Troublesome Young Men by Lynne Olson
The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power and Helped Save England

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Synopsis

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.

 

About Lynne Olson

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Lynne Olson is the author of Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in its Darkest, Finest Hour; Troublesome Young Men: The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power and Helped Save England; and Freedom's Daughters: The Unsung Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement from 1830 to 1970, and co-author of two other books. She lives with her husband in Washington, D.C.
 
Published April 29, 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 450 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, War. Non-fiction

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One, a young military officer named Ronald Cartland, was so radicalized by the Tory majority’s refusal to speak up against the party’s head that, by the time of Dunkirk, he was telling his allies that “Neville Chamberlain and [Tory whip] David Margesson should be ‘hung upon lampposts.’ ” It did n...

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The New York Times

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Light on analysis but chock-full of character and incident, this spirited, propulsive work of popular history does justice to half-forgotten men like Ronald Cartland (brother of the romance novelist Barbara Cartland) and Leo Amery, who at a critical moment stood up in the House of Commons and tol...

May 10 2007 | Read Full Review of Troublesome Young Men: The Re...

The New York Times

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From Isaiah Berlin’s landmark Atlantic Monthly essay “Mr. Churchill in 1940” to Albert Finney’s Emmy Award-winning turn in HBO’s “Gathering Storm,” the drama of Winston Churchill and World War II has long been a kind of secular passion play.

Apr 29 2007 | Read Full Review of Troublesome Young Men: The Re...

The Guardian

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Troublesome Young Men: The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power in 1940 and Helped to Save Britain by Lynne Olson 448pp, Bloomsbury, £20 In his recent interview with Simon Schama, the prime minister reflected on the history of appeasement.

Apr 28 2007 | Read Full Review of Troublesome Young Men: The Re...

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