A New York Times bestseller that brings to life one of the bloodiest battles of World War II—and the beginning of the end of the Third Reich.
On August 5, 1942, giant pillars of dust rose over the Russian steppe, marking the advance of the 6th Army, an elite German combat unit dispatched by Hitler to capture the industrial city of Stalingrad and press on to the oil fields of Azerbaijan. The Germans were supremely confident; in three years, they had not suffered a single defeat.The Luftwaffe had already bombed the city into ruins. German soldiers hoped to complete their mission and be home in time for Christmas.
The siege of Stalingrad lasted five months, one week, and three days. Nearly two million men and women died, and the 6th Army was completely destroyed. Considered by many historians to be the turning point of World War II in Europe, the Soviet Army’s victory foreshadowed Hitler’s downfall and the rise of a communist superpower.
Bestselling author William Craig spent five years researching this epic clash of military titans, traveling to three continents in order to review documents and interview hundreds of survivors. Enemy at the Gates is the enthralling result: the definitive account of one of the most important battles in world history. It became a New York Times bestseller and was also the inspiration for the 2001 film of the same name, starring Joseph Fiennes and Jude Law.
“Probably the best single work on the epic battle of Stalingrad . . . An unforgettable and haunting reading experience.” —Cornelius Ryan
“William Craig has written a classic account of the Stalingrad epic—here is the drama, the terror, the horror, and the heroism of the greatest military encounter of our time.” —Harrison E. Salisbury
“The cardinal feature of the book is the wealth of information derived from interviews, which gives the narrative the crispness of reality. . . . Cruel but compelling reading.” —TheNew York Times Book Review
“Craig’s extensive research and fresh interviews of surviving fighters and others authenticates the immediate, intimate circumstances of the battle. . . . A fine history.” —Kirkus Reviews
William Craig (1929–1997) was an American historian and novelist. Born and raised in Concord, Massachusetts, he interrupted his career as an advertising salesman to appear on the quiz show Tic-Tac-Dough in 1958. With his $42,000 in winnings—a record-breaking amount at the time—Craig enrolled at Columbia University and earned both an undergraduate and a master’s degree in history. He published his first book, The Fall of Japan, in 1967. A narrative history of the final weeks of World War II in the Pacific, it reached the top ten on the New York Times bestseller list and was deemed “virtually flawless” by the New York Times Book Review. In order to write Enemy at the Gates (1973), a documentary account of the Battle of Stalingrad, Craig travelled to three continents and interviewed hundreds of military and civilian survivors. A New York Times bestseller, the book inspired a film of the same name starring Jude Law and Joseph Fiennes. In addition to his histories of World War II, Craig wrote two acclaimed espionage thrillers: The Tashkent Crisis (1971) and The Strasbourg Legacy (1975).