The World at War: The Landmark Oral History from the Previously Unpublished Archives

Overview

The World at War was the definitive television work on World War II. First broadcast in 1973, it was a unique and irreplaceable record since many of the eyewitnesses captured on film did not have long to live. The program’s producers committed hundreds of interview-hours to tape in its creation, but only a fraction of that recorded material made it to the final cut. The well-known names interviewed for the series include Albert Speer, Karl Wolff (Himmler’s adjutant), Traudl Junge (Hitler’s secretary), James ...

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Overview

The World at War was the definitive television work on World War II. First broadcast in 1973, it was a unique and irreplaceable record since many of the eyewitnesses captured on film did not have long to live. The program’s producers committed hundreds of interview-hours to tape in its creation, but only a fraction of that recorded material made it to the final cut. The well-known names interviewed for the series include Albert Speer, Karl Wolff (Himmler’s adjutant), Traudl Junge (Hitler’s secretary), James Stewart (USAAF bomber pilot and Hollywood star), Anthony Eden, John Colville (Parliamentary Private Secretary to Winston Churchill), Averell Harriman (US Ambassador to Russia), and Arthur "Bomber" Harris (Head of RAF Bomber Command). Richard Holmes has skillfully woven this valuable original material into a compelling narrative, creating a truly phenomenal oral history of World War II.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Compelling."  —Library Journal

"What sets Richard Holmes apart is the sheer quality of his writing and his empathy with his subjects."  —Independent

"The World at War was one of the greatest television series of all time. It demonstrated the potential power of history on television and inspired a generation. It is tremendously exciting that the complete interviews with the participants . . . are now published here for the first time. Most of the people who were interviewed for the series are now dead, but their vital history—thanks to this book—still lives."  —Laurence Rees, author, Auschwitz

"A treasure trove of eyewitness accounts."  —BBC History Magazine

"Holmes has a sharp, knowing eye for anecdote and detail."  —Mail on Sunday

Library Journal

This is a belated companion to the 1973 multihour British TV documentary on World War II, which was based on hundreds of hours of interviews with key figures of the war (most since deceased) from all sides. The book represents the first use of that archive of interviews, here presented as hundreds of brief oral statements usually less than half a page long, from people in all walks of life and from many countries. Loosely organized under 35 subjects, the text results in not a history so much as a compilation of personal opinions and experiences. The immediacy of the statements is compelling, but they are of little use without knowledge of the context. The book should be a supplement to existing collections in larger libraries.


—Edwin B. Burgess
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780091917524
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Pages: 672
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Holmes is a British soldier and noted military historian. His books include In the Footsteps of Churchill, Sahib, and Tommy.

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