Chamberlain, Churchill and the Road to War
Bodley Head, £20
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The policy of appeasing Hitler during the 1930s "became so discredited after 1940" that the term appeasement is now never used except as a criticism, says David Aaronovich in The Times. Revisionist historians, however, are now starting to portray Neville Chamberlain as "a maligned super-pragmatist" who used appeasement as a tool to gain time for Britain "to re-arm against the coming storm".
Appeasing Hitler attempts to return to a more traditional interpretation. It argues that at "almost every point, the policy of appeasement strengthened Nazi Germany and the Axis far more than it helped Britain or its allies".
The author "rises superbly" to the challenge of telling the complex story of appeasement, says Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer. Bouverie's narrative is "well constructed and fluently written", and he "excels at capturing the atmosphere and conveying the debates in the dining clubs, drawing rooms and society playgrounds of inter-war Britain". There are also "convincing sketches of the principals" along with "a seasoning of entertainment" from a cast of "eccentric and gruesome" secondary characters.
The book "is a good example of political history of a particularly British kind: pacy, personality-driven, self-consciously writerly and ever so slightly moralistic", says Susan Pedersen in The Guardian. But "there are limits to this sort of history", which fails to "take into account global conditions and convulsions". Bouverie neglects the role of the Great Depression and the subsequent trade wars, which undermined liberal German politicians and created an atmosphere in which Hitler could seize control of the German state.
Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.
He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.
Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.
As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.
Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri
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