The Passionate Radical
by Walter Reid
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About the Book
Neville Chamberlain is remembered today as Hitler’s credulous dupe, the man who proclaimed in September 1938 that the Munich agreement guaranteed ‘peace in our time’.
This is a magisterial reappraisal of Chamberlain and his legacy. It reveals the nuances of a complex and sensitive man who was a true radical and a man of passion, especially in all that concerned the welfare of his fellow citizens. As Minister of Health, Chancellor and Prime Minister, he presided over a fundamental modernisation of Britain, shuttingthe door on the Victorian age, ending free trade, improving living conditions and abolishing the Poor Law and the workhouse.
Munich was much more than the traditional narrative suggests. Scarred by the death of his cousin in the First World War, Chamberlain was determined to ensure that a new generation was spared the tragic waste that had consumed their elders. Even so, he prepared for war while he worked for peace. The aircraft that won the Battle of Britain were built on his watch. He didn’t win the Second World War, but it was he who ensured it wasn’t lost in 1940.
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