GERT LEDIG (1921-1999) was born in Leipzig and grew up in Vienna. At the age of eighteen he volunteered for the army and was wounded at the battle of Leningrad in 1942. He reworked his experiences during the war in this novel Die Stalinorgel (1955). Sent back home, he trained as a naval engineer and was caught in several air raids. The experience never left him and led to the writing of Vergeltung (Payback) (1956). The novel's reissue in Germany in 1999 heralded a much publicized rediscovery of the author's work there. MiICHAEL HOFMANN is a poet. He is the translator of nine books by Joseph Roth and was awarded the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Prize for translating The String of Pearls. He is also the translator of Wolfgang Koeppen's two novels The Hothouse and A Sad Affair.
The brutality and mindlessness of battle could hardly be more
trenchantly depicted than in this account of the most ferocious
warfare of all time... Hofmann provides a sterling translation as
well as an insightful overview that puts the work in context. This
book belongs on every shelf that hosts Erich Maria Remarque's
All Quiet on the Western Front.
-- Library Journal
...a shattering novel of Germany's war against Russia. For stripping war of any glamour and exposing the sheer physical horror of modern conflict it deserves to stand next to Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front.
-- David Cesarani, Evening Standard Books of the Year
Ledig's constant shifting of narrative, and his ability to
capture the essence of chaos within a deceptively tight framework,
make his 1955 novel an important contribution to war
-- Times Literary Supplement
...Slender but powerful account of the brutal fighting outside Leningrad in the summer of 1942...Ledig's style is straightforward and unremarkable, but his shockingly modern view of war is anything but.
-- Publisher's Weekly