In World War II: Behind Closed Doors, award-winning documentary-maker and historian Laurence Rees brings us a gripping new history of World War II - one that 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.
Accompanying a major six-part BBC2 history series, this 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.
"Rees is vastly well informed about the second world war. His judgments can seldom be faulted...there are many surprises here, and much good detail....The relationship between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill makes an ugly story, and Rees tells it extraordinarily well." - Sir Max Hastings, The Sunday Times
"...a thoughtful and thought-provoking introduction to many of the shadier deals of the Second World War...The real virtue of this book lies in its ability to blend the experience of ordinary people into the narrative of public events...memorable in the extreme" - Richard Overy, Literary Review
"Readers of this book… are in for a shock. At least the author, Laurence Rees, the award laden producer of documentaries on Auschwitz and the Nazis, intends us to be….This book illuminates many shady corners of Britain's and America's dealings with Stalin and each other. The famous trust between Churchill and Roosevelt is shown to be far from perfect." - Peter Lewis, Daily Mail