Writer who caught the reality of war, thecritic.co.uk

From August 1941 until 1945, Vasily Grossman was a correspondent for Red Star, a daily military newspaper as important during those years as Pravda and Izvestia, the official newspapers of the Communist Party and the Supreme Soviet. Many of the best writers of the time wrote for Red Star and it was read by both soldiers and civilians.

According to David Ortenberg, its chief editor, Grossman’s 12 long articles about the Battle of Stalingrad not only won him personal acclaim but also helped to make Red Star itself more popular. Red Army soldiers saw Grossman as one of them — someone who chose to share their lives rather than merely to praise Stalin’s military strategy from the safety of an army headquarters far from the front line.

Grossman’s articles remain of interest for two reasons. First, they provide the basis for several sections of Stalingrad, the great novel that is the prequel to Life and Fate. Second, they are a model of vivid, thoughtful and truthful journalism. I am not aware of any English-language equivalent to them. Läs artikel