How are books by David Glantz

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Qvist
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Qvist » 21 Jul 2009 07:54

Well, the information he gives about German strengths, losses and so on are certainly a decidedly weak point of his books. Unfortunately there are also cases of wrong understanding of the Soviet figures he quote (f.e. Krivosheev's). In other respects I find his books valuable.

cheers

ljadw
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by ljadw » 21 Jul 2009 08:38

I did not refer to the Sovjet Army points(having only little knowledge on this)and will willingly agreed to the observations of Qvist .

Sid Guttridge
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Sid Guttridge » 22 Jul 2009 11:56

Hi ljadw,

OK, Glantz's maps are "good" and his notes are "good".

I don't quite understand some of your criticisms, almost all of which relate to the Germans, whereas Glantz is primarily a Soviet specialist.

Are you suggesting that he shouldn't put his sources in just because most of his readers probably won't consult them? How can anyone check his material then? A non-fiction writer's credibility depends heavily on his provision of verifiable sources. All this proves is that Glantz is providing higher standards of evidence than you, personally require. This seems no bad thing for someone who is not writing popular history but academic history.

p.158 - Are you suggesting that Hitler was not driven by his own hatred of Bolchevism and that he did not personally ordered AGC to capture Moscow? Of course not. I don't see that the absence of notes to cover these well known facts in this specific instance represent any great weakness. And as you point out, he does provide a reference for his third, more obscure contention about German morale.

p.158 - Are you suggesting that Glantz is contending that two cold days alone indicate an entire record breaking winter? Of course not. If he didn't give any examples such as these two days, presumably you would complain about that. What do you want? Three months of weather statistics? Is that practical in a book of this sort? Is there some dispute about the severity of the winter of 1941-42?

What is wrong with giving estimates for German strength in the main text and other Soviet estimates in a note? Should he suppress the alternative figures, which in any case are at least partly based on different criteria?

And so on......

It is widely recognised that Glantz is a Soviet specialist and that the main value of his books is from that perspective. If you have no interest in the Soviet perspective, that is one thing, but the tone of your attack on Glantz is completely unjustified.

Cheers,

Sid.

ljadw
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by ljadw » 22 Jul 2009 18:09

Sid: some points: concerning his bibliography: I think is a bad habitude of lot of (most?) academics not to think of their readers when puplishing their bibliography (and when they are publishing a book, it is no more a thesis). Most of Glantz's readers having not his knowledge of the Russian side of the war,some of them may be willing to lose o.s. in the material ,but how can they,if the bibliography consists mainly of inaccessible works ,only available in Russian? I doubt that many could understand-read Russian or that many could have access tho a university library. I think he should have better done giving a concise bibliography , accesible and available in English ,for those wanting to go further. But I think we have to gree to disagree on this point. On p. 158: he writes"Driven by his own hatred of Bolchevism.."I can only translate this as that the aim of Typhoon was to capture Moscow because(among others)Hitler's hatred of Bolchevism. I thougth that the aim of Typhoon was to use Moscow as a baite to lure the "last" Russian strategic reserves into battle. Btw: on p. 13 ,Glantz is citing Hitler saying" Moscow is of no great importance". Why did Hitler change his mind? No explanation from Glantz. On p.158 concerning the wheater:I do not see the utility of referring to the winter in a chapter concerning Typhoon. I could also say that the cold days in november had shortened the mud period and were facilitating Typhoon. I thought that Typhoon failed due to the Russian mobilisation. He also writes"the worst had yet to come" I can only translate this as "it would be much colder in january and afterwards",maybe, but what is the relevantcy with Typhoon? and you asking"Is there some dispute about the severity of the winter of 1941-1942 ? Yes . My source: Russia at war:Pertinent aspects of Nazi-Sovjet Warfare during the winter of 1941-1942 "Zhukov stated that during the november general offensive the temperature at the Moscow front remained stable at-7° to -10° C(+19 to + 14 F " Generally I think that the faults in the book are due to the following 1)He is an academic and academics do not write for a general public:they are publishing sources on to which they have access and they are thinking the same applies for the readers.But if I am reading his book,I don't have next me 50 pages of notes or 10ths books to consult unceasing.2)I have the convicting that he is an operationalist(a to narrow point of view) and that he is not interested in logistics(amon others). He is not ginving an explanation for the essential:how was the Sovjet-union able 1)to survive in 1941 and 2)to plant the Red Flag on may 1st 1945 on the Reichstag?Maybe it was not his intention,but what was his intention? To know something about it,I was following lqast year(as a ferret :D ) the discussions in "WW II in Eastern Europe"on this forum,and I can only say that I have learned much more from the information and explanations of Qvist,Art,Darrin,youself( :D )(my apologies for forgetting the names of all the others :oops: )There I learned much about the raiway bottle-necks,the logisticks,ammunition supply ,operational tanks ....All things I did not found in "Before Stalingrad". Maybe I had done better looking for another book to spend my £ 9,9 . Have to stop now,becoming to tired :oops:

