by: Randy Harvey [ ]
Originally published on:
This is a review of the Osprey Publishing LTD book Georgy Zhukov by author Robert Forczyk and illustrator Adam Hook.
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**Zhukov was the dominant figure in the Red Army during World War II. Serving as a senior General Staff representative from the Stavka, Zhukov moved from one critical sector to the next, serving as advisor, coordinator and de facto front commander as required. He played a critical role in salvaging the desperate situation in the autumn of 1941 before leading the Red Army to an amazing reversal of fortunes in 1942Ė43 and eventual victory in 1944Ė45. However, Zhukovís methods were brutal and contributed to massive Soviet casualties. As the most recognized Soviet soldier of World War II, Zhukovís post-war fall from grace was equally precipitous and it was not until the collapse of the Soviet Union that his reputation was restored. **
** Authorís words quoted from the back cover of the book.
Osprey Publications Ltd has released Georgy Zhukov as Number 22 in their command series. It is a paperback book with 64 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs, 1 color photograph, color illustrations, maps, information charts and detailed captions. It has a 2012 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-84908-556-4. As the title states, the book covers Georgy Zhukov and details his military career.
- The early years, 1896-1914
- The military life, 1915-41
- The hour of destiny, 1939-45
- Opposing commanders
- When war is done
- Inside the mind
- A life in words
The text in the book is well written and gives a detailed account of the military career of Georgy Zhukov and various actions in which he was involved. The book didnít contain any spelling or grammar errors that I could find as I read through it. Robert Forczyk has gone to great lengths to research Georgy Zhukov and provides excellent coverage of his life both on the battlefield and the home front as well as his life after World War II. The text, and the accompanying photographs, are in a correct chronological order and is well written and detailed on all counts. As well as Georgy Zhukovís personal life and military career Forczyk provides well written detailed information on the fighting in Moscow, Stalingrad and Leningrad and also details other actions such as Operation Mars and Operation Berlin. Provided is information on military units and commanders and the actions taken by the Soviets and the Germans as well as the Japanese. Anyone interested in the military career and personal life of Georgy Zhukov and Soviet military actions during World War Two will find this book very informative and interesting and a worthwhile read.
There are a total of 45 black and white photographs and one colour photograph which range from close-up shots to wide angle shots. The majority of the photographs are very nice and will help the military figure modeller well. Several of them show various Soviet uniforms from the 1930s on through World War II. They range from the common Soviet foot soldier up to the Soviet officersí uniforms. Things such as rank insignia and decorations are clearly shown as well as individual equipment and will prove to be very helpful to not only the figure modeller but the military historian and individuals interested in military uniforms as well.
A photograph that was not expected by me was one that shows Japanese soldiers of the 23rd Infantry Division that were taken prisoner by Zhukovís forces during the fighting at Khalkhin-Gol in 1939. The photograph shows the Japanese soldiers and their uniforms very clearly. There are photographs included that will help the military armour, artillery, soft-skinned vehicle, engineer equipment and diorama modellers well due to the wealth of information they provide. There are armored vehicles shown such as Soviet BT-7 tank, Soviet KV-1 heavy tank, Soviet IS-2 heavy tank, German PzKpfw-IV tank, German 251 half-tracks and an unexpected photograph of a US made M3A1 scout car that was supplied to the Soviets through the Lend-Lease act. Also shown is a Soviet Katyusha rocket launcher, Soviet 152mm ML-20 howitzer, Soviet M1938 122mm howitzer and one of my favourite photographs, Soviet troops and artillery moving across a pontoon bridge.
Another photograph that I like is of Zhukov in a rubber raft with his ďfield wifeĒ mistress Lieutenant Lidia Zakharova on the lake at Miedzychod, Poland. For the cavalry fan there are some pictures of the Soviet cavalry and Zhukov on his mount. Several of the photographs are clear and easily viewable, however there are some that have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark, and some appear too light, which is typical for photographs of that period of time. One reason for this could be that the photographs are close to 70 years old. Robert Forczyk has chosen photographs that are specific to Georgy Zhukov and his military career and not just random Soviet military photographs of the period.
There are three colour illustrations by illustrator Adam Hook that are very well done, nicely detailed and are of:
- Zhukov orchestrates the Red Armyís first effective combined-arms attack, 0900hrs, 20 August 1939.
- Zhukovís command style: the relief of General-Major Tarasov, 14 December 1942.
- Breakout from the Magnuszew Bridgehead, 14 January 1945.
There are five colour maps included in this volume that are well done, nicely detailed and are of:
- Victory at Khalkhin-Gol, 20-31 August 1939
- Zhukovís campaigns in the East, 1941-45
- The Vyazma campaign, January-February 1942
- The Vistula-Oder Offensive, 14-17 January 1945
- Breakout from the Oder River bridgeheads, 16-19 April 1945
There is one informational chart provided that shows key to military symbols
The captions are well written, very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs in great detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown and taking place. I didnít notice any spelling or grammar errors as I read through them which is a detail that is important to me. Some of the captions are basically miniature history lessons as they go into very specific detail as to the individuals, armored vehicles and their type, location, military units, and the time frame of the photograph shown. I was very impressed by Forczykís captions as they are very helpful to the reader due to their detailed content as opposed to other captions I have seen that are very brief and lack detail necessary to explain the accompanying photograph.
This book was provided by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.
This is a well written book. Robert Forczyk has gone to great lengths to research Georgy Zhukov and provides excellent coverage of his life both on the battlefield and the home front as well as his life after World War II. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.
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