(Benjamin V. Shepherd)
Office—School of Law & Social Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University, Cowcaddens Rd., Glasgow G4 0BA, Scotland; fax: 44-141-331-3439. E-mail—[email protected]
Academic and historian. Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, Scotland, lecturer in history.
War in the Wild East: The German Army and Soviet Partisans, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.
Contributor to periodicals, including Journal of Contemporary History, European History Quarterly, and German History.
Ben Shepherd is an academic and historian. He is a lecturer in history at Glasgow Caledonian University. Shepherd's research interests include German and Austrian society during and between the World Wars and the Third Reich. He has contributed to a number of academic journals on these topics, including the Journal of Contemporary History, European History Quarterly, and German History.
Shepherd published his first book, War in the Wild East: The German Army and Soviet Partisans, in 2004.
The book discusses the war crimes and unchecked behavior of Nazi and Soviet soldiers on the Eastern Front during World War II.
Benjamin Schwarz, writing in the Atlantic Monthly, noted that "the conduct of all German officers he examines was ferocious, even criminal—though some were more brutal than pragmatic, and some more pragmatic than brutal. But in highlighting the diversity and fluidity of the Wehrmacht's response to the partisan threat, he illuminates both the mercurial nature of warfare and a particularly savage aspect of the most savage war yet waged." Paul E. Richardson, writing in Russian Life, observed that the author provides "a cogent summary" of prewar Germany's conditions that encouraged war crimes against the Poles and Soviets in his introduction. Richardson summarized that the book "offers revealing looks at not just the brutality of Nazi soldiers, but at the realities of life for common Russians in the occupation zone." Gary I.H. Kett, writing in the Canadian Army Journal, commented that "Shepherd does an exceptional task in listing his sources, of which the overall majority are primary. However, there were several statements in the book that should have been blessed with some additional supportive information that could have been made available in the endnotes." Kett summarized that "overall, Ben Shepherd's book is a useful addition to the reading list of any student of the history of the Second World War. German rear line security units are often overshadowed by the more attractive panzer and motorized Divisions that continue to fascinate readers of the Eastern Front conflict. However, what is even more important is that books like Shepherd's show what can happen when leaders allow their soldiers to act without moral restraint."
Library Journal contributor Harry Willems, in discussing the German retreat from the Eastern Front, remarked that the book "allows us to view this part of the conflagration but does not seem to provide any startling observations." Kenneth Slepyan, writing in the Historian, observed that "Shepherd's sophisticated account of the German antipartisan war illustrates why a ‘softer’ approach operating within a fundamentally brutal occupation regime was all but destined to fail. His analysis of the factors that contributed to the mass carnage … provides a powerful moral and pragmatic lesson for how not to conduct a counterinsurgency campaign."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, October 1, 2005, Karel C. Berkhoff, review of War in the Wild East: The German Army and Soviet Partisans, p. 1275.
Atlantic Monthly, January 1, 2005, Benjamin Schwarz, review of War in the Wild East.
Canadian Army Journal, December 22, 2005, Gary I.H. Kett, review of War in the Wild East, p. 143.
Central European History, June 1, 2006, Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, review of War in the Wild East, p. 341.
European History Quarterly, January 1, 2008, Bogdan Musial, review of War in the Wild East, p. 187.
Historian, September 22, 2006, Kenneth Slepyan, review of War in the Wild East, p. 643.
International History Review, March 1, 2006, Mark Von Hagen, review of War in the Wild East, p. 204.
Journal of Military History, July 1, 2005, Frank Buscher, review of War in the Wild East, p. 867.
Journal of Modern History, December 1, 2006, Norman J.W. Goda, review of War in the Wild East, p. 939.
Library Journal, November 15, 2004, Harry Willems, review of War in the Wild East, p. 73.
Russian Life, May 1, 2005, Paul E. Richardson, review of War in the Wild East.
World War II, July 1, 2006, Edward B. Westermann, review of War in the Wild East.
Glasgow Caledonian University, History Department Web site,http://www.gcal.ac.uk/history/ (May 7, 2008), author profile.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online,http://www.h-net.org/ (October 1, 2005), Thomas J. Laub, review of War in the Wild East; December 1, 2005, Lee Baker, review of War in the Wild East.