SOCIAL SCIENCES

Appeasement: Chamberlain, Hitler, Churchill, and the Road to War

Tim Duggan: Crown. Jun. 2019. 512p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780451499844. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780451499868. HIST
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Could Hitler have been halted before rampaging Europe? Why did England believe they could manage the Third Reich without military force? These are questions Bouverie (Appeasing Hitler) answers thoroughly and decisively in this latest work. Appeasement, per the book’s title, was a notion that Germany in the 1930s could simply be controlled. Bouverie meticulously details the rise and aggression of Hitler through the lens of British politicians, diplomats, and powerbrokers. The author argues that some foresaw Hitler for the despot he was, but many, most notably British prime minister Neville Chamberlain, could not fathom that Hitler’s motives were so malevolent and cruel. Readers get a full view of this extensive failure from backroom dealings to the floor of parliament. Many know of how Chamberlain’s successor, Winston Churchill, rose to glory in helping to defeat Hitler. Bouverie’s history looks at individuals shying away from making difficult decisions in order to see what was right in front of them, with the goal of pinpointing the reasons why England waited so long to act.
VERDICT History readers, particularly of the 20th century, will appreciate Bouverie’s relentless pursuit of answers to the question, “Why?”

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