The battle on the Eastern Front between 1941 and 1945 was the single most decisive factor of World War II. Now, drawing on sources newly available since the collapse of the Soviet Union, historian and journalist Chris Bellamy presents the first full account of this deadly conflict. He presents a shocking picture of battle in which the traditional restraints of "civilized" warfare were shed. He makes clear how the Soviets quickly rallied against Hitler in a struggle that the Russian people call the Great Patriotic War. He shows how Soviet men--and women--joined in a war whose casualties were later steeply underestimated by their government, and how even the true death toll, at 27 million, does not count the millions of lives that lay shattered. Finally, Bellamy examines the far-reaching consequences--the reverberations of which are still felt today--and argues that the cost of victory was ultimately too much for the Soviet Union to bear.--From publisher description.