How are books by David Glantz

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Sid Guttridge
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Sid Guttridge » 30 Dec 2009 13:54

Hi Rich,

I am unclear. Are you saying the criticisms by Lawrence of Glantz are or are not "devastating"?

I never mentioned the criticisms of Zetterling and Qvist. All I recall from your link is that Zetterling stated that he didn't read much of Glantz's work on Kursk before writing his own. This seems more a weakness in Zetterling for not doing a thorough survey of existing historiography before embarking on his own project.

I don't want to come across as an uncritical fan of Glantz, but I do think he deserves substantive rather than sniping criticism and that due recognition should be given of his important contribution to the material available to us laymen.

Be he "polite" or "modest", Lawrence's criticisms of Glantz seem to be more measured than is being reported here. His style of "disagreement" seems responsible even if perhaps often not of any great significance.

Did Lawrence continue his detailed critique beyond the first 16 pages? if so, it doesn't seem to be in the link.

I repeat, "potential errors" are not errors. I am a "potential postman", but I am not actually one and therefore cannot be criticised for failures in the postal service. Glantz is not responsible for "potential errors", just real ones.

Must go prematurely,

Sid.

Aurora
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Aurora » 30 Dec 2009 14:01

Just to clarify, I was the one mentioning the word devastating but not in reference to Lawrence. I linked to a more recent discussion with Zetterling where he explains his position in more detail. I have to ask, did you read my initial and second post in this thread, and if so did you look at a translated version of the Swedish discussion?

Sid Guttridge
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Sid Guttridge » 30 Dec 2009 15:03

Hi Aurora,

No, I did not see a translation of Zetterling's critique. Did you put a link up earlier? If so, my apologies.

Sid.

P.S. Is it the one Qvist put up?

RichTO90
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by RichTO90 » 03 Jan 2010 19:22

Sid Guttridge wrote:Hi Aurora,

No, I did not see a translation of Zetterling's critique. Did you put a link up earlier? If so, my apologies.

Sid.

P.S. Is it the one Qvist put up?
It might help if you read it then, along with the other three threads I linked.

No, I don't think Chris' criticism was devastating. I don't think it was ever intended that way. It was revealing though; sloppiness isn't a virtue, especially in a historian. And well I know it, having screwed up enough times through sloppiness myself. So what then constitutes "sniping" of "minor" criticism? And since when was someone inviolable to peer review and criticism because they gave "important contribution to the material available to us laymen"? Does that mean that if I publish utter rubbish that contains bits that someone counts as "important contributions" you and all other laymen are not allowed to criticize me?

Somewhere in your argument there seems to be a flaw?

ljadw
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by ljadw » 04 Jan 2010 21:46

The problem with Glantz is that he is using unreliable and impossivble figures (probably because he is trusting totally unreliable Soviet propaganda sources )for the German side .
Ex;:Strom.Clemsom.edu/ publications P 14 (available on the web ) he is giving the following :German permanent losses in the East(dead,missing,disabled )-thus without wounded !! -:10758000
No comment

thom
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by thom » 05 Jan 2010 11:32

I am not that impressed by "To the Gates of Stalingrad". Major parts were already published in the Journal of Slavic Military Studies before. Glantz did not dig out new documents but just quotes from well-known books and document collections.

ljadw
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by ljadw » 05 Jan 2010 12:48

Is Glantz still publishing ? I have seen a picture of him on the web on which he seems to be very sick

Sid Guttridge
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Sid Guttridge » 05 Jan 2010 16:05

Hi Rich,

Yup, "sloppiness isn't a virtue, especially in a historian".

And, yes, I have shared your experience of screwing up through sloppiness myself.

You ask "So what then constitutes "sniping" of "minor" criticism?" (I am not sure I used the word "minor" on its own, but it conveys some of the sense of what I wrote so I won't argue the toss).

I have given some illustrations earlier: "All Lawrence's "disagreements" seem to relate to the German armed forces. Of these, a considerable number are not of a very substantive nature (such as whether a conference lasted one or two days). Others merely question the source of information without actually disagreeing with it. Still others are more comments than disagreements – i.e. “This is a very odd statement.” Where Lawrence disagrees and offers hard alternatives he never seems to give his own alternative source, which in turn affects the authority of his contradictions of Glantz." Lawrence seems intent on maximizing the number of criticisms he has of Glantz at the expense of their quality and should be no more be shielded from review and criticism than Glantz.

