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  • Published: 30 July 2020
  • ISBN: 9781473532557
  • Imprint: BBC Digital
  • Format: Audio Download
  • Narrator: John Hopkins
  • RRP: $27.99
Categories:

Their Darkest Hour

People Tested to the Extreme in WWII




An inspirational history one-off from the author of Auschwitz

Brought to you by Penguin.

Award-winning writer and filmmaker Laurence Rees has spent nearly 20 years meeting people who were 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. His quest has taken him from the Baltic States to Japan, from Poland to America, and from Germany to China.

Here he presents 35 of his most electrifying encounters. Meet Estera Frenkiel, a young Jewish woman given the chance to save ten fellow Jews from deportation and death; Peter Lee, a British officer brutally treated by his Japanese captors; Zinaida Pytkina, a female member of the Soviet Union's infamous SMERSH organisation, who took pleasure in killing a German Prisoner; Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese soldier so fanatical that he refused to surrender until 29 years after the end of the war; and Petras Zelionka, a Lithuanian who shot Jewish men, women and children for the Nazis.

The devastating first-hand testimony in Their Darkest Hour is both a lasting contribution to our understanding of the war and a powerful insight into the behaviour of human beings in crisis.

© Laurence Rees 2007 (P) Penguin Audio 2020

  • Published: 30 July 2020
  • ISBN: 9781473532557
  • Imprint: BBC Digital
  • Format: Audio Download
  • Narrator: John Hopkins
  • RRP: $27.99
Categories:

About the author

Laurence Rees

Laurence Rees has won the British Book Award for History Book of the Year 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 Nazis: A Warning from History, War of the Century, Horror in the East and, most recently, Auschwitz: The Nazis and the 'Final Solution'. The body of work has won him a myriad of awards including a BAFTA. a Grierson Award and an international Documentary Award. He was educated at Solihull School and Oxford University and is Creative Director of BBC TV History programmes.

Also by Laurence Rees

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Praise for Their Darkest Hour

Rees has made an important contribution to our understanding of the Second World War. His great urge to comprehend the mentalities of those who took part in the conflict is fired by a passionate curiosity, and his wide body of work is distinguished by a fierce intellectual honesty

Antony Beevor, author of, Stalingrad and Berlin, the Downfall

Rees is one of the few people - perhaps the only one - who has met and interviewed at length not only hundreds of people who suffered from the barbarities of World War Two right across the globe but also, crucially, many of the perpetrators... All this has given Rees a comparative, cross-cultural perspective on the horrors of the war that no academic could match

Daniel Snowman, author of, Historians and The Hitler Emigres

Laurence Rees has devoted much of his life to trying to understand how the atrocities of the Second World War were possible. Nobody else has penetrated as far into the motivation and psyche of such a varied group of people from the war. We should be grateful to him for his work - and we should all read this book

Andrew Roberts, author of, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples since 1900

fascinating but disturbing

Daily Mail

This book is both a lasting contribution to our understanding of the Second World War and a powerful insight into the behaviour of human beings in crisis

The Independent

powerful and unsettling

The Sunday Times

Laurence Rees has done more for good history on television in this country than anyone else. Over several series, he has examined the most terrible aspects of the Second World War with a passionate longing to understand, while rejecting facile moral judgment...Their Darkest Hour comes from a selection of his interviews with both perpetrators and victims...The cumulative effects of Rees's observations, to say nothing of the stories themselves, become deeply disturbing.

Anthony Beevor, The Daily Telegraph

chilling collection of eye-witness testimonies...bringing nuance to our understanding of the horrific experience of war.

Financial Times

enthralling and often chilling

Wales on Sunday

an incredible, well-written, "must read" book

Press Association

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