Four Steps to Death

John Wilson


In 1942, the battle of Stalingrad is underway. There are three main characters in this book, Conrad the german tank commander part of a supposedly unstoppable force heading eastward over the flat steppe of Russia. Vasily the patriotic 17 year old determined to rid his country of the nazi invaders. And 8 year old Sergei who lives amongst the ruins of Stalingrad. All these character's stories happen at the same time, as their lives are interlocked unknowingly.

Theme Summary

The theme I saw being portrayed in this book was that pointless wars lead to nothing more than death and destruction. It is said that both Hitler and Joseph Stalin were egomaniacal madmen who cast the lives of millions away for the city which is now known as Volgograd. These men did nothing but send their troops to die of frostbite in the harsh weather of Russia and of the countless wounds inflicted.

Battle of Stalingrad

The battle of Stalingrad was a succesful defense of the Russian city Stalingrad, now known as Volgograd. Many Russians call it the greatest battle of their Great Patriotic War. Though historians say it is one of the bloodiest wars in history, with the cassuality number of close to 2 million soldiers and civilians. This battle is considered the turning point in the war in favor of the allied forces. The Russians were determined to defend the city to the last drop of blood, as it was a vital industrial and transportation center.

I think the author portrayed the battle of Stalingrad accurately. He obviously put effort into knowing where and how the Germans attempted to advance on Stalingrad. He also had information on how the Germans suffered from the cold, eg. "The monotony broken occasional by frozen, blackened limbs sticking out of the white". He was clear in his telling of the countless and horrible deaths. This book was a great portrayal of this very bloody battle.


"Battle of Stalingrad." A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2014.