THE PRIVATE PAPERS OF HORE-BELISHA by R. J. Minney

THE PRIVATE PAPERS OF HORE-BELISHA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Hore-Belisha was Britain's Secretary of State for War from 1937 until his sudden resignation in 1940. This able young politician has been credited by many to be one of the best men to hold that particular job in the 20th century- but his brusqueness, his tenacity for programs he deemed necessary, and his flair for publicity also won him many enemies. This book, largely based on his very detailed diaries and his wide correspondence during this critical period (linked by the author into a coherent narrative), is sympathetic and admiring throughout. When Hore-Belisha was called to the War Office, he attempted to reform and democratize the British army, improve recruiting, reorganize Britain's defenses, and put through England's first peacetime conscription. He knew, as many did not, that he was racing against time and Hitler. The thesis here is that the professional officers whose enmity he incurred were the source of the mysterious ""pressure"" put upon Chamberlain to ask for Hore-Belisha's resignation. Hore-Belisha never knew the exact cause of his downfall, but he played less and less of a part in politics until his death in 1958. The subject matter has remarkable interest, and Hore-Belisha was a man with a gift for language, which gives his diaries and letters a charm all their own. All in all, a dramatic book about a dramatic career.

ISBN: 0751200425
Publisher: Doubleday