Eight Days at Yalta
Meticulously researched and vividly written, Eight Days at Yalta is a remarkable work of intense historical drama.
In the last winter of the Second World War, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin arrived in the Crimean resort of Yalta. Over eight days of bargaining, bombast and intermittent bonhomie they decided on the conduct of the final stages of the war against Germany, on how a defeated and occupied Germany should be governed, on the constitution of the nascent United Nations and on spheres of influence in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Greece.
Only three months later, less than a week after the German surrender, Roosevelt was dead and Churchill was writing to the new President, Harry S. Truman, of ‘an iron curtain’ that was now ‘drawn down upon [the Soviets’] front’.
Diana Preston chronicles eight days that created the post-war world, revealing Roosevelt’s determination to bring about the dissolution of the British Empire and Churchill’s conviction that he and the dying President would run rings round the Soviet premier. But Stalin monitored everything they said and made only paper concessions, while his territorial ambitions would soon result in the imposition of Communism throughout Eastern Europe.
Diana Preston brings dry diplomacy to life. Sound in historical judgement and strong on personalities and emotions, she gives the reader a special pass to watch the world-changing events in the Livadia Palace from all the closest angles.
Norman Davies, author of Europe: A History
Diana Preston’s lively and nuanced account, place[s] the protagonists much more in their moment, as the war was still raging and they were making decisions based on the information to hand . . . shrewd . . . vivid scene-setting
Victor Sebestyen, Sunday Times
Impressively researched . . . expert account