One of the problem with reading an omnibus rewriting of history such as John Mosier attempts in "Deathride" is determining veracity.
Mosier is clearly on a mission: all the other historians are wrong - the Soviet Union, he says, deserves no credit for the victory over the Germans. If Hitler hadn't made a mistake here or there and the Allies hadn't shipped the Soviets prodigious quantities of arms, munitions and other supplies, the Soviet Union would have been crushed.
Mosier is monomaniacal. There is no grey. He is right and that is all here is to it.
But Mosier plays fast and loose with facts. He disparages Soviet statistics - except where he needs them to support his arguments, then Soviet statistics that were suspect a few pages earlier become acceptable for the present argument. He latches on to off-the-wall memes such as one professor's very arguable contention that 150,000 Jews served in Hitler's military. Here, the proposition is accepted as solid fact.
Mosier argues that Hitler, for the most part, was a brilliant strategist who made a mistake or two. Incredibly, Mosier argues that the Battle of Kursk ended not because the Germans were defeated, but because Hitler decided to move key armor units elsewhere - in the middle of a major battle!
It is contentions like this that lead me to give this book five-stars. Mosier provides plenty of citations to support his assertions, but as with much conspiracy literature, the citations often cut both ways - they can be cast to support either side of an argument.
I have been a student of World War II, particularly of the war on the Eastern front, for more than 50 years. Anyone who seriously studies this conflict isd always very, ery careful because truth is elusive and incontrovertibly absolute truth essentially non-existent.
Mosier claims that the West was deluded by Stalin, who wrote the history he wanted believed. There is much more than a grain of truth in Mosier's argument. But can Mosier's vehement dismissal of Stalin and the Soviet Union be supported by the evidence Mosier puts forth?
Well, that's why Mosier's book requires a thorough reading and perhaps even a second reading.
My first impression, reached during the first few pages, was that Mosier is a crank. Many of the assertions and claims he makes strike the student of the period as flat-out wrong. However, here and there, Mosier does bring an interesting twist to more or less accepted knowledge.
Overall, I don't think Mosier's analysis holds water. It is riddled with what can be proven to be factual errors, unsupported assertion stated as fact, hypotheticals presented as fact, off-the-wall extreme individual opinions accepted as fact and so on. Yet, the careful student of the German/Soviet conflict will do well to check everyone of Mosier's claims. The exercise is worth the time invested and will prove Mosier to be an interesting theorist who, ultimately, is largely mistaken in his views.
Not to say that one could expect something extraordinary from this book given the description on amazon, but the truth was so much worse than I could have ever imagined. This text represents a litany of ignorance, mistakes, baseless assertions, fallacies, and generalizations that simply have no end. The author appears to be hell-bent on proving the 'Stalinist' version of the Great Patriotic War is no more than fiction. Unfortunately, this book is some 50 years too late. This … more