Besieged: Seven Cities under Siege: Madrid, 1936-1939 ; London, 1940-1941 ; Singapore, 1941-1942 ; Stalingrad, 1942-1943 ; Warsaw, 1939, 1943, 1944 ; Jerusalem, 1947-1949 ; Berlin, 1945-1949

Besieged: Seven Cities under Siege: Madrid, 1936-1939 ; London, 1940-1941 ; Singapore, 1941-1942 ; Stalingrad, 1942-1943 ; Warsaw, 1939, 1943, 1944 ; Jerusalem, 1947-1949 ; Berlin, 1945-1949

Besieged: Seven Cities under Siege: Madrid, 1936-1939 ; London, 1940-1941 ; Singapore, 1941-1942 ; Stalingrad, 1942-1943 ; Warsaw, 1939, 1943, 1944 ; Jerusalem, 1947-1949 ; Berlin, 1945-1949

Besieged: Seven Cities under Siege: Madrid, 1936-1939 ; London, 1940-1941 ; Singapore, 1941-1942 ; Stalingrad, 1942-1943 ; Warsaw, 1939, 1943, 1944 ; Jerusalem, 1947-1949 ; Berlin, 1945-1949

Excerpt

The genesis of this book lies in what for years I had felt was a minor sin comparable to my addiction to the Times crossword puzzle, the reading of military history solely for pleasure. After a time it seemed to me that one of the areas most neglected in theory and seldom exploited in narrative was the siege. Along with the mass cavalry charge and a major sea battle, the siege of a great city, even though a more protracted event, has long been one of warfare's most dramatic confrontations. In our century the siege has often been considered as obsolete as the castle. Originally my intention had been merely to show the persistence of the siege as a form of battle by means of several independent accounts of the more significant modern sieges. Instead, what has developed is seven case studies of seven different varieties of contemporary sieges in what I hope are authoritative, but certainly not definitive, accounts. This external approach, the dependence more on the works of others than on the original documents, was chosen partly at least to appeal to the general reader. Consequently the scholarly paraphernalia has been reduced to a minimum and the sources quoted are works in English. In time these restrictions proved artificial in that many of the sources are as unavailable to the average reader as if they had been left in Hebrew or Japanese; nevertheless, for the most part the book is an essay rather than a monograph.

The mass of material available for some of the sieges is appallingly extensive as is often the case in contemporary history with multivolume official histories, seemingly endless memoirs, and shelves of tangential accounts. In the cases of the seven sieges, no account or study by a disinterested scholar treats the battle purely as a siege, but in nearly every case there is at least one, and often more than one, basic work, such as Dov Joseph The Faithful City: The Siege of Jerusalem, 1948 or R. G. Colodny's The Struggle for Madrid: The Central Epic of the Spanish Conflict (1936-1937). What is undoubtedly the siege par excellence, Leningrad, has been avoided because of Leon Goure The Siege of Leningrad.

I am indebted to a variety of individuals and institutions for help in . . .

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