Btw, this has probably been mentioned before, but if you haven't read David Benioff's novel, City of Thieves, it is excellent. It's about the siege of Leningrad. Really excellent.
Good review from AmAzon:
I would never have dreamed that a story set during the WW II Siege of Leningrad could be as engaging and darkly humorous as this book, but the Author has done a fine job of bringing a diverse set of characters to life, two of whom have been given an impossible mission (find a dozen eggs!) in an unbearable situation (the Blockade of Leningrad, and its consequent famine).
I have over a dozen books on the Siege of Leningrad (for a project I'm working on), and I have to say that the Author portrays the siege with accuracy, if not with full depth - in large part because the story is told from the viewpoint of Lev, a 17 year old boy. This doesn't give the reader an omniscient overview of "the big picture", but it certainly provides a very specific perspective on life in and around the city, and one well worth reading.
It's an "impression" of life during the city, and I have to say that with one exception - Lev would have been much hungrier and weaker in real life - a fairly accurate one. Readers of "The 900 Days" will recognize the inspiration for a specific scene, (Hint: Beware of well fed men in a famine) but how the characters react to what happens makes the action their own. And what characters!
The two main characters that carry the book deserve to be remembered as a classic pairing. Their interactions, observations and the journey they take on their absurd quest are one that I will remember for a very long time. Lev, the narrator, will remind most adult men of their own awkward youth. Wry, dry, frustrated and a little plodding, he is enormously sympathetic, while seemingly always in the process of doing a "Straight Man's Slow Burn" in a comedy routine. Kolya, an accidental Red Army deserter, is overly confident, irresistably charming and scatologically minded. Imagine a dirty minded Bugs Bunny come to life as a 6ft tall, Blond hair Blue eyed Russian and you're not too far off. By the end of the story, these two have formed a real bond and friendship - one that seems real, rather than forced for the sake of the story. The supporting characters are all given real weight - you feel that this really could have happened, and that these aren't just puppets the author is manipulating, but real people.
Is it serious? Yes.
Is it a war story? Yes.
Is it funny? Yes.
Is it a coming of age story? Yes.
Is it historically accurate? Yes.
It's simply got quite a lot to offer to any reader. I highly recommend it to both the general reading public and to WWII buffs.
In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican.
- H. L. Mencken