The images are seared in our memory from World War II: photographs of Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin seated together in a marble courtyard at Yalta. As this uneasy alliance of leaders convened on the Black Sea, they offered hope to a world ravaged by war. Later, the so-called Yalta Conference was blamed for almost everything that was to go wrong in the next half-century. But what really happened at the conference itself, award-winning journalist Robert Wernick argues in this short-form book, did not warrant this response.
Yalta itself, once part of Russia, then handed over to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, finally became, in 1991, part of the newly independent republic of Ukraine. Wernick takes us on a guided tour of Yalta through the years to Livadia Palace, the dream house built by Czar Nicholas II that became the site of the Yalta Conference; to the inner workings of the conference itself; through the postwar years; and finally to what, today, remains a splendid, though unpolished, jewel on the Black Sea.