Book Review: Tim Bouverie ~ Appeasing Hitler: Chamberlain, Churchill and the Road to War (2019)

This is a ground breaking account of the 1930s. It’s meticulous history. The front cover ‘blurb’ quotes Antony Beevor saying, “An astonishing debut.’ and Beevor is one of the Britain’s greatest historians.

Great history writing is literature. Bouverie welds his use of sources with telling intimate quotes. Rab Butler on the day Chamberlain resigned made this acid comment,

This sudden coup of Winston and his rabble was a serious disaster and an unnecessary one ….They had weakly surrendered to a half-breed American whose main support was that of inefficient but talkative people of a similar type.” pp404-5

An early encounter with Hitler by Conservative MP Bob Boothby has this surreal moment,

Boothby was taken to a room in the Esplanade Hotel where ‘a short, dark, spare figure with a small moustache and limpid blue eyes’ jumped up, clicked his heels, saluted and shouted ‘Hitler’. The mischievous MP hardly paused before he clicked his own heels, saluted and yelled ‘Boothby’. P21

There’s fun but there’s deep critical analysis and profound awareness, which makes this an important book. It is very detailed but is worth the effort.

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