How are books by David Glantz

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Panzer Leader
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How are books by David Glantz

Post by Panzer Leader » 10 Jan 2009 01:40

How are books by David Glantz?

As he has written many books about the Eastern Front such as the Colossus series about the Red Army and the Battle of Kursk, which I was seriously thinking about picking up at Borders today.

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LWD
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by LWD » 10 Jan 2009 02:00

He's got a pretty good rep. I think The Bear Went Over the Mountain is on line if you want to check out his writing style. He was one of the first western authors to make extensive use of the Soviet archives and was a US army officer as well.

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Sid Guttridge » 10 Jan 2009 12:25

Hi Panzer Leader,

Personally I like Glantz's books. They are fact-heavy and have numerous sequential divisional-level maps that allow developments to be followed with unusual clarity. If you have a serious interest in military history, then his books are for you. On the other hand, if you want personal memoirs and a bit of first-hand, shoot-em-up action, they are probably not. Glantz's books are definitely for thinking adults.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Shoobedoo
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Shoobedoo » 10 Jan 2009 15:46

Opinions may vary somewhat, but generally speaking Col. Glantz is considered one of the best in the business when it comes to the Eastern Front. As Sid mentioned, Glantz's books are primarily for serious students of history, and his books contain few if any personal accounts, so if this is what you are looking for you will quickly tire of his writings. If on the other hand you want to know what unit was where on a certain date, in what strength, it's mission, and so on, then Glantz is your man. The first couple of books I read from Glantz almost bored me to death, but I gradually began to appreciate the tremendous detail that Glantz books go into at the operational level, and I now find his works nearly indispensable for serious study of the campaigns and battles on the Eastern front. Glantz is almost exclusively a Soviet specialist, and there are a number of very good online publications he has authored that are available for free download in Adobe PDF format, one of these is "The Soviet-German War 1941-1945" which can be found at this link here.... http://www.strom.clemson.edu/publicatio ... r41-45.pdf and this should give you a general idea of what to expect from a Glantz book. Several other of these free publications can be found at places like the US Army Center for Military History website, and the US Army Command and General Staff College digital library if you want to have a look at them. At one time there was also a PDF version of his book "Zhukov's Greatest Defeat" available online, but it may have since been removed due to copyright issues.

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Urmel » 11 Jan 2009 15:26

They are very good for the Soviet side of things, but in particular earlier ones are not that impressive when it comes to the German side of things.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by trollelite » 17 Jan 2009 14:23

Just know his material about German side doesn't go far beyond Carell and Kurowski.

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Sid Guttridge » 19 Jan 2009 18:57

Hi trollelite,

I doubt Glantz would take light-weight, non-academic, slanted hero-worship by the likes of Carel and Kurowski seriously as sources.

Glantz writes military history from numerous primary archival sources for an adult audience, not first-hand battle adventure stories for impressionable teenagers!

One grows out of Carel and Kurowski as one reaches adulthood. One grows into Glantz as one's intellect matures.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Urmel
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Urmel » 19 Jan 2009 21:23

I am afraid that in his earlier books Glantz is using low-quality German sources such as Carell quite extensively. I never understood why he is thorough for the Soviet side and not for the German side.

I believe his recent books are more thorough for the German side as well.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Sid Guttridge » 20 Jan 2009 11:00

Hi Urmel,

Glantz was a Soviet specialist, which was why his early books were from the Soviet view point and used primarily Soviet sources. This was also their value, because German-derived versions of the Eastern Front have never been in short supply in the West. Only John Erickson's books gave a widely available Soviet-derived version in English.

Glantz's more recent books certainly do make much more of German sources and his latest on the failed Soviet offensives into Romania in the spring of 1944 certainly benefits from this. However, this should not be allowed to detract from the value of his earlier works, for most of which there is no authoritative alternative version in English.

Glantz's real contribution is to bring our knowledge of Soviet operations up to levels approaching what was already known of German operations. Without his work we might continue to over credit the Germans and significantly under value the qualitative, rather than quantitive, contribution of the Red Army.

And nobody does sequentiqal maps like him!

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Michate » 20 Jan 2009 18:38

...This was also their value, because German-derived versions of the Eastern Front have never been in short supply in the West. Only John Erickson's books gave a widely available Soviet-derived version in English.


Well, this is not really correct.
Of what German memoirs there was no short supply were mostly generals' memoirs, notably Manstein's and Guderian, which were widely parroted, though these are unfortunately not the sine ira et studio studies that are necessary.

On the other hand, more serious German operational studies, which are not in rich supply, but also far from completely lacking, seem to have been unknown to most interested in the West and seldom integrated into even scholar Western studies (Ziemke being the big exception). Only few will have actually ever looked into e.g. Klink's "Gesetz des Handelns" (on Zitadelle), Kehrig's "Stalingrad" or Meier-Welcker's "Abwehrkämpfe am Nordflügel der Ostfront".
Now ask anyone, whether he has read Thomas Kröker's study of army group Mitte before and during Bagration (which is surpreme, obviously he looked at the complete set of remaining records), or at least has ever heard the author's name.

