• The Reckoning

  • The Defeat of Army Group South, 1944
  • By: Prit Buttar
  • Narrated by: Richard Trinder
  • Length: 20 hrs and 5 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (93 ratings)

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The Reckoning  By  cover art

The Reckoning

By: Prit Buttar
Narrated by: Richard Trinder
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Publisher's Summary

Bloomsbury presents The Reckoning by Prit Buttar, read by Richard Trinder.

By the end of 1944 the Red Army was poised on the very frontiers of the Third Reich. How had the once unstoppable, mighty Wehrmacht faltered so disastrously? Certainly it had suffered defeats before, in particular the vast catastrophe of Stalingrad, but it was in 1944 that the war was ultimately lost. It was no longer a case of if but rather when the Red Army would be at the gates of Berlin.

Prit Buttar retraces the ebb and flow of the various battles and campaigns fought throughout the Ukraine and Romania in 1944. January and February saw Army Group South encircled in the Korsun Pocket. Although many of the encircled troops did escape, in part due to Soviet intelligence and command failures, the Red Army would endeavour to not make the same mistakes again. Indeed, in the coming months the Red Army would demonstrate an ability to learn and improve, reinventing itself as a war-winning machine, demonstrated clearly in its success in the Iasi-Kishinev operation. 

The view of the Red Army as a huge, unskilled horde that rolled over everything in its path is just one myth that The Reckoning reassess. So too does it re-evaluate the apparent infallibility of German military commanders, the denial of any involvement in (or often even knowledge of) the heinous crimes committed in the occupied territories by German forces and the ineffectiveness of Axis allies, such as the Romanians at Iasi, to withstand the Soviet forces. Like all myths, these contain many truths, but also a great many distortions, all of which are skilfully unpicked and analysed in this powerful retelling of 1944 on the Eastern Front.

©2020 Prit Buttar (P)2020 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"The Reckoning reinforces Prit Buttar's standing as a leading authority on modern warfare in Eastern Europe. If you find the scale and complexity of the Eastern Front battles daunting, pick up a copy, relax and let Prit Buttar lead the way...totally absorbing narrative." (Mike Peters, chairman, International Guild of Battlefield Guides)

"The panorama of the WWII Eastern Front is so huge, it's often difficult to comprehend. Dr Prit Buttar has nailed it through his judicious blend of the strategic and tactical - commanders’ debates and soldiers’ experiences. At times this is Sven Hassell brought vividly to life. The Reckoning is well-balanced throughout, fair to both sides, employing the widest range of Russian and German sources I've ever seen. Long overdue, I am sure it will replace all previous accounts of Army Group South." (Peter Caddick-Adams, author and broadcaster)

What listeners say about The Reckoning

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Exceptional

As always, Buttar is extremely informative and descriptive. Leaving no details to obscurity, he brilliantly outlines what is possibly the most important defeat for the Germans in ww2. Bravo.

7 people found this helpful

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Pro-Soviet Revisionism

In the first chapter the author states his intention to "correct" established historical narratives about the Eastern Front. From then on he gleefully describes the Red Army heroically slaughtering their way across Eastern Europe, while wholesale ignoring their crimes against humanity, and portraying Nazis as mustache twirling cartoons.

The author's emotional involvement in the material, lack of objectivity, and opposition to established history slather the pages with the black (or red) mark of postmodern revisionism.

I wouldn't recommend this book to people interested in objective history but if you want to read about the glorious Red Army liberating Europe you may enjoy it.

6 people found this helpful

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Engaging narrative, solid history.

A good history of the late Eastern Front, and some of the fictions that built up around the 'mythic' strength of Germany during the Second World War. The book includes plenty of primary resources, but does well at not taking them at face value. The author takes the time to apply the rigors of good historicity to the sources to divide what can be verified as true, and what was a more convenient narrative for the author of the primary resource. Soviet generals certainly had reason to mask failures in their dangerous, hyper-competitive system, and German generals were trying to shift blame for their actions and defeats during the war. It is in some ways a controversial piece for those who are married to older histories of how the Eastern Front was fought, but the book makes a thesis and defends it well. Overall, a good general history of the defeat of Army Group South.

4 people found this helpful

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Prit Buttar at his best

Prit Buttar always delivers. In each and every exacting work on the eastern front, be it WWI or WW2, he gives the reader the same satisfactory result every time. This is the very detailed account of the crushing defeat of Army Group South at the hands of the Red army in 1944. The details never cease to amaze and the casualties on both sides are shocking. This was the bloodiest fighting imaginable. A must read for any military history lover. Excellent narration to complete.

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No maps!

I'd heard that the maps in the book are a bit of a disappointment because they are in very small scale, but I would expect a .pdf download or something, so I could SEE them and decide for myself.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-01-22

Ruined by the narrator

A decent enough book, but very difficult to listen to because the narrator breaks into a ridiculous accent when quoting Russian sources. It comes across as amateurish and slightly racist, similar to those Sergei the meerkat ads.

2 people found this helpful

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  • mcfontaine
  • 05-04-21

Huge detail

Yet another hugely detailed look at the war in the East. The personal memories of those involved helps to fill out the story and makes it much less dry than it could be.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ken P
  • 09-06-21

Excellent account of the war in Russia

Very detailed account of the final German struggles in the Eastern war

Didn't like the narrator's faux accents Russian \ German \ American. Spoiled the overall story

1 person found this helpful

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  • Purbert
  • 04-28-21

Pretty good history

This book is not in the same league as Beevor’s “Stalingrad” but superior to the recent Dimbleby “Barbarossa”. It lacks Beevor’s visceral realism. I wonder if the book is translation? - I need to clarify this point. I’ve given it a 4* because despite some flaws its narrative is based on solid information and balanced analysis particularly in the closing chapters. It also covers a part of WW2 that tends to be overshadowed by Stalingrad and from this perspective covers relatively new ground. I’m going to have a look at the author’s other material!

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  • C. T. Kottas
  • 03-19-21

Good narrative, annoying narrator

Another solid account of Eastern Front drama from Mr Buttar. The tragic tone of the story is destroyed by the narrator's hilarious attempts to emulate Russian and German accents whenever he quotes from memoirs of the protagonists. A very annoying choice....

1 person found this helpful

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  • T. Rattigan
  • 11-30-20

A tightening grip

A detailed telling of the Red Army's increasing dominance in the course of 1944, enlivened by personal accounts from those involved. Engaging and informative, and very well performed.

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  • Gerry
  • 06-18-21

really good listen,

some battle details where excellent, personal details very interesting also. Will listen again for sure