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.
Laurence Rees, the writer and producer of the major BBC/PBS television documentary series World War II: Behind Closed Doors, previously won the British Book Award for History Book of the Year in 2006 for his international bestseller Auschwitz: The Nazis and the 'Final Solution'. His career as a writer and filmmaker, focusing on the Nazis and World War II, stretches back nearly 20 years and includes the acclaimed television series (and books) The Nazis: A Warning from History, War of the Century, Horror in the East and Auschwitz: The Nazis and the 'Final Solution'. This body of work has won him several awards, including a BAFTA and a Grierson Award. Their Darkest Hour, his powerful collection of essays based on interviews with people tested to the extreme during World War II, was published in 2007 to wide critical acclaim. Rees was educated at Solihull School and Oxford University and is Creative Director of BBC TV History programmes. Visit www.laurencerees.com for more information about the author.