HISTORY

Fighting Churchill, Appeasing Hitler: Neville Chamberlain, Sir Horace Wilson, & Britain’s Plight of Appeasement: 1937–1939

Pegasus. Dec. 2019. 368p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781643132211. pap. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781643132938. HIST
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However harshly history judges former British prime minister Neville Chamberlain in the light of his performance in 1938 Munich, when he handed over the Sudetenland to an unscrupulous and untrustworthy Hitler, claiming that by so doing, he’d secured “peace in our time,” readers will judge him even more severely after reading this book. Phillips (The King Who Had To Go) analyzes step-by-step the maneuverings of Chamberlain and his gray eminence, civil servant Sir Horace Wilson, who together systematically cut the Foreign Office (Anthony Eden and then Lord Halifax) out of negotiations with Hitler, making one misstep after another. For them, the enemy was never Hitler, but Churchill, whom they saw as an irresponsible gadfly. Nor for the most part was Parliament sympathetic to Churchill, up to the very end. We all know how this tale ended: Chamberlain fell, Churchill triumphed. Reading this book makes clear how it happened.
VERDICT This fascinating study is a model of historical sleuthing. Vigorously researched, it should appeal widely to history buffs.

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