Deemed unfit for service when the Germans invaded in 1941, Vasily Grossman became a special correspondent for Red Star, the Red Army newspaper, observing on the Eastern front with a writer's eye the most pitiless fighting ever known.
Grossman witnessed almost all the major events: the appalling defeats and desperate retreats of 1941, the defence of Moscow and fighting in the Ukraine. In August 1942 he was posted to Stalingrad where he remained during four months of brutal street-fighting. He was present at the battle of Kursk, the largest tank engagement in history, and, as the Red Army advanced, he reached Berdichev where his worst fears for his mother and other relations were confirmed. A Jew himself, he undertook the faithful recording of Holocaust atrocities as their extent dawned. His supremely powerful report 'The Hell of Treblinka' was used in evidence at the Nuremberg tribunal.
Based on the notebooks in which Grossman gathered his raw material, A Writer at War offers the one outstanding eye-witness account of the war on the Eastern Front and perhaps the best descriptions ever of what Grossman called 'the ruthless truth of war'.