Troublesome Young Men: The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power and Helped Save England

Lynne Olson, Author . Farrar, Straus & Giroux $27 (436p) ISBN 978-0-374-17954-0

In 1930s England, faced with the gathering menace of fascism, 30 or so junior members of Parliament understood that Hitler would not be dissuaded by Prime Minister Chamberlain's policy of appeasement. Their rebellion against their leader and the "elderly mediocrities" of their own Conservative Party is the subject of Olson's absorbing book. The forces opposed to Chamberlain were initially inhibited by party loyalty and the ferocious reprisals threatened against anyone who challenged the prime minister. Olson traces how Hitler's continuing depredations (Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland) served to recruit more insurgents in the House of Commons and galvanize those shamed by England's inaction. Olson's story picks up energy as she reviews the events of 1940, when at long last Chamberlain was replaced by Churchill. Olson is interested in the moral imperatives driving her protagonists. The dominant figure in the narrative, of course, is Churchill, who despised Chamberlain's defeatism but served loyally in his cabinet until Chamberlain's forced resignation. Infused with the sense of urgency felt by the young Tories, Olson's vivid narrative of a critical generational clash leaves the reader wondering what might have happened had they prevailed earlier on. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 01/01/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
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Open Ebook - 448 pages - 978-1-4299-2364-4
Hardcover - 448 pages - 978-0-385-66150-8
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-385-66151-5
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-374-53133-1
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