Troublesome Young Men

Troublesome Young Men

The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power and Helped Save England

Book - 2007
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A riveting history of the daring politicians who challenged the disastrous policies of the British government on the eve of World War II   On May 7, 1940, the House of Commons began perhaps the most crucial debate in British parliamentary history. On its outcome hung the future of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's government and also of Britain--indeed, perhaps, the world. Troublesome Young Men is Lynne Olson's fascinating account of how a small group of rebellious Tory MPs defied the Chamberlain government's defeatist policies that aimed to appease Europe's tyrants and eventually forced the prime minister's resignation.

Some historians dismiss the "phony war" that preceded this turning point--from September 1939, when Britain and France declared war on Germany, to May 1940, when Winston Churchill became prime minister--as a time of waiting and inaction, but Olson makes no such mistake, and describes in dramatic detail the public unrest that spread through Britain then, as people realized how poorly prepared the nation was to confront Hitler, how their basic civil liberties were being jeopardized, and also that there were intrepid politicians willing to risk political suicide to spearhead the opposition to Chamberlain--Harold Macmillan, Robert Boothby, Leo Amery, Ronald Cartland, and Lord Robert Cranborne among them. The political and personal dramas that played out in Parliament and in the nation as Britain faced the threat of fascism virtually on its own are extraordinary--and, in Olson's hands, downright inspiring.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780374179540
Branch Call Number: 941.084
Characteristics: 436 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.


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Jun 17, 2012

A brilliant social history and triple biography, this is a superb introduction to the Second War. The star may be the city of London before and during the Second War, but the narrative gravitates around the key roles played by three US citizens: Winant, the ambassador; A Harriman the meddlesome Lend-Lease mogul; and Ed Murrow, the journalist par excellence. Told by a US writer who has no difficulty reporting the facts that don't put her country in the best light. Touches on a myriad of related subjects, including the shock of the Brits at the racism in US ranks, the promiscuity of just about everyone during the war, including all three protagonists, the tensions between FDR and Winston, governments-in-exile vying for attention, inlcuding the ambitious arrogance of De Gaulle and his rise to power in the face of Allied resistance, the betrayal of the Poles by the Allies in the face of Soviet intransigence, etc. As strongly recommended as Lynne Olson's Troublesome Young Men, about the slow and against-the-odds rise of Churchill to power in Britain after the war was launched.


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