Their Darkest Hour

Laurence Rees

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Their Darkest Hour

Their Darkest Hour How could Nazi killers shoot Jewish women and children at close range Why did Japanese soldiers rape and murder on such a horrendous scale How was it possible to endure the torment of a Nazi concentra

  • Title: Their Darkest Hour
  • Author: Laurence Rees
  • ISBN: 9780091917579
  • Page: 238
  • Format: Hardcover
  • How could Nazi killers shoot Jewish women and children at close range Why did Japanese soldiers rape and murder on such a horrendous scale How was it possible to endure the torment of a Nazi concentration camp Award winning documentary maker and historian Laurence Rees has spent nearly 20 years wrestling with these questions in the course of filming hundreds of interviewHow could Nazi killers shoot Jewish women and children at close range Why did Japanese soldiers rape and murder on such a horrendous scale How was it possible to endure the torment of a Nazi concentration camp Award winning documentary maker and historian Laurence Rees has spent nearly 20 years wrestling with these questions in the course of filming hundreds of interviews with people 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.In Their Darkest Hour he presents 35 of his most electrifying encounters.

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      Posted by:Laurence Rees
      Published :2019-02-21T11:09:48+00:00

    One thought on “Their Darkest Hour

    1. Lauren Hopkins on said:

      Really like 2.5 stars. Half impressive and half a letdown. I was hoping, based on the other works I've read of this author's, that this would be a massively in-depth look at how human beings are able to go on living their lives after committing atrocities and living through wildly horrific ordeals. That's what this book is at its core, using the most awful situations experienced in WWII to explore what it's like to live through them, told via interviews with the people who actually had to live t [...]

    2. Simon Dobson on said:

      It's hard to mark a book like this as four stars, since it's a harrowing rather than a purely enjoyable read. Nevertheless, it's a phenomenal work that really complements the author's other accompishments. It's a series of interviews with people involved in various aspects of World War 2, including both victims an victimisers, and tries to get them to open up about their experiences and motivations. Some of the people appear in Rees' other books, notably "Auschwitz, the Nazis, and the Final Solu [...]

    3. Craig on said:

      This is a collection interviews of people who survived WWII. Some were victims, some were villains. Rees tries to understand the spot these people were in - sometimes his commentary is chilling and psychological; but more often it is dry and detracts from the story. I would have probably preferred that most of the interviews were longer than 6-12 pages. Still, it's an important and captivating read.

    4. S.P. Harrison on said:

      This is a book of interviews conducted by Rees of hundreds of people who endured the cruelties of the Second World War. Extraordinarily he also interviews those who carried out such atrocities giving Rees a "rative, cross-cultural perspective on the horrors of the war that no academic could match."Rees writes in an easy and fluid way not the dry, dense writing that one would expect from an academic. Central to this book is not only his incredulity at how people could behave in such bestial ways [...]

    5. Paul Loong on said:

      The 35 interviewees, whether they are the mass murderer, rapist, soldiers, survivors, or citizens, all have their own reasons (or excuses?) for what they have done in WWII. To us, this seems to be unbelievable that they have made such decisions and most of them do not regret for what they have done. But, as the author says, position yourself in the same situation as them. Would you do the same as them? I myself do think that this book has given me another direction on viewing such topic. It is v [...]

    6. Russ on said:

      an interesting read if you haven't read any of the author's other books before - this revisits some of the interviews from his earlier works, such as The Nazis, Horror in the East & Auschwitz, but puts them into a personal context, where Rees looks back over his own feelings concerning the interviewees experiences, motivations & beliefs. There are some horrors there, but also a couple of people who did what they thought was right, suffered the consequences for the rest of their lives, bu [...]

    7. Shelley on said:

      "Maybe terrible adversity would bring out the best in us, or, just maybe, it would reveal the worst. What do you think? What would you have done?" pg. 278. An excellent question and one that keeps being asked throughout this thought-provoking and interesting book.

    8. Keen on said:

      4.5 Stars!“I didn’t have any regrets, to put it bluntly. I was twenty-one years old that summer of the fire-bombing. And I really was wanting to get the war over and I wanted to go home. And if they told me to go and bomb some cities, I went and bombed cities.”So says, one American officer, who would go onto lead a productive life as lawyer in the US after the war. What this testimony and more like it show, is how distance and remoteness from victims can sanitise the horror, whilst also pa [...]

