On 2 February 1943, having been defeated at Stalingrad and surrounded by the Russian Army, 91,000 starved and exhausted soldiers of the German Sixth Army finally surrendered. By 1945 only 6,000 of these were still alive - and only a handful ever returned from Russia. Heinrich Gerlach was one of the survivors. From the moment of surrender he began to collect the personal stories of hundreds of his fellow prisoners: everyone from generals to veteran infantrymen to boys who had only just left the Hitler Youth. The result is a horrifying and uniquely authentic novel about the battle of Stalingrad, describing in detail one of the defining events of the twentieth century.
Heinrich Gerlach was captured by the Russian Army after Stalingrad, and spent the next 5 years in a prison camp. He wrote this book while in prison, but the manuscript was discovered and confiscated by the guards. After release, he reconstructed it from memory over the course of 5 years. The book contains nothing which did not in fact happen.