Author(s): Richard Holmes
"The World at War" is the definitive television work on the Second World War. It set out to tell the story of the war through the testimony of key participants - from civilians to ordinary soldiers, from statesmen to generals. First broadcast in 1973, the result was a unique and irreplaceable record since many of the eyewitnesses captured on film did not have long to live. The programme'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. For more than 30 years the interviews have never been allowed to be published - until now. 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). Highly respected historian and bestselling author Richard Holmes has skilfully woven this valuable original material into a compelling narrative, creating a truly phenomenal oral history of the Second World War.
A phenomenal oral history of the Second World War using interviews from the classic TV series
"Most of the people who were interviewed for the [TV] series are now dead, but their vital history -- thanks to this book -- still lives." -- Laurence Rees, author of "Auschwitz"
Richard Holmes was one of Britain's most distinguished historians and television presenters. He was the author of a number of bestselling books, including Redcoat: The British Soldier in the Age of the Horse and Musket, Wellington: The Iron Duke, Tommy: The British Soldier on the Western Front, In the Footsteps of Churchill and Dusty Warriors: Modern Soldiers at War, and was the general editor of The Definitive Oxford Companion to Military History. He had written and presented a number of popular series for the BBC, such as Battlefields, War Walks and The Western Front. He died in April 2011 at the age of 65. The World at War was first broadcast by Thames Television in October 1973, when memories of the Second World War were still clear in people's mind and the war's veterans were numerous. The unique television series assembled these recollections over 26 one-hour programmes. Produced by Sir Jeremy Isaacs, narrated by Sir Laurence Olivier and unforgettably scored by Carl Davis, it was a seminal moment in the history of television documentaries, setting the standard by which all factual programming was thereafter judged. Only a fraction of the recorded material made it into the final cut, and it was more than thirty years later that Richard Holmes returned to the original interviews to weave together this compelling narrative.