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WW2 thriller set in Berlin and Stalingrad

6th August 2021

Last Flight to Stalingrad by Graham Hurley – WW2 thriller set in Berlin and Stalingrad.

WW2 thriller set in Berlin and Stalingrad

Last Flight to Stalingrad is a book that exposes in all its horror the WW2 Eastern Front battle for the Southern Russian city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd). A battle of attrition and starvation. The hitherto all conquering German forces were defeated by the Russians, and around 2m people were estimated to have died.

The book starts in Berlin. Werner Nehmann is an official in the propaganda ministry and, in many ways, a confidant of Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels respects his ability to spin any story to the benefit of the Third Reich. Goebbels even trusts him with a sensitive mission to deliver a letter to a former lover… Goebbels thinks that Nehmann betrays him, and their relationship begins to change. Still much superficial camaraderie, but the evil that is Goebbels is plotting. He belittles and punishes Nehmann… Nehmann is sent off to work with the troops on the Eastern Front, sending back glowing reports of their triumphs. He rapidly becomes disillusioned. The war and the battles are quite horrendous. Air power destroying the enemy before the ground troops move in. But the German offensive comes to a grinding halt in Stalingrad as thousands and thousands of Russian troops are drafted in and thousands and thousands of Russian tanks are driven in from their factories in the Urals. Stalin simply cannot afford to lose the city that bears his name. The SS lived and operated apart from their army comrades – and some of their actions were truly horrific. Nehmann went back to Berlin to see Goebbels, but was soon sent on his way to return to Stalingrad. As the Russians closed in, he was on one of the last flights to leave carrying German personnel.

Last Flight to Stalingrad is a story of war at its very worst. It feels meticulously researched by Graham Hurley. The events ring true and certainly could have happened. It also sheds a light on the infighting amongst the Nazi high command. Goebbels was a very nasty piece of work indeed – treating enemies and perceived comrades with equal disdain.

Highly recommended for those who are interested in one of the pivotal battles of WW2, but also for those who are interested in a great thriller that succeeds in its own right.

Tony for the TripFiction Team

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