Laurence Rees - Author

About the Author

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.

Featured books by Laurence Rees

Other books by Laurence Rees

Their Darkest Hour People Tested to the Extreme in WWII

Their Darkest Hour People Tested to the Extreme in WWII

Author: Laurence Rees Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/06/2018

How could Nazi killers shoot Jewish women and children at close range? Why did Japanese soldiers rape and murder on such a horrendous scale? How was it possible to endure the torment of a Nazi concentration camp? Award-winning documentary maker and historian Laurence Rees has spent nearly 20 years wrestling with these questions in the course of filming hundreds of interviews with people tested to the extreme during World War II. He has come face-to-face with rapists, mass murderers, even cannibals, but he has also met courageous individuals who are an inspiration to us all. In Their Darkest Hour he presents 35 of his most electrifying encounters.

The Holocaust A New History

The Holocaust A New History

Author: Laurence Rees Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/09/2017

THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP 10 BESTSELLER AND THE FIRST AUTHORITATIVE ACCOUNT FOR 30 YEARS. 'By far the clearest book ever written about the Holocaust, and also the best at explaining its origins and grotesque mentality, as well as its chaotic development' Antony Beevor 'Groundbreaking. You might have thought that we know everything there is to know about the Holocaust but this book proves there is much more' Andrew Roberts, Mail on Sunday Two fundamental questions about the Holocaust must be answered: How did it happen? And why? More completely than any other single work of history yet published, Laurence Rees's Holocaust definitively answers them. 'With The Holocaust Rees has set himself the task of writing an accessible chronological account of the murder of six million Jews in conditions of scarcely imaginable horror. He's done it excellently. There is no shortage of books on the Holocaust but Rees's stands out as a readable and authoritative exposition of how and why it happened, and the barbarous methods by which it was pursued. The amount of ground it covers in 500 pages is remarkable - from the anti-Semitism of popular German literature of the 19th century to Hitler's suicide and the surrender of his regime. It's excellently written and skilfully interweaves narrative history, sound interpretation and the recollections (through interviews, listed in the notes as previously unpublished testimony ) of survivors. Rees provides an exemplary account of how the greatest crime in modern history came about' The Times 'Rees has distilled 25 years of research into this compelling study, the finest single-volume account of the Holocaust. It is not a book for the faint-hearted. Some of the first-hand testimony is both shocking and heart-rending. Yet it has important things to say about human nature - what our species is capable of doing if not prevented by civilized laws - and demands to be read' Saul David, Telegraph 'Anyone wanting a compelling, highly readable explanation of how and why the Holocaust happened, drawing on recent scholarship and impressively incorporating moving and harrowing interviews need look no further than Laurence Rees's brilliant book' Professor Ian Kershaw, bestselling author of Hitler

Holocaust

Holocaust

Author: Laurence Rees Format: eBook Release Date: 26/01/2017

Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of The Holocaust by Laurence Rees, read by Jonathan Keeble. This landmark work answers two of the most fundamental questions in history - how, and why, did the Holocaust happen? Laurence Rees has spent twenty-five years meeting survivors and perpetrators of the Holocaust. Now, in his magnum opus, he combines their enthralling eyewitness testimony, a large amount of which has never been published before, with the latest academic research to create the first accessible and authoritative account of the Holocaust in more than three decades. This is a new history of the Holocaust in three ways. First, and most importantly, Rees has created a gripping narrative that that contains a large amount of testimony that has never been published before. Second, he places this powerful interview material in the context of an examination of the decision making process of the Nazi state, and in the process reveals the series of escalations that cumulatively created the horror. Third, Rees covers all those across Europe who participated in the deaths, and he argues that whilst hatred of the Jews was always at the epicentre of Nazi thinking, what happened cannot be fully understood without considering the murder of the Jews alongside plans to kill millions of non-Jews, including homosexuals, Gypsies and the disabled. Through a chronological, intensely readable narrative, featuring enthralling eyewitness testimony and the latest academic research, this is a compelling new account of the worst crime in history.