ljadw
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by ljadw » 22 Jul 2009 18:31

Forgot a point:his giving estimates for German strength in the main text and Sovjet estimates in a footnote . What's wrong with that? It's CONFUSING giving 2 contradictory(not alternative) figures,of whom one beying wrong and not saying which one is correct . The reader has to search himself,due to the looking over(?) of the academic writer.

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Qvist
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Qvist » 22 Jul 2009 21:14

A bibliography isn't a recommended reading list for readers, it's an overview of books used by the author. It's there to show the sources he has used. What Glantz has done here is correct AFAICS, and it would have been worthy of criticism had he done anything less.

cheers

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Kunikov
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Kunikov » 28 Jul 2009 03:04

ljadw wrote:Sid: some points: concerning his bibliography: I think is a bad habitude of lot of (most?) academics not to think of their readers when puplishing their bibliography (and when they are publishing a book, it is no more a thesis). Most of Glantz's readers having not his knowledge of the Russian side of the war,some of them may be willing to lose o.s. in the material ,but how can they,if the bibliography consists mainly of inaccessible works ,only available in Russian? I doubt that many could understand-read Russian or that many could have access tho a university library. I think he should have better done giving a concise bibliography , accesible and available in English ,for those wanting to go further. But I think we have to gree to disagree on this point.


As pointed out, academic standards dictate that the author use endnotes/footnotes and list his sources. It does not matter whether that source is readily accessible or available to you or any other reader, the point is that if Glantz is asked for verification of a factual point or detail the answer is readily available for review in the listed source(s). In using Russian sources Glantz is doing readers who do not know the language a favor and giving voice to literature that they have no way of knowing exists.

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Kunikov
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Kunikov » 28 Jul 2009 03:10

ljadw wrote:Forgot a point:his giving estimates for German strength in the main text and Sovjet estimates in a footnote . What's wrong with that? It's CONFUSING giving 2 contradictory(not alternative) figures,of whom one beying wrong and not saying which one is correct . The reader has to search himself,due to the looking over(?) of the academic writer.


If I understand your example correctly, I believe that Glantz might simply be giving the German strength and then Soviet estimates to show how close, or far, the Soviets were in their estimations of their enemy.

Aurora
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Aurora » 28 Dec 2009 05:09

Zetterling has leveled some devastating criticism against Glantz use of sources, and the conclusions he draws from them. This has been discussed on other websites in the past, recently Zetterling himself commented on it in detail on the Swedish Skalman.nu site: http://forum.skalman.nu/viewtopic.php?f ... 4&start=15

Google translate should provide a decent enough translation.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Sid Guttridge » 29 Dec 2009 13:01

Hi Aurora,

Two things:

1) Anyone can level "devastating criticism". The question is whether it is justified.

2) As to justification, unfortunattely I cannot read Swedish so it is unclear of what these "devastating criticisms" consist. Can you enlighten us?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Aurora » 29 Dec 2009 13:42

Certainly, you asked earlier if his errors were more of the innocent typo kind or more fundamental and thus undermining his theories. The link to the Swedish forum contains some interesting opinions, reading Zetterling it would look that his gripe is more with analytical errors resulting from the use of sources than anything else.

Google translate is a free online service that should provide you with a comprehendable translation of the forum discussion, you can just paste the link here: http://translate.google.com/

Zetterling firstly takes issue with a (huge) number of factual errors in his books and how these affect the narrative, Glantz account of how the Wehrmacht advance on Moscow was stopped in 1941 for example('Even before poor weather arrived, however, a series of Soviet counterblows along the entire front helped stabilize the situation' Glantz asserts), and how these blows manifisted themselves. When in Glantz view "...most of 4th Panzer Division’s armour had been reduced to smoking hulks" in one of these blows, it was in fact a minor skirmish where the Germans suffered 6 permanent losses.

