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Greenhill Books- Life and Death on the Eastern Front

ISBN Number:
978-1-78438-723-5
Published:
Saturday, April 23, 2022
Publisher:
Greenhill Books
Retail Price:
$34.95
Reviewed By:
Michael Reeves

Greenhill Books- Life and Death on the Eastern Front

Rare Colour Photographs from the Second World War

Book Specifics

Authors: Anthony Tucker-Jones and Ian Stewart Spring

ISBN: 978-1-78438-723-5

Price: $34.95

Hardcover, 288 pages with 260 color photographs

What's Inside

Seeing WWII scenes and images in color has always been a bit touch and go. Accuracy issues in the past marred what the viewer would see- with some colorizing possibly being a bit off or inaccurate. That is really not the case with the photos inside this book. The text provided by author Anthony Tucker-Jones is informative and concise-- and gives way to the meat of the subject matter- the color photos taken from the PIXPAST archive, a collection of more than 32,000 original color photos taken between 1936 through 1946. The images really do speak for themselves-- I have never seen such clear and vivid photos from the period-- some appear to have been taken yesterday on some of the better modern cameras. In some instances there are 2-3 photos per page but interspersed throughout are two page spreads of one image that are excellent.

The Introduction focuses on the Cameramen- centering on German and Soviet sources, including those who worked for Goebbels and Himmler and Stalin's Red Star. We get a nice synopsis of the Agfacolor film used to great effect by the Germans here and its comparison to Kodachrome. After a Chronology of key events on the Eastern Front, the book then breaks down into three main sections which are pretty self-explanatory....

  • Part 1- The Ground War
  • Part 2- War in the Skies
  • Part 3- Behind the Lines

Part One centers on Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union and the tanks and vehicles, artillery, machinery and infantry from both sides. There are really some great reference sources here- this next one especially standing out to me for those looking to recreate a burned out vehicle that gives some great insight into the coloration of the damage...

Neat whitewash reference

Part Two I didn't focus on too much here as it related more towards obviously the aircraft side of things-- but the images were no less impressive. There are plenty of in-flight and on the ground photos, including aircraft machinery and personnel, and damage photos. The last part gives a nice background to the behind the scenes operations- including POWs, partisans, medics, and daily life and leisure time activities. A Sources and Further Reading section concludes the book.

Conclusion

Can there ever be enough great reference books out there for one's collection? Every time I think the answer is yes, something like this comes out. I was floored by the impressive color images I saw throughout. Sure- some were a bit blurred (although these were usually of subjects in motion)- but considering these images are in and around 80 years old, it is very difficult to have cause to complain. It has inspired me to try out some ideas for some dioramas and work on some stuff from the stash. A really excellent resource if you are interested at all in the Eastern Front!

Highly Recommended for builders and historians at all levels.

Thanks goes out to Casemate Publishing for this review sample.

Reviewed by Michael Reeves

 

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