The Holocaust A New History

The Holocaust A New History

Author: Laurence Rees Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/01/2017

Sunday Times top 10 bestseller 'Groundbreaking ... You might have thought that we know everything there is to know about the Holocaust but this book proves there is much more' Andrew Roberts, Mail on Sunday 'By far the clearest book ever written about the Holocaust, and also the best at explaining its origins and grotesque mentality, as well as its chaotic development' Antony Beevor This landmark work answers two of the most fundamental questions in history - how, and why, did the Holocaust happen? Laurence Rees has spent twenty-five years meeting survivors and perpetrators of the Holocaust. Now, in his magnum opus, he combines their enthralling eyewitness testimony, a large amount of which has never been published before, with the latest academic research to create the first accessible and authoritative account of the Holocaust in more than three decades. This is a new history of the Holocaust in three ways. First, and most importantly, Rees has created a gripping narrative that that contains a large amount of testimony that has never been published before. Second, he places this powerful interview material in the context of an examination of the decision making process of the Nazi state, and in the process reveals the series of escalations that cumulatively created the horror. Third, Rees covers all those across Europe who participated in the deaths, and he argues that whilst hatred of the Jews was always at the epicentre of Nazi thinking, what happened cannot be fully understood without considering the murder of the Jews alongside plans to kill millions of non-Jews, including homosexuals, 'Gypsies' and the disabled. Through a chronological, intensely readable narrative, featuring enthralling eyewitness testimony and the latest academic research, this is a compelling new account of the worst crime in history.

The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler

The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler

Author: Laurence Rees Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/06/2013

Adolf Hitler was an unlikely leader - fuelled by hate, incapable of forming normal human relationships, unwilling to debate political issues - and yet he commanded enormous support. So how was it possible that Hitler became such an attractive figure to millions of people? That is the important question at the core of Laurence Rees' new book. The Holocaust, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, the outbreak of the Second World War - all these cataclysmic events and more can be laid at Hitler's door. Hitler was a war criminal arguably without precedent in the history of the world. Yet, as many who knew him confirm, Hitler was still able to exert a powerful influence over the people who encountered him. In this fascinating book to accompany his new BBC series, the acclaimed historian and documentary maker Laurence Rees examines the nature of Hitler's appeal, and reveals the role Hitler's supposed `charisma' played in his success. Rees' previous work has explored the inner workings of the Nazi state in The Nazis: A Warning from History and the crimes they committed in Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution. The Charisma of Adolf Hitler 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.

Horror In The East

Horror In The East

Author: Laurence Rees Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/07/2011

The brutal Japanese treatment of allied prisoners of war, as well as countless thousands of Chinese civilians, during World War 2 has been well documented. Here Laurence Rees, award-winning historian and author of Auschwitz: The Nazis & The 'Final Solution' and World War II: Behind Closed Doors, turns his attention to a crucial but less understood factor of one of the most dramatic and important historical events of the 20th century: why were these atrocities carried out? More than 70 years after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, this incisive but accessible study examines shocking acts performed by Japanese soldiers, and asks why seemingly ordinary people were driven to mass murder, rape, suicide and even cannibalisation of the enemy. Uncovering personal accounts of the events, Horror in the East traces the shift in the Japanese national psyche - from the civil and reasoned treatment of captured German prisoners in World War 1 to the rejection of Western values and brutalization of the armed forces in the years that followed. In this insightful analysis, Rees probes the Japanese belief in their own racial superiority, and analyses a military that believed suicide to be more honourable than surrender.

