The Folly and Fog of War


I’ve often heard that the ones who see the wort of war don’t talk about it; it’s the “hang-backs” who see the glory, the romance to such nasty business. Still, time can heal somewhat, and so can a decades later memoir of conflicts such as the horrendous ones on the Eastern Front of WWII. 

Such a book is William Lubbeck’s At Leningrad’s Gates, a German infantryman’s recollections of the German siege of Leningrad. The siege was eventually unsuccessful, despite Hitler’s desire to raze Leningrad and to turn the city’s site into a lake. Lubbeck waited until 2006 to have his book published and gave as much of an account of both sides’ experience as I’m sure he could manage. 

Military types are almost never long on viewpoint in such cases; the duties and trials of combatants all but forbids it. But Lubbeck gives as broad an experience as he can manage, and it’s a much better read than that of many historians. I urge you to read it; in Lubbeck’s hands this conflict tells much about the folly – as well as the fog – of war.


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