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.
With The Holocaust he 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 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 Daily Mail This is by far the clearest book ever written about the Holocaust, but also the best in explaining both its origins and grotesque mentality, as well as its chaotic development -- Antony Beevor A masterpiece. Laurence Rees's best book yet. This riveting book traces every aspect of the Holocaust from its inception through to the liberation of the extermination camps. In compelling prose, Rees tells the full story of the most shameful period in the story of Mankind -- Andrew Roberts 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 A fine book. Rees is a gifted educator, who can tell a complex story with compassion and clarity, without sacrificing all nuances...it comes alive through the voices of victims, killers and bystanders. -- Nikolaus Wachsmann, author of 'KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps' Guardian The interview material is largely compelling, always illuminating and on occasion, very moving ... Like all of Rees's work, it is accurate and carefully researched -- Richard Evans New Statesman
Laurence Rees is the author of the award-winning Auschwitz: The Nazis and the 'Final Solution' - the world's bestselling book on the history of the camp. A former Head of BBC TV History programmes, he has written six books on the Nazis and the Second World War, as well as writing and producing the accompanying documentary TV series. His work includes the TV series and books The Nazis: A Warning from History, Auschwitz: The Nazis and the 'Final Solution', World War II: Behind Closed Doors and The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler. Laurence Rees was educated at Solihull School and Oxford University and holds honorary doctorates from the University of Sheffield and the Open University. For several years he was a visiting senior fellow in the International History Department at the London School of Economics and Political Science, London University. His many awards include a British Book Award, a BAFTA, a George Foster Peabody award, a Broadcasting Press Guild award, a Grierson award, a Broadcast award, two International Documentary awards and two Emmys.