Magazine article The Spectator

Stalingrad

Magazine article The Spectator

Stalingrad

Article excerpt

STALINGRAD by Antony Beevor L21.99, Mrs, 28 mins, unabridged

WHILE listening to an audiobook to beat motorway boredom, the mind is in a flux of all those thoughts that swirl unbidden in the head as well as those required by the task in hand. Our attention is constantly reined back to the audiobook, unconscious of having strayed, and we happily carry on listening. Listening to Stalingrad is different. Beevor uses some of the techniques of the fiction writer and these are fully exploited by Tudor Barnes's faultless reading: the tremendous narrative drive, the many quotations from primary sources which in the reading sound like direct speech, his licence in graphic description and the almost unbearable details - of rats already fat from dead flesh gnawing the feet of dead soldiers, of comrades knocking insensible those whose minds have given way and who raved and howled beside them. …

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