Stalin's War: Soviet Uniforms & Militaria 1941-45 in Colour Photographs ハードカバー – 2006/6/1
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Laszlo Bekesi is a Hungarian economist and sociologist. Now a lecturer in geopolitics at Budapest Corvinus University, he wrote his PhD thesis on the cycles of military symbolism in the former Eastern Bloc countries. For many years he has collected Soviet militaria and related documents and photographs.
First, the book does not off much in the way of uniforms. Those that are displayed are only high ranking officer uniforms. You will find very little on the equipment and uniform of the common Red Army private or even NCO.
Second, the book shows pictures of reenactors wearing repops clothes. The author does claim these to be reenactors in the photos, but when eyeing photos in books to see real Red Army Frontoviks, seeing other reenactors doesn't give you the chance to notice how the real soldiers carried themselves or wore their gear. With all the photos taken during the war, these spaces would have been better used if they had been populated with war time photos.
Third, nothing of interest is really shown in the book. If you are only interested in officer uniforms fine. Other than a neat 3-4 page part on partisans using M1985 Winchesters (which is mostly photos of the gun anyway), you will be better off on spending your money on another book.
After buying the book earlier this year, and already being disappointed, I found out this past weekend that the author has come under scrutiny for apparently using post war items in another book and improperly mis-identifying them. I felt completely defeated.
Some other books I have come across and been impressed by are followed here: Red Army Handbook 1939 to 1945 by Steven Zaloga and Red Army Uniforms 1918-1944 by Anton Shelito (who also wrote another book I have not yet seen).
Some books with good info and period photos are The Unknown War by Harrison E. Salisbury, and the Time Life series on WWII.
Stay away from Laszlo Bekesi!
My other books in the top three are long out of print book by world war 2 veteran Pavel Lipatov who has period photographs to illustrate actual uniform wear, and a 1958 official history of soviet uniforms, which shows all the rules, and regulations.
I can understand you, fellow reviewer, how the book rubbed you the wrong way, but I found a lot of images of privates and NCOs in this book. I recommend a book Uniforma Krasnoi Armii 1918-1945(uniforms of the red army 1918-1945) by Shatilo, Roginskiy, and Tsiplenkov. It has 98% color reenactment photos, showing about 50% lower ranked/ and 50% officers. I also came across an article in a Russian periodical Serzhant profiling a life of a red army private, what pieces of attire and equipment he had. Many great reenacted photographs there.
Back to this title: it combines color photography taken in reenactment, with wartime images.
I scanned images that i found interesting. Good research on part of the author.
This book definitely provided useful pictures taken in theater of soldiers with equipment I did not often see. Optics used by the red army, for example, are very well represented here.
"Stalin's War" is NOT a comprehensive guide to the Red Army, however it does an excellent job of skimming through the uniforms of the Red Army as it developed from the RKKA to the beast at the end of the war. While yes, there are many higher ranking officers uniforms, I found many examples of the private soldier as well. I really enjoy this book and it is an essential part of my militaria library.