A NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS’ CHOICE • SUNDAY TIMES (UK) BESTSELLER • A gripping new history of the British appeasement of Hitler on the eve of World War II
“An eye-opening narrative that makes for exciting but at times uncomfortable reading as one reflects on possible lessons for the present.”—Antonia Fraser, author of Mary Queen of Scots
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. It was, he later assured the crowd in Downing Street, “peace for our time.” Less than a year later, Germany invaded Poland and the Second World War began.
Appeasement is a groundbreaking history of the disastrous years of indecision, failed diplomacy and parliamentary infighting that enabled Hitler’s domination of Europe. Drawing on deep archival research and sources not previously seen by historians, Tim Bouverie has created an unforgettable 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.
Beginning with the advent of Hitler in 1933, we embark on a fascinating journey from the early days of the Third Reich to the beaches of Dunkirk. Bouverie takes us not only into the backrooms of Parliament and 10 Downing Street but also into the drawing rooms and dining clubs of fading imperial Britain, where Hitler enjoyed surprising support among the ruling class and even some members of the royal family.
Both sweeping and intimate, Appeasement is not only an eye-opening history but a timeless lesson on the challenges of standing up to aggression and authoritarianism–and the calamity that results from failing to do so.