You also ask, "And since when was someone inviolable to peer review and criticism because they gave "important contribution to the material available to us laymen"? I never suggested that they were, so (again) I don't have to defend something I did not propose. My problem is with the questionable significance of some of the criticism, not the fact of it.

I was merely pointing out that, compared with some of the rather contrived and comparitively minor "disagreements" raised here and in related links against Glantz's work, his service to us laymen in giving us so much otherwise unattainable Soviet source material in English is relatively substantial. I wouldn't want this thread to lose sight of that.

It is quite possible that my arguments have a number of flaws, but you don't seem to be addressing one of them.

Cheers,

Sid.

Michate
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Michate » 06 Jan 2010 18:21

I am not that impressed by "To the Gates of Stalingrad". Major parts were already published in the Journal of Slavic Military Studies before. Glantz did not dig out new documents but just quotes from well-known books and document collections.
I have seen these JSMS articles. They arte still useful for putting together both German and "Soviet" documentation IMHO.

woodyab
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by woodyab » 19 Jan 2010 07:18

Hello all, just my two bobs worth...for what it's worth. I normally assess a book quickly about the Russian Front, if Paulus, is Paulus and not Von Paulus. I will still read the book but with some trepidition. I was pleased to see that Glantzs'
"Armageddon in Stalingrad", is Paulus...but disappointed when I saw in the index, "To the Gates of Stalingrad", a Von Paulus. I haven't read both books thro' yet but have noticed some trivial mistakes in the "To the Gates"...these could be more editorial than authorship.
I hope!
Well keep up the good work. I am pleased that Glantz mentions Jason Marks in the Preface his "Island of Fire" and "Angriff", in my humble opinion are masterpieces of research.
:oops:

Omeganian
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Omeganian » 02 Jan 2012 17:08

A question. In the introduction to the Stumbling Colossus, the part where Glantz discusses Suvorov and his books... how the heck did he manage to make so many mistakes?

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LWD
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by LWD » 03 Jan 2012 13:50

Perhaps you could supply a bit more detail?

Omeganian
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Omeganian » 03 Jan 2012 18:06

LWD wrote:Perhaps you could supply a bit more detail?
Of course:
Glantz wrote:This starkly revisionist book... was written by a former Soviet Army major, Viktor Rezun
For starters, his real name is Vladimir Rezun.
Glantz wrote:At the least one can validly question how an officer of his lowly rank could have had access to such material in the first place
????? Such a question might be valid for some armies, but for the Soviet Army, it is simply meaningless. Rank was secondary to position. Is Glantz really so ignorant?
Glantz wrote:he contended that Stalin... deliberately mobilized and deployed a massive strategic second echelon to achieve victory, that this echelon consisted of imposing "black shirted" NKVD formations and crack shock armies (such as the 16th and the 19th)
Now, that is a completely insane mixture. Suvorov discusses NKVD formations (part of no echelon nor the army) in one chapter, he discusses black divisions (by no means imposing) in the second echelon (neither quite mobilized nor deployed at the time) half a book later, and he discusses shirts... nowhere at all.
Glantz wrote:that General A. M. Vasilevsky and not General G. K. Zhukov was the architect and designated implementer of Stalin's cunning plan
I don't remember Suvorov stating such a thing, although lately (in books which came out after the Stumbling Colossus) he does praise Vasilevsky and criticizes Zhukov.
Glantz wrote:According to both Soviet and German classified sources, the formidable Soviet second strategic echelon, to which Rezun refers, including the vaunted 16th and 19th Armies and their associated mechanized corps, was considerably less than formidable, as attested to by its subsequent combat performance when its forces were committed to action between August and October. Second strategic echelon Soviet mechanized corps almost totally lacked modern medium and heavy tanks
Actually, quite consistent with Suvorov's statements. It's just that Glantz's description has too little in common with them. According to Suvorov, the tanks were mainly concentrated in the first echelon for a massive first strike, and the second echelon, when their turn to fight would have come, would have received the remains of these mechcorps in addition to their own - plus the factory output, of course. So, naturally, it was a bit poor on tanks under the conditions which came to pass.

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 03 Jan 2012 21:05

As a humble trainee historian I acquired "To the Gates of Stalingrad" as I had heard great things about Glantz's work and the way in which he was revolutionising the way historians looked at the Soviet-German war; and, I must also admit, I fell victim to the great marketing site that is Amazon. :lol:

I have started the book a couple of times but not got further than about page 50. By that point I was beginning to doubt my own sanity, as I had only ever seen rave reviews about his books, so was pleased to see this thread re-started and find that I wasn't the only one who struggled with his books.

