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Rees, who has spent 15 years writing books and working on BBC television programs about the Nazis, sees Auschwitz as the perfect microcosm to help readers understand one of the worst and least understandable crimes in history. The camp had a certain beginning (the first prisoners arrived in June 1940) and a definite end (it was liberated in January 1945); in between, Auschwitz had a complex and surprising history, made up of incremental, almost noiseless steps that mirrored changes in the intricacies of Nazi racial and ethnic policy. The study of Auschwitz, Rees notes, also affords the chance to understand how people behaved in some of the most extreme conditions ever recorded. The volume, based on hundreds of interviews with Nazi perpetrators and camp survivors, is a companion to the PBS documentary "Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State. " Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
Fuelled by hate, incapable of forming normal human relationships, unwilling to listen to dissenting voices, Adolf Hitler seemed an unlikely leader, and yet he commanded enormous support and was able to exert a powerful influence over those who encountered him. How did Hitler become such an attractive figure to millions of people? That is the question at the core of Hitler's Charisma. Acclaimed historian and documentary filmmaker Laurence Rees examines the nature of Hitler's appeal and reveals the role his supposed "charisma" played in his success. Here is a fascinating social, psychological and historical investigation into the formation of a personality whose determination and vision would at the outset convince a small group of like-minded political and social outcasts but would eventually win over an entire nation and plunge the rest of the world into a cataclysm unlike any that had ever been seen before. Hitler's Charisma is a natural culmination of twenty years of writing and research on the Third Reich and a remarkable examination of the man and the mind at the heart of it all.(With 16 pages of black-and-white illustrations)
In the tradition of the best-selling Rape of Nanking, a provocative examination of Japanese atrocities during World War II. "Another stunning slice of history from Laurence Rees. "-Daily Telegraph
In this revelatory chronicle of World War II, Laurence Rees, winner of the 2006 British Book Award for History, 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 opening of archives in Eastern Europe and Russia, Rees re-examines the key choices 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. 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, Allied seamen who braved Arctic convoys and Red Army veterans who engaged Germans in hand-to-hand fighting on the Eastern Front. Their dramatic personal experiences make clear 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. Rees' ability to weave high politics--the meeting of the Allied leaders at Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam--with the dramatic personal experiences of those on the ground who bore the consequences of their decisions is eye opening. World War II Behind Closed Doors will change the way we think about the Second World War.
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