    9. Junhao on said:

      Overall, this book is a good read. It has 35 accounts of people who lived through WWII and had to make terrible decisions, albeit by our standards. The different narratives helped me understand why these 35 individuals did the things they did; each of them has logical reasons. As Rees constantly pointed out, what would we really do if we are put in their situations?While there are some chapters which left me aghast at their accounts (especially the final section on Mass Suicide), there are some [...]

    10. Mark on said:

      A somewhat sad but very thought provoking book. As well as a collection of fascinating testimonies that give some real and fresh historical insight into WW2, fundamental questions are asked of the human condition, admirably summed up in the postscript.

    11. Tom Vincent on said:

      A wonderful book that broadens perspective, particularly helpful in shedding light on how people outside of Europe and within regimes were treated. It is incredible that people experienced and survived the events contained within this book. This challenged my thoughts about national experiences within the war, really emphasising the chaotic and non linear reality that is often not presented in the popular understanding of events. Excellent and insightful read, with some real lessons to be learne [...]

    12. Tarn Richardson on said:

      Chilling. This book examines what happens to man when he is pushed to, and beyond, their capabilities, physically, but also mentally and spiritually. What happens when authority demands of you, in moments of terror, chaos and exhaustion, what any sane person would refuse in an instant? The book examines 35 individual cases and comes to the conclusion that there really is no answer to why we've done what we have, why we have the monster within us, only that we all possess it and one never knows w [...]

    13. Chloe on said:

      An interesting and sometimes disturbing collection of experiences from WW2. Would have been even better had the author let the people he interviews speak for themselves a bit more, he tends to retell a lot of what they said and only uses direct quotes for the odd sentence or so. Also the sections on each person are shorter then I expected but this doesn't detract from the impact of their stories. A worthwhile read which poses some interesting moral dilemmas.

    14. Sarah on said:

      This book has so much potential to bring to light some little known stories of firsthand accounts, but the author's thoughts ended up being a substantial portion of this book instead. He goes on long-winded rants but then only includes a few sentences from the person he is interviewing. The subject matter is fascinating and I believe people could gain something from reading this book, but it was a chore to get through because of the author's writing style.

    15. Michael Flanagan on said:

      This book is fantastic. It allows the reader to see the mind set of the people who committed the atrocities of world war II. Why not excusing their actions it allows an insight into their reasonings behind their actions. This book for me captures the essence of what fascinates me, that being a study of how people act under the extreme pressures of war. A true study into the nature of humans.

    16. Steve on said:

      Rees interviews a number WWII veterans for all sides and asks them about their motivations for contributing to atrocities that were committed during the war. It is a little biased in favour of the modern western mindset however the insights into the (mostly) ordinary people mixed up in WWII makes the book worth reading.

    17. Hamish Davidson on said:

      Wow, what a collection of stories. It is utterly fascinating to get an insight of people's thought processes in response to some of the most extreme circumstances of World War Two. Rees is an exceptional writer and historian. Well worth reading if you are interested in the more personal accounts of the war.

    18. Jacquie South on said:

      Not as gripping to read as I thought it would be, but the content was interesting. Good to read about aspects of WW2 in a different way, and to think about how we might react in the same way. A bit dry in the telling though, and a bit much 'essay' writing (author's interpetation anout it all) maybe for my liking.

    19. Gillian on said:

      I should probably say that "I liked it" is not a very good description of how this book made me feel. It's certainly fascinating and a remarkable read, but I don't really think we're supposed to enjoy it.

    20. Baco on said:

      I lot of valuable and interesting material here, but instead of letting the interviews speak for themselves, the author fills the pages with inane prose and sanctimonious moralizing. The result reads like an introduction to WWII atrocities for young readers.

    21. Kirsty on said:

      Ive read most of Laurence Rees books as i find WW2 really interesting. This one was one of my favourites (in a weird way!) If you find peoples opinions and experiences interesting then give it a go.

    22. Jane on said:

      If you're a teacher working with "Core Curriculum" this book will serve you well. If you reading for entertainment and edification . . . even better.

    23. David on said:

      A fascinating book based on interviews with people who survived extreme circumstances during WWII.

    24. Roney Lundell on said:

      So dark, so personal, so close. I had to stop reading quite a few times because I had to think about what I just read.It's not an easy book to read, it is really exploring people's darkest hours.

    25. PMP on said:

      A challenge to get past the heavy hand of the writer to the voices of the interviewees.

    26. Kazimiera pendrey on said:

      a heart breaking and shocking seies of world war two memoirs but it is well worth a read

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