Between Giants: The Battle for the Baltics in World War II by Prit Buttar

Title: Between Giants: The Battle for the Baltics in World War II
Author: Prit Buttar (Osprey Publishing, HB, 2013)
Price: £20
Collectible status: Abingdon-based author Prit Buttar signed these first edition copies at a special event in the Mostly Books garden on June 6, 2013.

In 2010, Abingdon GP and military history enthusiast Dr Prit Buttar published 'Battleground Prussia'. Stemming from an interview with an elderly patient almost seven years previously, the book was based on years of original research, first-hand interviews and brilliant analysis. It met with significant critical acclaim as one of the most important English-language books to appear on the subject in recent times.

Now, in 'Between Giants', Prit has published 'Between Giants', the story of how the Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia fared, caught between the Soviet empire and the Third Reich.

In a special event at Mostly Books on June 6, 2013, Prit discussed how the book came to be written - and told the moving stories he had uncovered about some of the heroes - and villains - who had such a big impact on each of the States. 

The three states were repeatedly occupied—by the Soviet Union in 1939, by Germany in 1941, and again by the Soviet Union in 1944-45. In each case, individuals were forced to choose between supporting the occupying forces or forming partisan units. Hundreds of thousands would perish in such large-scale clashes as the battles for the Courland Bridgehead. And the end of the war saw mass executions of Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians who had fought for Germany, the devastating loss of over 20 percent of the Baltic States’ total population, and the ultimate descent of the iron curtain over the entire region.

Prit spoke movingly of some of the soldiers stories, explained the politics and forces behind what happened - which still impacts significantly on how history is seen today. The writing is difficult to read in places. The chilling brutality of Franz Walter Stahlecker needs to be set against the quietly moving and inspirational figure of Anton Schmid, an Austrian who helped saved many Jews, and whose letter to his family on learning that he was to be executed is as devastating as it is heroic.

On the evening, one of the audience brought two letters written to families, from German soldiers caught up when the Soviets retook the Baltics States. A special moment - the letters had been found unexpectedly in a jumble sale only a few weeks before...

Prit has kindly signed first editions of 'Between Giants' which we have at Mostly Books... 
The book can be ordered for £20 - with free delivery anywhere in the UK (please add £5 for outside the UK). To have a copy of this book sent to you please order using our secure PayPal ordering page below - or alternatively pop into Mostly Books, or contact 01235 525880 to provide payment over the phone.
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