They are undoubtedly fact heavy - a fact-rich environment one could say; but is that enough to make a great history book? Discuss, as my tutor would say! :lol:

As someone who has aspirations to write more, if perhaps not for a living, then at least to make a few bob in these times of austerity in the UK, this is a question which is of more than academic interest to me. Glantz's works certainly seem to have opened up a vast range of new sources to a English language audience, which is a great thing - if these are not always contemporary documents, then at least they are new sources to balance against those available already.

At this point I can hear my tutor responding but "what about the context of the source though!" - the best example of a historian discussing the challenges of his trade is from Rory Muir's book about the battle of Salamanca in 1812 in the Peninsular War. Each of his chapters contains a postscript in which he describes the sources he has used, where they disagree and how his analysis of them has led to the narrative of events he finally settled on. His work identifies the difficulty that the historian faces in admitting to the uncertainty in which he must deal - and if this is true for an engagement that lasted an afternoon and could be seen in its totality from one place, I can only imagine the fog in which historians of Glantz's subject work. :)

A last point is that contrary to another poster I found the maps totally infuriating - difficult to refer to and difficult to decypher. However, all these are just my personal opinions (and probably my personal faults as well! :lol: ).

In summary, I would humbly suggest that "To the Gates of Stalingrad" may be great history but unfortunately, for me, it wasn't a "great read". As such it is the loft, to be referred to if required in the future but not a book that I would look forward to reading. I suppose it's a balance that historians of every subject have to struggle with.

Regards,
Tom

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LWD
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Re: How are books by David Glantz

Post by LWD » 04 Jan 2012 15:58

Omeganian wrote:
LWD wrote:Perhaps you could supply a bit more detail?
Of course:
Glantz wrote:This starkly revisionist book... was written by a former Soviet Army major, Viktor Rezun
For starters, his real name is Vladimir Rezun.
And his pen name is Victor Suvorov. Hardly a significant point.
Glantz wrote:At the least one can validly question how an officer of his lowly rank could have had access to such material in the first place
????? Such a question might be valid for some armies, but for the Soviet Army, it is simply meaningless. Rank was secondary to position. Is Glantz really so ignorant?[/quote]
I doubt it. Even in the Red Army rank and position were pretty highly correlated were they not? And given his rank and his functions it's still a very valid question.
Glantz wrote:he contended that Stalin... deliberately mobilized and deployed a massive strategic second echelon to achieve victory, that this echelon consisted of imposing "black shirted" NKVD formations and crack shock armies (such as the 16th and the 19th)
Now, that is a completely insane mixture. Suvorov discusses NKVD formations (part of no echelon nor the army) in one chapter, he discusses black divisions (by no means imposing) in the second echelon (neither quite mobilized nor deployed at the time) half a book later, and he discusses shirts... nowhere at all.
Echelon refers to where they are. Suvorov didn't have to specifically state where they were to make that a reasonable inference. As for the shirt colors NKVD uniform shirts were dark grey or black were they not? It's not unreasonable for Glantz to refer to them as such without Rezun doing the same. As for the rest if it I'd like to see a direct quote, given the context minor changes could make this very reasonable or not.
Glantz wrote:that General A. M. Vasilevsky and not General G. K. Zhukov was the architect and designated implementer of Stalin's cunning plan
I don't remember Suvorov stating such a thing, although lately (in books which came out after the Stumbling Colossus) he does praise Vasilevsky and criticizes Zhukov.
So you are critizeing Glantz for something you don't remember? What does Glantz praising or critizing officers have to do with Suvorov's statements about who was responsible for something?
Glantz wrote:According to both Soviet and German classified sources, the formidable Soviet second strategic echelon, to which Rezun refers, including the vaunted 16th and 19th Armies and their associated mechanized corps, was considerably less than formidable, as attested to by its subsequent combat performance when its forces were committed to action between August and October. Second strategic echelon Soviet mechanized corps almost totally lacked modern medium and heavy tanks
Actually, quite consistent with Suvorov's statements. It's just that Glantz's description has too little in common with them.
Which makes no sense at all.
According to Suvorov, the tanks were mainly concentrated in the first echelon for a massive first strike, and the second echelon, when their turn to fight would have come, would have received the remains of these mechcorps in addition to their own - plus the factory output, of course. So, naturally, it was a bit poor on tanks under the conditions which came to pass.
The way this was written it's not at all clear that there is any specific problem with Glantz. Now I wouldn't say he's perfect by any means indeed I've seen some very valid critisims of him both on this forum and elsewhere but this wasn't one of them.

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