The four volumes here in the Russian language constitute the most comprehensive extant treatment of the Russian WWII General Andrei Andreevich Vlasov (1900-1946), who was regarded by Soviet historians as an arch traitor for defecting to Hitler's Germany to organize a "Russian Liberation Army" to fight against Stalin's Soviet Union in World War II. The author, Vladimir Semyonovich Batshev (1947-), has clearly made the story of Vlasov his magnum opus, telling it in the tradition of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipelago" and with equivalent historic sweep and with even greater documentary and graphic detail. The work is a magnificent achievement, showing the truth as it only now can be understood, and with sensibly reasoned and thoroughly evidenced answers to almost all the many questions that this fascinating chapter of history has left us. Batshev calls his work an "attempt at literary research," but it is only literary in the sense that it fills in historical lacunae with easy-to-read conjecture well founded in the known facts. But with his bilingual (German and Russian) research from archives not accessible until the last decade of the past millenium, and his inclusion of collateral documents and announcements and propaganda from diverse points of view, Batshev has given historians a quantum addition to the known store of facts.
He tells not only Vlasov's life in previously unprecedented detail...surpassing the depictions by the best previous memoirist (Wilfred Strik-Strikfeldt) and the best previous reevaluational historian (Catherine Andreyev). We see here in new scope and detail not only the man and his immediate associates (clarifying their actual identities in several cases, their roles, and giving their subsequent fates), but also his time...the political and historical context of his life. This is a masterpiece, the definitive work on Vlasov and the events of his time. Whatever aspect of Vlasov's story intrigues you...here is the best extant explanation. The Russian publication in 2001 by the Mosty publishing house (P.O.B. 800-833, 65929 Frankfurt-on-Main, Germany, ISBN 3-936996-14-8) was awarded in 2005 the International "Veritas" Literary Prize. Although at almost 2300 illustrated pages it would be a challenge, Vladimir Batshev's VLASOV is crying out for a translation into English.