On a wet afternoon in September 1938, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain stepped off an airplane and announced that his visit to Hitler had averted the greatest crisis in recent memory. Less than a year later, Germany invaded Poland and the Second World War began. Drawing on deep archival research and sources not previously seen by historians, Tim Bouverie has created a portrait of the ministers, aristocrats, and amateur diplomats who, through their actions and inaction, shaped their country's policy and determined the fate of Europe.
Bouverie, a young British journalist, is aware that he’s entering well-worn ground. Unlike other books about the prelude to World War II, Appeasement avoids narrowing in on a single event (Munich) or individual (Chamberlain) in favor of a more comprehensive and immersive account ... This is well-paced narrative history: intelligent, lucid, riveting — even while possessing the terrible knowledge of what happened next.
...a well-argued, lucid case for the prosecution of the appeasers, ranging from Ramsay MacDonald — prime minister when Hitler came to power in 1933 — to the Tories who opposed Winston Churchill becoming prime minister seven years later... What Bouverie re-establishes, through deft use of original sources, is that at almost every point from Hitler’s appointment as chancellor to war being declared, the policy of appeasement strengthened Nazi Germany and the Axis far more than it helped Britain or its allies.
... comprises a straightforward narrative of the main events along the road to war, but it also includes welcome insights into why the policy of appeasement proved to be so disastrous ... Mr. Bouverie has been diligent in researching the sources—it appears that he visited more than 60 archives—and has an eye for the telling anecdote and aperçu ... Mr. Bouverie’s chronicle recaptures the raw, rough and occasionally vicious moments when normally polite High Society bared its teeth at the anti-appeasers for daring to oppose the central policy of their darling, Chamberlain. Even Brexit has nothing on it ... Mr. Bouverie is excellent at knocking away the appeasers’ ex post facto arguments about how the British Empire and public opinion didn’t want war in 1938, how the armed forces needed the extra year to rearm, how no one knew how untrustworthy Hitler was until he marched into Prague, and so on ... The appeasement story and its lessons are ones for the ages.