Widely regarded as the most accomplished general of World War II, the Soviet military legend Marshal Georgy Zhukov at last gets the full-scale biographical treatment he has long deserved.
A man of indomitable will and fierce determination, Georgy Zhukov was the Soviet Union’s indispensable commander through every one of the critical turning points of World War II. It was Zhukov who saved Leningrad from capture by the Wehrmacht in September 1941, Zhukov who led the defense of Moscow in October 1941, Zhukov who spearheaded the Red Army’s march on Berlin and formally accepted Germany’s unconditional surrender in the spring of 1945. Drawing on the latest research from recently opened Soviet archives, including the uncensored versions of Zhukov’s own memoirs, Roberts offers a vivid portrait of a man whose tactical brilliance was matched only by the cold-blooded ruthlessness with which he pursued his battlefield objectives.
After the war, Zhukov was a key player on the geopolitical scene. As Khrushchev’s defense minister, he was one of the architects of Soviet military strategy during the Cold War. While lauded in the West as a folk hero—he was the only Soviet general ever to appear on the cover of Time magazine—Zhukov repeatedly ran afoul of the Communist political authorities. Wrongfully accused of disloyalty, he was twice banished and erased from his country’s official history—left out of books and paintings depicting Soviet World War II victories. Piercing the hyperbole of the Zhukov personality cult, Roberts debunks many of the myths that have sprung up around Zhukov’s life and career to deliver fresh insights into the marshal’s relationships with Stalin, Khrushchev, and Eisenhower.
A remarkably intimate portrait of a man whose life was lived behind an Iron Curtain of official secrecy, Stalin’s General is an authoritative biography that restores Zhukov to his rightful place in the twentieth-century military pantheon.
Geoffrey Roberts is the author of Stalin’s Wars and Victory at Stalingrad. He is professor and head of the School of History at University College Cork, Ireland. Roberts is a frequent contributor to British, Irish, and American newspapers and to… More about Geoffrey Roberts
“At long last we have a full biography of Marshal Zhukov. Geoffrey Roberts has written a well-informed, judiciously balanced, and lively account, covering not only Zhukov’s role in 1941–1945 as a frontline commander and Stalin’s closest military advisor but also his formative experiences in the prewar Red Army, his complex family relationships, his place in Cold War military planning, and his lapses into political disfavor under both Stalin and Khrushchev. There is a wealth of new material here, including firsthand insights from Zhukov’s relatives. A three-dimensional picture emerges of the peasant boy who became the greatest general of World War II. This is a splendid book, comprehensively detailed, readily understood, and it is essential reading for anyone interested in the Russian-German conflict or the Soviet experience.”—Evan Mawdsley, author of December 1941 and Thunder in the East