Neville Chamberlain: A Biography

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Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2006 - History - 573 pages
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History has not looked kindly upon Neville Chamberlain. Despite a long and distinguished political career, his trip to Munich in 1938 and the 'appeasement' of Hitler have forever overshadowed his many other achievements and blighted his reputation, his name now synonymous with the futility of trying to reason with dictators and bullies. Yet, as this biography shows, there is much more to this complex and intriguing character than is generally supposed, and even the infamous events of 1938 are open to more charitable interpretations than is usually the case. Appeasement brought the British government crucial time in which to rearm, and in particular allowed the RAF to drastically increase the number of fighter aircraft it could muster for the Battle of Britain during the summer of 1940. Based on the study of over 150 collections of private papers on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as exhaustive exploration of British government records held in the National Archives, it is no exaggeration to say that the author has surveyed virtually all the existing archival material written by or to Chamberlain, as well as a high proportion of that referring to him. of Chamberlain's life and career, and provide a much fuller and fairer picture of his actions than has hitherto been the case.
 

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Contents

The Chamberlain Enigma
1
Formative Influences From Highbury to Andros
19
Birmingham and National Service 1911August 1917
39
The Frustrated Backbencher August 1917October 1922
65
A Rising Star October 1922October 1924
87
The Ministry of Health November 1924May 1929
105
Opposition and the Financial Crisis June 1929October 1931
137
The Treasury Tariffs and Economic Diplomacy 19311934
163
A New Style of Prime Minister May 1937February 1938
261
The Road to Munich MarchSeptember 1938
291
Betrayal October 1938March 1939
327
The Coming of War MarchSeptember 1939
351
The Bore War September 1939January 1940
383
Decline and Fall FebruaryMay 1940
411
Epilogue MayNovember 1940
431
Notes and References
453

Depression and Recovery 19311935
193
Unemployment Special Areas and Lloyd Georges New Deal 19321937
213
Foreign and Defence Policy 19341937
235
A Guide to Sources
539
Index
553
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About the author (2006)

Robert Self is a specialist in interwar British and international history with extensive experience in historical archives (both private papers and government collections) on both sides of the Atlantic. Among his most recent publications are an edited volume of The Austen Chamberlain Diary Letters to his sisters, and four volumes of The Neville Chamberlain Diary Letters - the latter also published by Ashgate.

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