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The World at War

New or Used: $28.49
New or Used: $28.49

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A phenomenal oral history of the Second World War using interviews from the classic TV series

About the Author

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.


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. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"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 from The World at War 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 of AUSCHWITZ "A treasure trove of eyewitness accounts" BBC History magazine

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