This leads to the broader and more serious critique, that his approach is inherently flawed in that it takes Soviet archival sources (to the extent he makes use of them) at face value with a minimum of critical approach.

Niklas Zetterling wrote:Vi måste ha klart för oss (vilket tyvärr inte Glantz har) att den största diskrepansen mellan tyska och sovjetiska källor är att de sovjetiska överdriver tysk numerär och framför allt tyska förluster i en omfattning som överstiger det mesta.

Glantz har inte klart för sig att de sovjetiska källorna ofta fick sina brister i ett mycket tidigt skede av sin tillkomst – och detta gäller såväl hemliga som öppna.

RichTO90
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by RichTO90 » 29 Dec 2009 14:17

Sid Guttridge wrote:1) Anyone can level "devastating criticism". The question is whether it is justified.


I agree that "devastating" may be an amorphous adjective in this case. However, I do know that Chris Lawrence went through Red Storm Rising (I think that was it...covering Stalingrad to Kursk?) and found an average of about one major factual error per page. Ranging from the innocuous "Panthers with 88s" to mistakes on dates, events, and persons. Most of them stemming from his continuing reliance on Soviet military journals and histories as source material for German data, rather than using German archival data. Of course, that is no worse than the too common habit of writers using German sources for Soviet events... :lol:

BTW, I get the sense that in recent years Glantz has been modifying his sle reliance on Soviet sources ad has been interjecting a much more balanced use of sources in his work...but that's just my impression.

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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Aurora » 29 Dec 2009 14:27

My dictionary defines amorphous as having no real or defined form :P Reading Zetterling's criticism I am not too sure of that. On the contrary he is very blunt and concise, amongst other thing he writes:

"The fact of the matter is that Glantz in these pages discusses empty talk. Poorly supported by sources, and in particular the absence of any meaningful analysis. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated instance, but rather part of an overall pattern." *

If that is not devastating I surely don't know what is, especially since the whole criticism thing seems abit of a taboo in academic circles (my amateruish impression). It is true that Glantz has revised his view on Kursk in light of later research**, but I don't think that in any way invalidates the critique of him. If anything it is important that it surfaces since he is held in incredibly high esteem and his research likewise.

*My translation of his words

**On the other hand his more recent work on the Soviet operations in Romania 1944 received interestingly similar criticism on these boards on his use of sources.

EDIT: tried to polish the quote and translation a bit.

RichTO90
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by RichTO90 » 29 Dec 2009 14:48

Aurora wrote:My dictionary defines amorphous as having no real or defined form :P Reading Zetterling's criticism I am not too sure of that.


Um, until you posted the "real or defined form" of Niklas' criticism...then it was amorphous? I might know what his criticisms of Glantz might be :lol: , but I'm not sure that Sid or anyone else who doesn't know Niklas pretty well would?

On the contrary he is very blunt and concise


Yes, Niklas is always that. :wink: And now, since you have explained what you meant by "devastating", I think it is less amorphous and more concrete. :lol:

the whole criticism thing seems abit of a taboo in academic circles


Not really, it amazes me that there isn't more bloodshed involved. :P If the code duello was still in vogue I know that Trevor alone would have called out at least a dozen or so historians... 8-)

Sid Guttridge
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Sid Guttridge » 29 Dec 2009 15:12

Hi rich T,

"Red Storm Rising" is a book of fiction by Tom Clancy. I don't think even Glantz's most trenchant opponents would hold him responsible for any errors in that!

Which Glantz book did Chris Lawrence actually go through?

Glantz's books are extremely "fact heavy" and this necessarily leaves a lot of hostages to fortune. However, I would rather have him getting 1% of a large number of facts wrong than just waffle vaguely. He breaks so much new ground for us English speakers that to make too much of his occasional errors seems like nit-picking.

And how substantial are these errors? As you say, "Panthers with 88s" is pretty innocuous.

I agree that Glantz seems to be taking more notice of German sources. But his strength has always been his access to Soviet sources.

Cheers,

Sid.

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