By Vasily Grossman

Paperback publication. historical past. pink military

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Additional resources for A Writer at War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army 1941-1945

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The next day Grossman reported at the editorial office. He told me that although this appointment was unexpected, he was happy about it. He returned a few days later fully equipped and in an officer’s uniform. ] ‘I am ready to depart for the front today,’ he said. ’ I asked. ’ I pointed to the pistol hanging at his side. ’ ‘So how can I allow you to go to the front? Anything can happen there. ’ Colonel Ivan Khitrov, our tactical expert and a former army officer, became Grossman’s coach. He would take him to one of the shooting ranges of the Moscow garrison and teach him how to shoot.

They are heading towards the west. ’ A Red Army soldier with a beard. ’ Ganakovich – a wonderful man – puffing on his pipe, radiating waves of calmness and common sense. He is sad sometimes, and likes to sit alone. He sits thinking for a long, long time. He uses colourful language. ‘Well, I remember the cavalry from 1914. ’ Battle at night. Cannonade. Field guns bang, shells howl, first in a shrill tone, then humming like wind. Barking of mines. A lot of rapid, white fire. The tap dance of machine guns and rifles is the most disturbing.

We were briefed before our departure by Brigade Commissar Ortenberg. He told us that an advance was about to take place. Our first meeting was at GLAVPUR. Ortenberg had a conversation with me and finally told me that he thought I was an author of children’s books. This was a big surprise for me, I had no idea that I had written any books for children. ’ He burst out laughing. ’ Well, I paid him back. I had mistaken him for the chief of the publications department of GLAVPUR. I have been drinking all day, just as a recruit should.

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