in evidence at the Nuremberg tribunal