La memorialistica si è affermata nel corso dell’ultimo secolo come un fenomeno letterario, soprattutto in seguito alle guerre mondiali, che hanno coinvolto grandi masse di individui. Questo volume rappresenta un tentativo di collocare il modo memorialistico nell’orizzonte della narrativa contemporanea, attraverso una riflessione teorica che compara la teoria letteraria di Northrop Frye con la teoria storico-filosofica del mito, e attraverso lo studio di una specifica tradizione memorialistica: il racconto della campagna di Russia combattuta dall’esercito tedesco tra il 1941 e il 1945. Secondo la tesi di questo studio, nella memorialistica si combinano istanze storiche, antropologiche e ideologiche, dando vita a un modo letterario originale della contemporaneità, che rivela come il nostro rapporto con il modo mitico del raccontare sia rimasto vivo e continui a costituire il principale mezzo della nostra auto-comprensione.
Vita e destino
Author: Vasilij Grossman
Publisher: Adelphi Edizioni spa
«Ho appena terminato un grande romanzo a cui ho lavorato per quasi dieci anni...» scriveva nel 1960 Vasilij Grossman, scrittore noto in patria sin dagli anni Trenta (e fra i primi corrispondenti di guerra a entrare, al seguito dell’Armata Rossa, nell’inferno di Treblinka). Non sapeva, Grossman, che in quel momento il manoscritto della sua immensa epopea (che aveva la dichiarata ambizione di essere il "Guerra e pace" del Novecento) era già all’esame del Comitato centrale. Tant’è che nel febbraio del 1961 due agenti del KGB confischeranno non solo il manoscritto, ma anche le carte carbone e le minute, e perfino i nastri della macchina per scrivere: del «grande romanzo» non deve rimanere traccia. Gli occhiuti burocrati sovietici hanno intuito subito quanto fosse temibile per il regime un libro come "Vita e destino": forse più ancora del "Dottor Zivago". Quello che può sembrare solo un vasto, appassionante affresco storico si rivela infatti, ben presto, per ciò che è: una bruciante riflessione sul male. Del male (attraverso le vicende di un gran numero di personaggi in un modo o nell’altro collegati fra loro, e in mezzo ai quali incontriamo vittime e carnefici, eroi e traditori, idealisti e leccapiedi – fino ai due massimi protagonisti storici, Hitler e Stalin) Vasilij Grossman svela con implacabile acutezza la natura, che è menzogna e cancellazione della verità mediante la mistificazione più abietta: quella di ammantarsi di bene, un bene astratto e universale nel cui nome si compie ogni atrocità e ogni bassezza, e che induce a piegare il capo davanti alle sue sublimi esigenze. «Libri come "Vita e destino"» ha scritto George Steiner «eclissano quasi tutti i romanzi che oggi, in Occidente, vengono presi sul serio».
Giugno 1944: sulla costa della Normandia gli Alleati catturano il coreano Yang Kyoungjong. Yang è stato arruolato a forza dall'esercito imperiale nipponico, dall'Armata Rossa, dalla Wehrmacht, ed emigrerà poi negli Stati Uniti. È solo uno dei protagonisti del ricco mosaico composto da Antony Beevor in un'opera ardita e avvincente che, attingendo alle ultime scoperte d'archivio, affronta la seconda guerra mondiale da una prospettiva nuova. Beevor spazia da fronti noti ad altri meno conosciuti, dal Sahara alla giungla birmana, dalle atrocità dei gruppi d'assalto delle SS e dei gulag sovietici fino alla barbarie dello scontro sino-giapponese. E sul solido telaio di un racconto globale del conflitto, tesse i fili di mille micro-storie personali, restituendo alla guerra più crudele e distruttiva che il mondo ricordi una dimensione e una verità profondamente umane.
La battaglia di StalingradoStoria dell'assedio che decise la fine di HitlerSe c’è una battaglia che ha compromesso in modo definitivo il sogno di gloria di Hitler, è senza dubbio quella di Stalingrado. Dal 23 agosto 1942 al 10 marzo 1943 la VI Armata tedesca, condotta da Paulus, fu inchiodata dal tenace attaccamento dei russi alla città che portava il nome del loro leader. Uno scontro senza esclusione di colpi, con due fronti che si battevano all’ultimo sangue con una sola direttiva: annientare il nemico. Vincitori in estate, i tedeschi vennero però decimati dal terribile inverno russo e dalla strenua opposizione del popolo sovietico. Costretti da Hitler a resistere fino alla morte, la loro guerra di conquista si trasformò così gradualmente in un’insensata carneficina. Mentre la produzione bellica tedesca arrancava, piegata dalla mancanza di materie prime e dai bombardamenti alleati, quella russa migliorava a vista d’occhio, sfornando un numero crescente di carri armati, aerei, cannoni. E a Natale del 1942, a Berlino si parlava degli uomini di Paulus come se fossero già morti. Passo dopo passo, Andrea Marrone ripercorre una delle battaglie che hanno cambiato il corso della storia.La prima grande sconfitta dei nazistiLa sanguinosa battaglia che decise le sorti della Seconda guerra mondiale Andrea Marroneha vissuto e lavorato per vent’anni in Estremo Oriente. Collabora con testate giornalistiche italiane ed estere. Ha scritto i romanzi Lettera a un archivista fedifrago e Kaffir, ambientato in Afghanistan. Per la Newton Compton ha pubblicato il saggio I Mille. La battaglia finale e La disfatta del Terzo Reich.
