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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The best-selling historian on the dramatic wartime relationship - and shocking similarities - between two tyrants.

This compelling book on Hitler and Stalin - the culmination of 30 years' work - examines the two tyrants during the Second World War, when Germany and the Soviet Union fought the biggest and bloodiest war in history. Yet despite the fact they were bitter opponents, Laurence Rees shows that Hitler and Stalin were, to a large extent, different sides of the same coin.

Hitler's charismatic leadership may contrast with Stalin's regimented rule by fear, and his intransigence later in the war may contrast with Stalin's change in behaviour in response to events. But at a macro level, both were prepared to create undreamt-of suffering, destroy individual liberty and twist facts in order to build the utopias they wanted, and while Hitler's creation of the Holocaust remains a singular crime, Rees shows why we must not forget that Stalin committed a series of atrocities at the same time.

Using previously unpublished, startling eyewitness testimony from soldiers of the Red Army and Wehrmacht, civilians who suffered during the conflict and those who knew both men personally, best-selling historian Laurence Rees - probably the only person alive who has met Germans who worked for Hitler and Russians who worked for Stalin - challenges long-held popular misconceptions about two of the most important figures in history. This is a master work from one of our finest historians.

©2020 Laurence Rees (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"Laurence Rees brilliantly combines powerful eye-witness testimony, vivid narrative and compelling analysis in this superb account of how two terrible dictators led their countries in the most destructive and inhumane war in history." (Professor Sir Ian Kershaw, author of Hitler - Hubris and Hitler - Nemesis

What listeners say about Hitler and Stalin

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No new news

Too much known fact, too repetitive. The unknown individual accounts do not make up for an otherwise very traditional view of this period in history. The key characteristic of Hitler and Stalin can be told within a chapter.

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fascinating listening

Very well written book with pages of interesting insights into these extraordinary tyrants. wonderfully delivered performance too.

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Superbly told

an illuminating chastening telling of two leaders (ciminals);, a rampant racist and a ruthless psychopath

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Good comparison and interesting detail.

I was worried that this format would be disjointed and it took a while to get into, but the book follows the historical narrative of WW2 and gets better deeper into the story. One issue I had with the performance was that Operation Bagration was pronounced so that the second part of each word sounded the same. I an not a Russian speaker but every other pronunciation I have heard is Bag-Rat-See-On. A small complaint but listen out for it!

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Could be better

Mainly just a retelling of the Eastern front story. Little insight into the two men. Rees needs to read “Blitzed” about Hitlers doctor and drug habit. Seems rather ignorant on this matter. Says Hitler dismissed Morell as he didn’t want to risk being drugged by him! Laughable.