Here is how a feature in TIME described Retreat From Rostov:
The novel was a Russian rodeo of heroes,
heroines, Nazi villains, Don Cossacks, foreign
correspondents, soldiers, civilians, enough snow
to bury an army, enough melodrama to burn
out every fuse in Hollywood.
A bit of World War II trivia:
When future United States President George H. W. Bush was aboard the submarine USS Finback, which had rescued the young Bush on September 2, 1944 after his Avenger torpedo bomber went down near the island of Chichi Jima, he wrote the following in a letter to his parents:
I have been doing quite a bit of reading lately.
Retreat From Rostov; and Dos Passo’s “Number One”
plus “Captain from Connecticut” and now “The Robe”.
NOTE: The full letter was published in War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars by Andrew Carroll; Simon & Schuster, 2002.