A Writer at War is based on the notebooks of novelist turned war correspondent, Vasily Grossman. Grossman was an outstanding eye-witness of the horrors of the fight against the German invasion of the Soviet Union in World War Two.
It depicts as never before the crushing conditions on the Eastern Front and the lives and deaths of infantrymen, tank drivers, pilots, snipers and civilians alike.
Deemed unfit for service when the Germans invaded in 1941, Grossman became a special correspondent for Red Star, the Red Army newspaper. A portly novelist in his mid-thirties with no military experience. Remarkably, he spent three of the following four years at the front observing with a writer's eye the most pitiless fighting ever known. Red Army soldiers came to love this awkward intellectual for his physical courage and for the honesty of his reporting. Grossman witnessed almost all the major events on the Eastern Front: the appalling defeats and desperate retreats of 1941 when more than 3 million men were captured, the defence of Moscow and fighting in the Ukraine. In August 1942 he was posted to Stalingrad where he remained during four months of brutal street-fighting. He was present at the battle of Kursk, the largest tank engagement in history, and, as the Red Army advanced, he reached Berdichev where his worst fears about his mother and other relations were confirmed. A Jew himself, he undertook the faithful recording of Holocaust atrocities in the Ukraine.
Antony Beevor first came across the notebooks of Vasily Grossmen when working on his book Stalingrad.
Dr Lyubov Vinogradova, a researcher, translator and freelance journalist, studied biology at university in Moscow, as well as taking degrees in English and German. She received a PhD in microbiology in 2000. She has worked with Antony Beevor for the last ten years on his three most recent books as well as with other British and American historians.