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Appeasing Hitler

Tim Bouverie has written a measured, well researched account of the Appeasement years. He cites several reasons for the appeasement policy of Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain: 1) the country was ill-prepared for war; 2) there was a mood of pacifism in the country which may well have resulted [...]

June 19, 2019 // 0 Comments

Overnight plucking

Here come further contributions to our continuing series of “items of potential interest to Rusters spotted on the internet”. Few things make me laugh more than a classic malapropism and/or inadvertent mix-up of words. My own grandmother was capable of both, sometimes in the same [...]

June 18, 2019 // 0 Comments

The Professor and the Parson/Adam Sisman

The biographer Adam Sisman is clearly intrigued by con men. His biography of Professor Hugh Trevor Roper necessarily had to discuss how, when and why he was duped into authenticating the Hitler diaries. The next one on John le Carre had to feature his conman father. Hugh Trevor Roper was intrigued [...]

June 3, 2019 // 0 Comments

The Greatest Comeback/David Bolchover

This life of Béla Guttman is not just the one of the best sporting biographies I have ever read but general biography too. The subtitle From Genocide to Football Glory says it all. I suspect many will be unfamiliar with name of Bela Guttmann. He is best known for being the manager of the Benfica [...]

May 15, 2019 // 0 Comments

Middle England/ Jonathan Coe

Middle England by Jonathan Coe might end up as the definitive Brexit novel as it’s set from 2012 to the present day. The author does not disguise his remain sympathies but he brings out well the various motives and rationale for voting either way and the destruction it wrought. I first came [...]

May 12, 2019 // 0 Comments

Love is Blind / William Boyd

William Boyd is one of of Britain’s most popular and successful novelists. He is also one of our most versatile. You never know quite what to expect when you read a Boyd novel. The hero or heroine might be male or female, it can take place in any location in any epoch. It can be comic it can be [...]

April 30, 2019 // 0 Comments

Vienna Spies/Alex Gerlis

I do not know how this espionage novel came to be on my Kindle. I can only assume it was a recommendation by Amazon based on previous books I have read set in Vienna. The more obscure theatres of conflict and cities in World War Two have always interested me: Italy after Mussolini surrendered in [...]

April 25, 2019 // 0 Comments

Metropolis/Philip Kerr

Metropolis is the final novel of Philip Kerr, published posthumously as he died of cancer on 23rd March 2018 aged 62. It’s also the final one in the Bernie Gunther series. The best are probably the first three published – The March Violets set in the rise of Nazism, the title is the name [...]

April 23, 2019 // 0 Comments

A literary discovery from the 1920s

It was both a little surprising but also perhaps a sign of the times to learn by chance recently that the BBC One’s Antiques Roadshow programme – now occupying the 8.00pm transmission slot on Sunday evenings – is celebrating its fortieth anniversary in this year. I open with that [...]

April 16, 2019 // 0 Comments

Fateful Choices:The Decisions that changed the World 1940-1/Ian Kershaw

Historian Ian Kershaw has analysed the critical decisions that shaped World War Two but whether they changed the world is perhaps another matter. Several are quite obvious: Hitler ‘s decision to launch Operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union when Western Europe was under the Nazi jack boot [...]

April 12, 2019 // 0 Comments

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