A radically new view of the British policy of appeasement in the late 1930s, identifying the individuals responsible for a variety of miscalculations and moral surrender that made World War II inevitable.
We all know how this tale ended: Chamberlain fell, Churchill triumphed. Reading this book makes clear how it happened ... This fascinating study is a model of historical sleuthing. Vigorously researched, it should appeal widely to history buffs.
Phillips’s account reveals the extent to which the prime minister banked his appeasement efforts on such ill-fated plans as partially restoring German claims in colonial Africa in exchange for Adolf Hitler’s agreement to rejoin the League of Nations and take a less aggressive posture toward Czechoslovakia and other Eastern European countries. Phillips deepens the common understanding of such well-known events ... Chamberlain apologists are likely to rethink their stance in light of evidence, presented here, that the prime minister ignored his military advisers’ opinions when it suited him, and that he and Wilson influenced the British media to suppress criticism of the Nazi regime. This somber, exhaustive account will persuade WWII history buffs that, in trying to prevent the war, Chamberlain and Wilson 'made it almost inevitable.'
Churchill, though vain and capable of exercising questionable judgment, was ordinarily a hard fighter who bore no grudges, but Phillips writes that he seems to have taken pleasure in stripping Wilson of his positions and making his life otherwise difficult after Chamberlain’s fall ... A fresh interpretation of the question of appeasement that will interest students of 20th-century history.