War of the Rats
Author: David L. Robbins
For six months in 1942, Stalingrad is the center of a titanic struggle between the Russian and German armies—the bloodiest campaign in mankind's long history of warfare. The outcome is pivotal. If Hitler's forces are not stopped, Russia will fall. And with it, the world.... German soldiers call the battle Rattenkrieg, War of the Rats. The combat is horrific, as soldiers die in the smoking cellars and trenches of a ruined city. Through this twisted carnage stalk two men—one Russian, one German—each the top sniper in his respective army. These two marksmen are equally matched in both skill and tenacity. Each man has his own mission: to find his counterpart—and kill him. But an American woman trapped in Russia complicates this extraordinary duel. Joining the Russian sniper's cadre, she soon becomes one of his most talented assassins—and perhaps his greatest weakness. Based on a true story, this is the harrowing tale of two adversaries enmeshed in their own private war—and whose fortunes will help decide the fate of the world. From the Paperback edition.
The End of War
Author: David L. Robbins
Berlin, January 1945 The war draws to a close, but the fight for a vanquished city--and for history--is just beginning. On the heels of the critically acclaimed War of the Rats , the new master of historical suspense, David L. Robbins, turns his compelling vision on the waning months of World War II, when world leaders engage in a dicey game of cat and mouse to ultimately determine the fate of the second half of the twentieth century. The End of War In the final months of the war in Europe, the last act of a five-year conflagration is about to be played out. Allied generals move their war-hardened armies around the mortally wounded Nazi military machine. But strategies are being formed on a greater scale than even generals can imagine. While Churchill fumes helplessly, Roosevelt makes crucial decisions that will cede Berlin to Stalin and the Russians. The stakes are no less critical for ordinary men and women, fighting to live another day. On the ground are young Russian soldiers driven by vengeance into the teeth of the still-deadly Nazi army; American forces push forward under the political motives of a canny commander- in- chief; and the British, aloof, at odds with their Yankee counterparts, see in these last fateful moves a devastating betrayal by Washington and Moscow. The End of War vividly animates the giants who shaped history and breathes life into the heartbreaking struggles of those who merely lived it. From the chaos of the trenches on the eastern front, to the desperation of a single Jewish man hidden in a Berlin basement by a terrified mother and daughter, to the burning ambition of an American photojournalist determined to capture on film the defining moment of the war, Robbins ushers us into the sweep of history and the drama of the human face of war. An epic novel exploding with the urgency of battle and history in the making, here is The End of War. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: David L. Robbins
With his acclaimed novels of World War II, David L. Robbins awakened a generation to the drama, tragedy, and heroism of some of history’s greatest battles. Now he delivers a gripping and authentic story set against one of our greatest wartime achievements: the Red Ball Express, six thousand trucks and twenty-three thousand men–most of them African-American–who forged a lifeline of supplies in the Allied struggle to liberate France. June 1944. The Allies deliver a staggering blow to Hitler’s Atlantic fortress, leaving the beaches and bluffs of Normandy strewn with corpses. The Germans have only one chance to stop the immense invasion–by bottling up the Americans on the Cotentin Peninsula. There, in fields crisscrossed with dense hedgerows, many will meet their death while others will search for signs of life. Among the latter are two very different men, each with his own demons to fight and his own reasons to risk his life for his fellow man. Joe Amos Biggs is an invisible “colored” driver in the Red Ball Express, the unheralded convoy of trucks that serves as a precious lifeline to the front. Delivering fuel and ammunition to men whose survival depends on the truckers, Joe Amos finds himself hungering to make his mark and propelled into battle among those who don’t see him as an equal–but will need him to be a hero. A chaplain in the demoralized 90th Infantry, Rabbi Ben Kahn is a veteran of the first great war and old enough to be the father of the GIs he tends. Searching for the truth about his own son, a downed pilot missing in action, Kahn finds himself dueling with God, wading into combat without a gun, and becoming a leader among men in need of someone–anyone–to follow. The prize: the liberation of Paris, where a ruthless American traitor known as Chien Blanc–White Dog–grows fat and rich in the black market. Whatever the occupied city’s destiny, destroyed or freed, he will win. The fates of these three men will collide, hurtling toward an uncommon destiny in which people commit deeds they cannot foresee and can never truly explain. From the screams of German .88 howitzers to the last whispers of dying young soldiers, Robbins captures war in all its awful fullness. And through the eyes of his unique characters, he leaves us with a mature, brilliant, and memorable vision of humanity in the face of inhumanity itself. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Antony Beevor
Publisher: Penguin UK
Antony Beevor's Stalingrad is a harrowing look at one of history's darkest moments. In October 1942, a panzer officer wrote 'Stalingrad is no longer a town... Animals flee this hell; the hardest stones cannot bear it for long; only men endure'. The battle for Stalingrad became the focus of Hitler and Stalin's determination to win the gruesome, vicious war on the eastern front. The citizens of Stalingrad endured unimaginable hardship; the battle, with fierce hand-to-hand fighting in each room of each building, was brutally destructive to both armies. But the eventual victory of the Red Army, and the failure of Hitler's Operation Barbarossa, was the first defeat of Hitler's territorial ambitions in Europe, and the start of his decline. An extraordinary story of tactical genius, civilian bravery, obsession, carnage and the nature of war itself, Stalingrad will act as a testament to the vital role of the soviet war effort. 'A superb re-telling. Beevor combines a soldier's understanding of war's realities with the narrative techniques of a novelist . . . This is a book that lets the reader look into the face of battle' Orlando Figes, Sunday Telegraph 'A brilliantly researched tour de force of military history' Sarah Bradford, The Times Antony Beevor is the renowned author of Stalingrad, which won the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Wolfson Prize for History and the Hawthornden Prize for Literature, and Berlin, which received the first Longman-History Today Trustees' Award. His books have sold nearly four million copies.
