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The first major narrative history of one of the most controversial episodes in British history – and the exciting debut by a talented young historian

'Appeasing Hitler is an astonishingly accomplished debut. Bouverie writes with a wonderful clarity and we will no doubt hear a lot more of his voice in future'

On a wet afternoon in September 1938, Neville Chamberlain stepped off an aeroplane and announced that his visit to Hitler had averted the greatest crisis in recent memory. It was, he later assured the crowd in Downing Street, ‘peace for our time’. Less than a year later, Germany invaded Poland and the Second World War began.

Appeasing Hitler is a compelling new narrative history of the disastrous years of indecision, failed diplomacy and parliamentary infighting that enabled Nazi domination of Europe. Beginning with the advent of Hitler in 1933, it sweeps from the early days of the Third Reich to the beaches of Dunkirk. Bouverie takes us into the backrooms of 10 Downing Street and Parliament, where a small group of rebellious MPs, including the indomitable Winston Churchill, were among the few to realise that the only choice was between ‘war now or war later’. And we enter the drawing rooms and dining clubs of fading imperial Britain, where Hitler enjoyed surprising support among the ruling class and even some members of the Royal Family.

Drawing on deep archival research, including previously unseen sources, this is an unforgettable portrait of the ministers, aristocrats and amateur diplomats who, through their actions and inaction, shaped their country's policy and determined the fate of Europe.

Both sweeping and intimate, Appeasing Hitler is not only eye-opening history but a timeless lesson on the challenges of standing up to aggression and authoritarianism – and the calamity that results from failing to do so.


Appeasing Hitler is an astonishingly accomplished debut. Bouverie writes with a wonderful clarity and we will no doubt hear a lot more of his voice in future

Antony Beevor

A brilliant and sparkling debut by an outstanding young historian. Tim Bouverie has written an account of the build-up to the Second World War that reads like a thriller. I couldn’t put it down.

Peter Frankopan

This is the debut of an unusually talented writer, one of the most promising young historians to enter our field for years

Max Hastings

Drawing on an impressive and interesting range of sources and characters, Tim Bouverie has written a fascinating and scholarly portrait of a decade when credulity, self-interest and poor judgement prevailed tragically and inexorably over morality and good sense: this is the reporting of history at its best

Caroline Moorehead

Appeasing Hitler is the stunning debut of a major new narrative historian. Tim Bouverie makes us look again at the familiar story of the doomed attempt to appease Hitler in the 1930s. While he is fair and reasoned in his judgements, he shows how the dictator ran rings around Western leaders who naively or wilfully misread his intentions and ignored what was happening in Germany. A riveting and depressing story which has resonance today as the democracies again face dictatorships

Professor Margaret Macmillan

The best account of the subject that I have ever read… Not only dramatic but sparkling and witty

Professor Sir Michael Howard

Tim Bouverie tells the story of appeasement with skill, verve and panache, using contemporary accounts to great effect in exploring the mentalities that lay behind the political decisions

Ian Kershaw

An eye-opening narrative which makes for exciting but at times uncomfortable reading as one reflects on possible lessons for the present

Antonia Fraser

With enormous flair and confidence, Tim Bouverie has brought his subject to life, elegantly drawing out the historical parallels while also presenting a gripping and well-paced narrative. Lively, nuanced, and full of surprising details, this is a stunning debut

Henry Hemming

Truly impressive and enjoyable. Tim Bouverie writes with verve and wit, gives us an often moving and always human angle on the story, and removes the tarnish from the word ‘appeasement’ to make us look anew at one of the most important, and salutary, periods of modern times

Roland Philipps

No previous book on Appeasement has managed to cast such a vivid, detailed and utterly fascinating light on the incredible political machinations that were being played out in the late 1930s. Tim Bouverie has brilliantly brought alive the tension, political brinkmanship and immense drama of those days... This is political drama at its most compelling, and one whose relevance sits with the reader long after the book has been put down. Superb.

James Holland

Tim Bouverie breathes new life into this familiar story. His vivid narrative is compelling, even exciting, as it hurtles towards its tragic conclusion. This is a superb book that deserves to be widely read

Adam Sisman, Literary Review

This is a good example of political history of a particularly British kind: pacy, personality driven, self-consciously writerly and slightly moralistic… vivid, engaging and certainly has its pleasures

Susan Pedersen, Guardian

Bouverie… retells [the story of appeasement] with gusto

Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times

Bouverie gives a lucid account… [and] skilfully traces each shameful step to war… which he describes in moving and dramatic detail

Lewis Jones, Sunday Telegraph

Gripping.. Bouverie has written a searching, wide-ranging, and above all readable chronology of a shameful era of British history… a very cautionary tale

Nigel Jones, Spectator

[An] impressive and very readable account

Tony Rennell, Daily Mail

In meticulous detail and with moments of novelty and insight… [Appeasing Hitler] should become a standard text on this inglorious episode… an exceptionally promising debut. He has great narrative abilities and his research has been extensive

Simon Heffer, Daily Telegraph

Tim Bouverie’s first historical work… is a well-argued, lucid case for the prosecution of the appeasers

David Aaronovitch, The Times, *Book of the Week*

With tremendous narrative flair and impeccable judgement, Bouverie illuminates the wishful thinking, the gullibility and the appalling amateurishness that led us to the precipice

Simon Griffith, Mail on Sunday

This gripping book is…valuable because it illuminates some eternal truths

Andrew Rawnsley, Observer

So assured is Bouverie’s writing, and so sound his judgments, that it is hard to believe that Appeasing Hitler is his first book. It is a wonderful debut that marks the arrival of a young historian to watch

Saul David, Evening Standard, *Book of the Week*

[An] accomplished and lucid account

Josh Ireland, Prospect

Bouverie’s well-written Appeasing Hitler aims to provide a timeless lesson on the challenges of standing up to aggression.

Jo Johnson, Financial Times

Bouverie has mined an impressive range of sources and quotes from them judiciously. His narrative is lucid, his prose efficient, his put-downs witty… [he] tells an important story well.

Lucy Hughes-Hallett, New Statesman

The skill with which Tim Bouverie navigates here through the worlds of politics, officialdom and diplomacy is quite exemplary… his explanations of complex issues are always lucid; his narrative style is thoughtful, unshowy and always a pleasure to read… This is, quite simply, the best book ever to have appeared on this whole subject

Noel Malcolm, Oldie

Bouverie’s Appeasing Hitler provides a meticulous picture of a Britain that faced very different problems from our own

Thelma Lovell, Catholic Herald

Scrupulously fair, [and a] readable account… [an] excellent book

Marcus Tanner, Tablet

Appeasing Hitler…is a staggeringly good account of the build-up to the Second World War… gripping, dramatic and revelatory

Christian May, City AM

Bouverie’s prose is fluent and assured throughout. Those in search of an entertaining read will find one… an admirable retelling of traditional history

Robert Crowcroft, History Today

An enthralling, nuanced tale… the narrative is absolutely compelling

Times Literary Supplement

An elegantly written account by a rising young historian

The Times, *Summer reads of 2019*

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    April 16, 2019

    Bodley Head

    512 pages

    RRP $40.00

    Online retailers

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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.co.nz

  • Appeasing Hitler



    April 4, 2019

    Bodley Head

    512 pages

    RRP $55.00

    Online retailers

    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • Fishpond
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.co.nz

  • EBook


    April 4, 2019

    Vintage Digital

    512 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle NZ
    • iBooks NZ
    • Google Play EBook NZ
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia NZ