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The Red Hotel

On sale

1st February 2024

Price: £12.99

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Selected: Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781035401338

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‘A riveting trip down the corridors of Soviet deception’ Sunday Telegraph (Five-Star Review)

‘Philps’ book vindicates the value of truth’ Washington Post

‘Philps has an eye for detail and a heart for those left behind’ The Times

‘A tale of intrigue and suppression’ New York Times

A compelling and often horrifying tale of moral degradation and occasional heroism superbly told’ Economist

‘An engaging and insightful account of foreign correspondents living in the Moscow landmark during the Second World War’ History Today

Reporters. Translators. Lovers. Spies.
In THE RED HOTEL: THE UNTOLD STORY OF STALIN’S PROPAGANDA WAR, former Daily Telegraph Foreign Editor and Russia expert Alan Philps sets out the way Stalin created his own reality by constraining and muzzling the British and American reporters covering the Eastern front during the war and forcing them to reproduce Kremlin propaganda. War correspondents were both bullied and pampered in the gilded cage of the Metropol Hotel. They enjoyed lavish supplies of caviar and had their choice of young women to employ as translators and to share their beds.

While some of these translators turned journalists into robotic conveyors of Kremlin propaganda, others were brave secret dissenters who whispered to reporters the reality of Soviet life and were punished with sentences in the Gulag. Through the use of British archives and Russian sources, the story of the role of the women of the Metropol Hotel and the foreign reporters they worked with is told for the first time. This revelatory story will finally lift the lid on Stalin’s operation to muzzle and control what the Western allies’ writers and foreign correspondents knew of his regime’s policies to prosecute the war against Hitler’s rampaging armies from June 1941 onwards.


Sunday Telegraph
A riveting trip down the corridors of Soviet deception . . .Philps' book is almost faultlessly balanced between racy narrative and historical analysis
Patrick Bishop
A fabulous book, packed with untold stories, written with the lyrical empathy of an author who knows and feels his subject deeply
The Times
The Red Hotel is a sizzling read full of bitchiness and high jinks. But it is also a deeply moral book, outlining a simple truth: that the press pack abroad often operates in a bubble and is deeply dependent on local translators and fixers. Philps has an eye for detail and a heart for those left behind as the press caravan moved on
Literary Review
Philps adroitly uses the experiences of the wartime correspondents incarcerated in the Hotel Metropol in Moscow to tell at least part of the story of Stalin's campaign to dupe the West about the nature of his regime ... The Red Hotel gives a superb flavour of the compromises, betrayals and self-delusions require to report on the USSR
Washington Post
Philps's book vindicates the value of truth, most of all by depicting the lengths that a rare few will go to share it
Philps is terrific at training a spotlight on the local staff who are so often forgotten, and exposing the moral ambiguities of journalists
The Red Hotel is a compelling and often horrifying tale of moral degradation and occasional heroism superbly told by a seasoned reporter
Daily Telegraph
Balanced between racy detail and historical analysis...a riveting study
History Today
An engaging and insightful experienced and accomplished foreign correspondent himself, Philps does an excellent job of recreating a sense of time and place