Author(s): Laurence Rees
History | No Category
Award-winning documentary-maker and historian Laurence Rees brings us a gripping new history of World War II. From the dramatic and secret deals that helped make the war possible, to some of the most crucial decisions taken during the conflict, World War II: Behind Closed Doors is full of surprises, even for those who think they know the history. Drawing on material only available since the opening of archives in the East, Rees re-examines the key decisions made by Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt during the war. And as the truth about Stalin's earlier friendly relationship with the Nazis is laid bare, a devastating and surprising picture of the Soviet leader emerges - one that is deeply embarrassing for many Russians. The emotional core of the book is the amazing new testimony obtained from nearly a hundred separate witnesses from the period. Former Soviet secret policemen talk frankly for the first time about their repressive work; Allied seamen reveal how they braved the Arctic convoys; and Red Army veterans talk of how they killed Germans in hand-to-hand fighting on the Eastern Front. The enthralling narrative is a mix of high politics - including the inside story of the Allies' meetings at Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam - and the dramatic personal experiences of those on the ground who bore the consequences of their decisions. The myth that World War II was, uniquely in the twentieth century, an entirely moral war is destroyed in this brilliant re-examination. Accompanying a major six-part BBC2 history series, this is an ambitious, emotional and engaging way of telling the history of the war that has not been attempted before.