In June 1941, the jaws of the German war machine clamped onto the Soviet Union, with German soldiers--the Third Reich's teeth--slicing through the Red Army, encircling and killing and capturing. Before the end of the year, the Red Army halted the German blitzkrieg and saved the Soviet Union. It was a defining moment of World War II and a defining moment of military history--a defining moment of what it meant to go to war in the twentieth century, with an army designed to devastate, to kill, to enslave butting heads with an army decapitated by Stalin's purges. For the next six months, German armies fought toward Moscow but ultimately failed to seize that objective, from the Black Sea in the south to Leningrad in the north. More than just a pivotal moment of World War II, more than just the beginning of the Eastern Front, the campaign toward Moscow--Germans versus Soviets in a no-holds-barred battle for the soul of Europe--speaks to what it meant to be a soldier in World War II. (Far more soldiers, German and Russian, fought and died on the Eastern Front than the entire U.S. war effort.) In a book drawing from hundreds of soldiers' accounts, and thousands of letter and diaries, Stahel and Luther tell the story of Operation Barbarossa but also the story of men at war in the twentieth century.