World War Two: Behind Closed Doors Stalin, the Nazis and the West

World War Two: Behind Closed Doors Stalin, the Nazis and the West

Author: Laurence Rees Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/08/2009

When do you think the Second World War ended? If the end of the war was supposed to have brought 'freedom' to countries that suffered under Nazi occupation, then for millions it did not really end until the fall of Communism. In the summer of 1945 many of the countries in Eastern Europe simply swapped the rule of one tyrant, Adolf Hitler, for that of another: Joseph Stalin. Why this happened has remained one of the most troubling questions of the entire conflict, and is at the heart of Laurence Rees' dramatic book. In World War II: Behind Closed Doors, Rees provides an intimate 'behind the scenes' history of the West's dealings with Joseph Stalin - an account which uses material only available since the opening of archives in the East as well as new testimony from witnesses from the period. An enthralling mix of high politics and the often heart-rending personal experiences of those on the ground, it will make you rethink what you believe about World War II.

The Nazis A Warning From History

The Nazis A Warning From History

Author: Laurence Rees Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/03/2006

Following the success of Rees' bestselling Auschwitz, this substantially revised and updated edition of The Nazis - A Warning from History tells the powerfully gripping story of the rise and fall of the Third Reich. During a 16-year period, acclaimed author and documentary-maker Laurence Rees met and interviewed a large number of former Nazis, and his unique insights into the Nazi psyche and World War 2 received enormous praise. At the heart of the book lies compelling eyewitness accounts of life under Adolf Hitler, spoken through the words of those who experienced the Nazi regime at every level of society. An extensive new section on the Nazi/Soviet war (previously published in Rees' War of the Century) provides a chilling insight into Nazi mentality during the most bloody conflict in history. Described as one of the greatest documentary series of all times The Nazis - A Warning from History won a host of awards, including a BAFTA and an International Documentary Award.

Horror In The East

Horror In The East

Author: Laurence Rees Format: Hardback Release Date: 11/10/2001

From the award-winning Producer of The Nazis a Warning from History Laurence Rees turns his gaze to the atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers in World War II. In his incisive but accessible study, Laurence confronts one of the most dramatic and important historical questions of the twentieth century why did Japanese soldiers behave as they did? The Japanese treatment of allied prisoners in the Second World War is infamous. Yet, during the First World War, they fought on the Allied side and treated captured German soldiers with civility. 'Horror in the East' examines how this drastic change could have come about. Japan first turned to the West in the early 20th century, appearing to adopt Western values. But, with a rapidly increasing population and inadequate resources, those values proved difficult to support. One solution, favoured by many in the Japanese army and navy, was to build an empire. They encouraged the concept of the Emperoro as an all-powerful, 'living god' and believed they were only ultimately answerable to him. Elected Japanese politicians found it almost impossible to control them. On the 60th anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour in December 2001, this book probes the Japanese belief in their own racial superiority and the mentality that led them to contemplate suicide when they failed. Newly discovered archive together with specially shot film and interviews with Japanese eye witnesses including perpetrators makes this into a compelling portrait of war. From the teams interviews with Japanese eye witnesses, shocking stories of cannabalism, vivisection, rape, prostitution, starvation and slaughter are uncovered. Laurence goes back to the Japanese wars against the Chinese to discover why the Japanese took on the militarily superior Americans and why they thought they would win. Chapter breakdown: 1. The China Solution 2. Dealing with the West 3. Prisoners of the Japanese 4. Lurching Towards Defeat 5. EndGame 6. The firebombing of Tokyo in 1945

Auschwitz

Auschwitz

Author: Laurence Rees Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/2001

In this compelling book, highly acclaimed author and broadcaster Laurence Rees tells the definitive history of the most notorious Nazi institution of them all. We discover how Auschwitz evolved from a concentration camp for Polish political prisoners into the site of the largest mass murder in history - part death camp, part concentration camp, where around a million Jews were killed. Auschwitz examines the mentality and motivations of the key Nazi decision makers, and perpetrators of appalling crimes speak here for the first time about their actions. Fascinating and disturbing facts have been uncovered - from the operation of a brothel to the corruption that was rife throughout the camp. The book draws on intriguing new documentary material from recently opened Russian archives, which will challenge many previously accepted arguments. This is the story of murder, brutality, courage, escape and survival, and a powerful account of how human tragedy of such immense scale could have happened.

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http://www.laurencerees.com/

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