These studies actually contain many insights, which were later sold by others as new relevations in the West.

A little more attention to these studies on behalf of the Soviet sources community might also have avoided some myths that by now have become quite deep seated.

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Wolf » 20 Jan 2009 21:01

Panzer Leader wrote:How are books by David Glantz?

As he has written many books about the Eastern Front such as the Colossus series about the Red Army and the Battle of Kursk, which I was seriously thinking about picking up at Borders today.


I have myself not read much by Glantz but he has drawn criticism for his heavy reliance on Soviet sources.

Basically it is said that he draws his information from Soviet accounts and does not check up on them, compare with German accounts etc - like using Soviet figures for German losses (it is claimed that Soviet sources are notably unreliable when it comes to numbers of German troops and losses, usually greatly exaggerated).

And his analysis of various events, of course, suffers because of this.


...but again, I have read very little by Glantz myself.

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Urmel » 20 Jan 2009 21:22

Michate wrote:
...This was also their value, because German-derived versions of the Eastern Front have never been in short supply in the West. Only John Erickson's books gave a widely available Soviet-derived version in English.


Well, this is not really correct.
Of what German memoirs there was no short supply were mostly generals' memoirs, notably Manstein's and Guderian, which were widely parroted, though these are unfortunately not the sine ira et studio studies that are necessary.

On the other hand, more serious German operational studies, which are not in rich supply, but also far from completely lacking, seem to have been unknown to most interested in the West and seldom integrated into even scholar Western studies (Ziemke being the big exception). Only few will have actually ever looked into e.g. Klink's "Gesetz des Handelns" (on Zitadelle), Kehrig's "Stalingrad" or Meier-Welcker's "Abwehrkämpfe am Nordflügel der Ostfront".
Now ask anyone, whether he has read Thomas Kröker's study of army group Mitte before and during Bagration (which is surpreme, obviously he looked at the complete set of remaining records), or at least has ever heard the author's name.

These studies actually contain many insights, which were later sold by others as new relevations in the West.

A little more attention to these studies on behalf of the Soviet sources community might also have avoided some myths that by now have become quite deep seated.


It is quite ironic that what appears is in fact needed is a David Glantz for the 'proper' German view, but I doubt that would get through all the SS-Kingtiger p*rn and 'Adolf lost me the war' memoirs.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Michate » 21 Jan 2009 09:27

It is quite ironic that what appears is in fact needed is a David Glantz for the 'proper' German view, but I doubt that would get through all the SS-Kingtiger p*rn and 'Adolf lost me the war' memoirs.


Yep, this is very correct (and was already pointed out by General von Senger in his comments to one of the AoW symposiums). Basically an update of Ziemke with new sources integrated.
Unfortunately even the last major study by Frieser in the DRZW Vol. 8, though well written in the author's usual clear style and language, and offering tons of sourced information and some good insight, does not always escape that view you mention.

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Qvist » 29 Jan 2009 16:29

As far as I can tell, Glantz has not actually drawn on Soviet archival material to any very notable extent, if by that we mean the records of the Soviet units and formations. Rather, he has drawn on Soviet-era studies, published as well as unpublished.

I have always found his books very useful for the detailed insights they provide about the Red Army. That being said, his books are generally neither very reliable nor very informative about the Germans, which is inevitably a major drawback if you want to consider them books about the Eastern Front as opposed to books about the Red Army. His quantitative information about the Germans is frequently not good, and is sometimes drawn from Soviet estimates of no real value (although he is far from as consistently off the mark on this point as Erickson, who consistently uses such sources). Also on other points he makes major mistakes about German dispositions. For example, in his Leningrad book he writes that 11th Army and most of its forces were shifted to HG Mitte in order to help deal with Mars in late 1942, which is completely wrong. Elsewhere he claims that a considerable number of German divisions were moved from the ukraine to the central sector to deal with the smolensk offensive in summer/Fall 1943, which again lacks any foundation in reality.

I'd have to agree with Michate and add that it is a myth that the German side of things (as opposed to "The German view", as if such a thing existed) has been amply reflected in Anglo-American literature. On the contrary, I would say that most if not all of the most important and relevant accounts in post-war German literature have been largely ignored and what is worse, so has for the most part the documentation. This has changed for the better in recent years, especially with the translation of the DRZW series, but there is still a lot of work to do, just as with the Soviet side.

cheers

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Art » 30 Jan 2009 10:59

Qvist wrote:Elsewhere he claims that a considerable number of German divisions were moved from the ukraine to the central sector to deal with the smolensk offensive in summer/Fall 1943, which again lacks any foundation in reality.

You mean most probably this fragment:
Although it had only limited success, the Smolensk offensive did succeed in drawing 16 German divisions northward from the Khar'kov region.

from "When titans clashed". The original source says about 13 divisions from Ore-Bryansk region and 3 from elswhere (Istomin "Smolenskaya operatsiya" or a chapter on Smolensk operation by the same author in "Operatsiyi sovetskikh vooruzhyonnykh sil ...") So one cannot say that Glantz has no foundation, but it would be better to say that here he quotes the source without due attention (which it is not good, of course, but somewhat more excusable).

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