Monday, July 21, 2008

Review: The Winter War Russia Aganist Finland by Richard W. Condon

the winter war: Russia against Finland by Richard W. Condon - This is one of the old (early 1970s) one dollar trade sized paperbacks put out by Ballantines. The original series was called "Ballantine's History of World War 2" but they realized that was rather limiting and so it became "Ballantine's History of the Violent Century". The series featured many illustrations, photos and maps in the 160 page book as opposed to most mass market paperbacks of the time which featured few illustrations and perhaps a photo section.

In "the winter war" (yes, it's not capitalized on the cover) the author gives a brief but thorough account of the Soviet-Finnish War of 1939-40, including the events leading up to the Russian invasion and the post-war effects. The book does not give deep details on orders of battle, troop counts or weapon specs, but as a narrative history of the war it is fairly thorough in it's retelling of the significant battles and other activities. There are a decent number of maps which are clear and well rendered. The text is well edited and sharply honed to tell the story without extraneous personal accounts, although there are some stories of individual heroics and ordeals. It strikes an excellent balance between a more scholarly report on the war and an easy to read narrative.

I would recommend this book to anyone wishing to gain an understanding of this little known but very significant conflict. It is much more thorough than a Wikipedia entry, or even an Osprey Campaign book, but not so detailed as a full book treatment. These old Ballantine books can be hard to find, but if you can locate one in decent shape they can be wonderful additions to any military history library.

Link to LibraryThing entry for this book

No comments: