Description: In 1939, tiny Finland waged war-the kind of war that spawns legends-against the mighty Soviet Union, and yet their epic struggle has been largely ignored. Guerrillas on skis, heroic single-handed attacks on tanks, unfathomable endurance, and the charismatic leadership of one of this century’s true military geniuses-these are the elements of both the Finnish victory and a gripping tale of war.
Dedication:To the memory of Colonel J. N. Pease,
whose faith never wavered
When Stalin says “dance,” a wise man dances.
—Nikita S. Khrushchev, in ‘Khrushcheo Remembers’
Opening: At the easternmost end of the Baltic Sea, between the Gulf of Finland and the vastness of Lake Ladoga, lies the rugged, narrow Karelian Isthmus. Although the land is sternly beautiful—cut laterally by numerous clear blue lakes, tapestried with evergreen forest, and textured by outcroppings of reddish gray granite—it has little intrinsic worth. The soil grows few crops, and those grudgingly, and the scant mineral resources are hardly worth the labor of extraction. Yet there are few comparably small areas of land in all Europe that have been fought over so often and so stubbornly.
Just how I like my history, concise, to the point, filled with maps and photographs, and without a glimmer of authorial vanity. Excellent.
Finland alone, in danger of death—superb,
sublime Finland—shows what free men can do. —Winston Churchill, January 1940