- Paperback: 283 pages
- Publisher: Algonquin Books (30 January 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1565122496
- ISBN-13: 978-1565122499
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2 x 22.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 454 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 189,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Frozen Hell: The Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-1940 Paperback – 1 Jan 2000
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From the Back Cover
"Mr. Trotter tells brilliantly a piece of history that needed telling." --The Washington Times
"Trotter's account is the best one yet of this unique war." --The Virginian-Pilot
This is a book of battles--savagely fought, often with great heroism on both sides, under brutal, subarctic conditions. Guerrillas on skis, heroic single-handed attacks on tanks, unfathomable endurance, and the charismatic leadership of one of this century's true military geniuses--these were the elements of Finland's short-lived victory.
For all the epic resistance of the Finns, the outcome was foreordained. Belatedly the Russians realized that an expected easy triumph over a vastly outnumbered foe had become a slaughterhouse. Incompetent commanders were replaced, more and better troops were moved into position, and orders were given to overwhelm and crush the Finns by the sheer weight of massed numbers. But even though they lost on the battlefield, the Finns's pointed resistance kept the Iron Curtain from drawing closed around their land and allowed Finland to remain free, even as other countries fell one by one.
Trotter's love for the Finns, his clear, evocative prose, and his deep knowledge of his subject combine to resurrect a fight that will never again be forgotten.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
It was pretty tough trying to pronounce all of the Finnish names (I gave up, lol) and keep them straight but it's kind of expected, I suppose, for a native English speaker who is unfamiliar with Finland.
I have the Kindle version of this book and in my opinion, get the paperback or hardcover version unless you really want the Kindle version. You cannot zoom in on any of the maps in the book, which I found f'ing ridiculous and disappointing, so you cannot use them to follow along where units were placed or moved to/form.
The significance of the war between Finland and the Soviet Union is naturally suppressed by the onset of World War II. While the documentation of Germany’s aggression is standard fare, similar conduct by the Soviet Union garners much less attention. When the Soviet Union forced its awkward Goliath-might on a quiet nation hidden in the nether regions of northern Europe, it found itself facing a resolute foe that was quite capable of bleeding the Red Army white.
William Trotter brings the nastiness of the Winter War to life. Even though we know the historical outcome of the conflict, the book’s lively take on historical events gives readers the impression the outcome might challenge reality. Trotter’s narrative is neutral, but it is hard not to root for the outnumbered and out-gunned Finns defending their nation from an armored Soviet onslaught. The historical outline of the conflict is thoroughly colored with interesting and insightful individual accounts that make it easy to envision the events being described. Readers are prepped with events and situations prefaced a conflict that by all sense and purposes, should have been a route in favor of the Red Army. The book illustrates a classic example of a superior foe completely underestimating the resolve and tactical capacity of its intended victim. While the Soviet Union could afford to throw an endless stream of men and machines at Finland, the Finns were savvy and tenacious enough to make inevitable outcome a pyrrhic victory for the Soviets. Trotter does an excellent job detailing every facet of the Winter War in a manner that keeps things interesting. We get a vivid image of the utter misery experienced fighting in Arctic weather and how costly it was for the unprepared Soviet Union. Soviet expectations of a quick and easy victory led to poor planning and decision-making that would prove disastrous. Simple things like neglecting to white-wash vehicles, issue camouflaged uniforms or effectively map terrain created a maelstrom of havoc on the invaders. Trotter shines in showing how the Finns used the frigid environment and rugged terrain as a weapon. How lumbering columns of Soviet tanks and soldiers, unfamiliar with the terrain and unprepared for the weather, are cut into isolated pockets by aggressive Finnish soldiers who then let the arctic weather take its toll on the pockets. I particularly enjoyed how Trotter points out the vast differences between Finland’s Army and Red Army. The Finns were innovative and resourceful, while the Red Army was encumbered by rigid and archaic military doctrine. When the battered Soviet Union finally decides to stop “playing around” with Finland and commits to ending the conflict, we begin to see the names of Soviet generals who would eventually lead the Soviet Union to victory over Nazi Germany years later. Even the end of the Winter War is characterized as a last-minute diplomatic drama that saves Finland from Soviet rule.
While my curiosity in understanding the Russo-Finnish War created my desire to read about it, I never thought I would become so engrossed in the conflict once I started reading A FROZEN HELL. The entertaining and colorful narrative made this book such an enjoyable and interesting read. If I were to recommend any book on the subject matter, A FROZEN HELL would certain be my choice.