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The Appeasers, scheduled for simultaneous Anglo-American publication, is a leek, smartly underplayed look at British foreign policy vis a vis Hitler during the thirties; it's focused-in by two historians, both in their mid-twenties and both more or less in diapers at the time of the events described. But there's nothing wet-ehind-the-ears in the assessment offered: based on recently released records of the British and German Foreign Office (a few weeks ago, in fact, some documents ""incrimnated"" the Duke of Windsor), the book presents a tale of do-nothingness under the successive Coalition and Conservative governments of MacDonald, Baldwin and Chamberlain. Especially the latter, which in retrospect seems a sad, appallingly short-ighted affair- doubly so, if one accepts what seems implicit in every revelation; hat had the pacifist ""drift"" been allayed, so too might WWII never have occurred. Whether this be true or not, the modus vivendi followed by No. 10 Downing Street was readful, one that spanned the guilt complexes of the Versailles Treaty, colonial and economic upsets, a complete misunderstanding of France's potpourri politics, Cabinet rises, a rather schoolboyish dread of Communist machinations, and, of course, both fascination with and fear of Hitler's amazing strongarm success, culminating in he infamous Munich meeting, exploding finally in the Polish fall. The book's epigraph is from Lewis Carroll: Alice laughed. ""There's no use trying"", she said, ""one can't believe impossible things"". Said the Queen: ""I daresay you haven't had such practice"".... It sums up a headline-stopper of sorts.

Pub Date: Aug. 21st, 1963
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin