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In this revelatory chronicle of World War II, Laurence Rees documents the dramatic and secret deals that helped make the war possible and prompted some of the most crucial decisions made during the conflict.
Drawing on material available only since the opening of archives in Eastern Europe and Russia, as well as amazing new testimony from nearly a hundred separate witnesses from the period—Rees reexamines the key choices made by Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt during the war, and presents, in a compelling and fresh way, the reasons why the people of Poland, the Baltic states, and other European countries simply swapped the rule of one tyrant for another. Surprising, incisive, and endlessly intriguing, World War II Behind Closed Doors will change the way we think about the Second World War.
“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 (London)
“A powerful and moving reminder that behind the generalizations of historians lie the fates of real human beings. . . . Amply worth reading.” —David Stafford, History Today
“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
“The important question which the book raises—and leaves open—is whether even the most just war can ever be fought with clean hands. . . . Rees’s finest book to date.” —Ian Kershaw, author of Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris
“Readers of this book . . . are in for a shock. . . . [Rees] 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
"Rees commendably keeps his reader-viewers in touch with a history inexorably receding from living memory.” —Booklist