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Chamberlain and Appeasement: British Policy and the Coming of the Second World War (British History in Perspective) Hardcover – August, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0312096595 ISBN-10: 0312096593

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Editorial Reviews


'R.A.C. Parker's book is a scrupulously scholarly synthesis designed to demolish both the original myth and the revisionist fantasy.' - Times 'This is an excellent, stimulating and important book, a version of the appeasement story that will stand for another 30 years.' - Guardian 'Superb. Based on a matchless knowledge of the archives and written with a kind of controlled intensity interspersed with elegant wit, it makes all previous accounts redundant and is of the first importance.' - Kenneth O. Morgan, New Statesman and Society 'You will want to read this book. It is intelligently provocative. It forces one to reconsider the real issues involved in the ongoing debate about appeasemenet, a controversy that has neither lost its historical importance nor its contemporary relevance.' - Zara Steiner, Financial Times 'Parker's work sets a standard at which any dissident will have to aim.' - Independent --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: British History in Perspective
  • Hardcover: 388 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (August 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312096593
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312096595
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,257,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Martz on August 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
This judicious scholarly monograph weaves numerous short quotations from source documents into a reasonably readable and balanced assessment of C. It concludes that his "policy was arrogant, not weak or timid" (p.218). Parker notes that since the opening of WWII archival records in the 1960s historians have become "steadily more benign" in revising the myth fostered by Churchill and others that C. was a stupid and/or cowardly man. He was not, claims the author "a parochial, narrow minded nonentity" but a "hard working, clear headed and efficient statesman" (p.326).

One theme of the work is that appeasement, based on British guilt feelings about the severity of the Treaty of Versailes, was a widely popular policy through much of the 1930s. Even when this view waned in the post-Munich period and down to the onset of war, no political faction of consequence offered any alternative German policy that could hope to command a parliamentary majority. Give Parker credit; he avoids the seductive trap of 20-20 hindsight. But it remains an open question whether readers will accept his assessment that "In the the circumstances that [C.] found, scholars suggest, he managed public affairs as well as anyone could have done" (p.343).

This is not to suggest that Parker gives C. a free pass. He taxes the Prime Minister with failing "to grasp the suicidal irrationality of Nazism" (p.332). Wisdom of hindsight or not, any suggestion that there was not plenty of evidence in Mein Kampf and Hitler's behavior up to 1939 that this was not an individual easily reasoned with would be difficult to swallow.
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