Author: Jochen Hellbeck
Just days after the Germans surrendered at Stalingrad, legendary Red Army sniper Vasily Zaytsev described the horrors he witnessed during the five-month long conflict: “one sees the young girls, the children who hang from trees in the park... I have unsteady nerves and I'm constantly shaking.” He was being interviewed, along with 214 other men and women—soldiers, officers, civilians, administrative staffers and others—amidst the rubble that remained of Stalingrad by members of Moscow’s Historical Commission. Sent by the Kremlin, their aim was to record a comprehensive, historical documentary of the tremendous hardships overcome and heroic triumphs achieved during the battle. 20 soldiers of the 38th Rifle Division vividly recount how they stumbled upon the commander of the German troops, Field Marshal Friederich Paulus, defeated and hiding in a bed that reeked like a latrine. A lieutenant colonel remembers the brave 20 year-old adjutant who wrapped his arms around his commander’s body to protect him from a flying grenade. Working around the clock, Nurse Vera Gurova describes a 24 hour period during which her hospital received over than 600 wounded men – equivalent to one every two and an half minutes. Countless soldiers endured shrapnel wounds and received blood transfusions in the trenches, but she can’t forget the young amputee who begged her to avenge his suffering at Stalingrad. This harrowing montage of distinct voices was so candid that the Kremlin forbade its publication and consigned the bulk of these documents to a Moscow archive where they remained forgotten for decades, until now. Jochen Hellbeck’s Stalingrad is a definitive portrait of perhaps the greatest urban battle of the Second World War—a pivotal moment in the course of the war re-created with absolute candor and chilling veracity by the voices of the men and women who fought there.
Author: David L. Robbins
One nation taking a desperate gamble of war. Another fighting for survival. Two armies locked in a bloody cataclysm that will decide history. . . David L. Robbins has won widespread acclaim for his powerful and splendidly researched novels of World War II. Now he casts his brilliant vision on one of the most terrifying--and most crucial--battles of the war: the Battle of Kursk, Hitler’s desperate gamble to defeat Russia, in the final German offensive on the eastern front. Last Citadel Spring 1943. In the west, Germany strengthens its choke hold on France. To the south, an Allied invasion looms imminent. But the greatest threat to Hitler’s dream of a Thousand Year Reich lies east, where his forces are pitted in a death match with a Russian enemy willing to pay any price to defend the motherland. Hitler rolls the dice, hurling his best SS forces and his fearsome new weapon, the Mark VI Tiger tank, in a last-ditch summer offensive, code-named Citadel. The Red Army around Kursk is a sprawling array of infantry, armor, fighter planes, and bombers. Among them is an intrepid group of women flying antiquated biplanes; they swoop over the Germans in the dark, earning their nickname, “Night Witches.” On the ground, Private Dimitri Berko gallops his tank, the Red Army’s lithe little T-34, like a Cossack steed. In the turret above Dimitri rides his son, Valya, a Communist sergeant who issues his father orders while the war widens the gulf between them. In the skies, Dimitri’s daughter, Katya, flies with the Night Witches, until she joins a ferocious band of partisans in the forests around Kursk. Like Russia itself, the Berko family is suffering the fury and devastation of history’s most titanic tank battle while fighting to preserve what is sacred–their land, their lives, and each other–as Hitler flings against them his most potent armed force. Inexorable and devastating, a company of Mark VI Tiger tanks is commanded by one extraordinary SS officer, a Spaniard known as la Daga, the Dagger. He’d suffered a terrible wound at the hands of the Russians: now he has returned with a cold fury to exact his revenge. And above it all, one quiet man makes his own plan to bring Citadel crashing down and reshape the fate of the world. A remarkable story of men and arms, loyalty and betrayal, Last Citadel propels us into the claustrophobic confines of a tank in combat, into the tension of guerrilla tactics, and across the smoking charnel of one of history’s greatest battlefields. Panoramic, authentic, and unforgettable, it reverberates long after the last cannon sounds. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Eraldo Affinati