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Appeasement

Chamberlain, Hitler, Churchill, and the Road to War
Narrated by: John Sessions
Length: 22 hrs and 3 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A New York Times Editors’ Choice • Sunday Times (UK) best seller 

A gripping new history of the British appeasement of Hitler on the eve of World War II

On a wet afternoon in September 1938, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain stepped off an airplane 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. 

Appeasement is a groundbreaking history of the disastrous years of indecision, failed diplomacy, and parliamentary infighting that enabled Hitler's domination of Europe. Drawing on deep archival research and sources not previously seen by historians, Tim Bouverie has created 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. 

Beginning with the advent of Hitler in 1933, we embark on a fascinating journey from the early days of the Third Reich to the beaches of Dunkirk. Bouverie takes us not only into the backrooms of Parliament and 10 Downing Street but also into 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. 

Both sweeping and intimate, Appeasement is not only an 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. 

“An eye-opening narrative that makes for exciting but at times uncomfortable reading as one reflects on possible lessons for the present.” (Antonia Fraser, author of Mary Queen of Scots)

©2019 Tim Bouverie (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Appeasement is valuable as an exploration of the often catastrophic consequences of failing to stand up to threats to freedom, whether at home or abroad.” (Lynne Olson, The New York Times Book Review

"An astonishingly accomplished debut. Bouverie writes with a wonderful clarity and we will no doubt hear a lot more of his voice in the future." (Antony Beevor, author of Stalingrad

"Appeasement 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. A riveting and depressing story which has resonance today as the democracies again face dictatorships." (Margaret MacMillan, author of Paris 1919

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An Excellent Book Ruined by Ridiculous Narration

Being very interested in the subject matter, and having heard an interesting interview with the author, I bought this audiobook despite multiple reviews critical of the reader. To my regret, those critical reviews were right. The book is excellent, but the narration is awful. What a shame this book is not narrated by Grover Gardner or someone else whose style puts the emphasis on the text instead of on the reader. The narrator, Mr. Sessions, reads this book like an amateur Winston Churchill impersonator. His overly dramatic reading of straightforward factual passages, his unnatural emphases, pauses, tempo, and volume changes, and his all-around comical pomposity eventually made listening impossible for me. The story was gripping, but I could endure the reader for smaller and smaller periods until finally I could not take him at all. I am sorry about not being able to finish a book I would otherwise greatly enjoy.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I cannot tolerate the narrator

I have had my eye on this book for a while. I love the subject and from what I have heard so far the text is great. I cannot bring myself to go beyond the second chapter. The narrator is so over the top and I cannot stand it any longer. He acts out the quotations, which isn't objectionable in and of itself, but he overreacts it. Worse, he overreacts the expository and analytic segments of the text as well. The effect is completely distracting and I cannot go further.

I am returning the audiobook to get the Kindle text version indstead.

I think Tim Bouverie's text is fantastic though and I very much look forward to his future work.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • DPM
  • Vancouver, BC Canada
  • 06-26-19

Can't do it! Narratation too bad!

I'm very interested in this topic and, notwithstanding the other reviews, thought I could tolerate the narrator. After 1 hour 52 minutes I gave up.. Just horrible. I echo everybody else's sentiments. I will return the book and get it from the library instead.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Detailed and informative account of run up to WWII

Very well written and researched, this terrific narrative history provided me a much clearer understanding of what appeasement meant at the time and why that was (at the beginning at least, but excluding Churchill) the predominant thinking in Britain and other nations. It wasn't only Chamberlain by far. Although the narration is somewhat controversial, once I got used to his style, I was quite riveted to the story telling - normally I only listen to audio books during commutes, but I often continued listening long after reaching my destination (i.e. can't put the book down). Yes, the narration gets slightly over the top on occasion (so 4 stars for him), but he truly grabs my attention and does a reasonable job of impersonating historical characters such as Churchill and Roosevelt. Much prefer his style to the monotone recitals of many other narrators. Guess it's a matter of taste.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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good book...bad narrator

narrator goes from whisper to shout so you have to constantly readjust the volume lest you miss hearing something or get a headache from being yelled at. Worst narration in history

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Scot
  • Bloomfield Hills, MI
  • 08-04-19

Great Book Absolutely RUINED by Narrator

The book is very interesting, however, the narrator is so awful that it makes listening to the book unbearable. He is faking a Churchillian accent and has a terrible lisp. There are passages where he literally is shouting and other where he is whispering. It is like he is doing a stage rendition of Mr. Churchill (note to Mr. Sessions, you are reading a book, NOT giving a speech to the House of Commons). I find it hard to believe that the editors of the book allowed this person to be the reader and allow him to read it in the bizarre style that he does. The author (Mr. Bouverie) should require the book be re-released with a more capable narrator. One particular annoying pronunciation (among many) was Mr. Sessions saying 'Mussolini' and pronouncing it 'Mewwww-solini'. Ugh. Mussolini, of course, is an extremely prevalent character in the discussion of appeasement and listening to this terrible mispronunciation hundreds of times was enough to drive a listener crazy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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So I actually ended up loving the narrator...

First of all this book was extremely well written and full of new and interesting information about the lead up to the war.
At first I had a hard time with the narration because of his constantly changing volume. I spent all my listening time making the volume louder and softer. But about half through, either I got used to the narrator’s rhythm or he got better. I would definitely listen to him again!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Marianne
  • PETERSHAM, MASSACHUSETTS, United States
  • 08-05-19

fascinating history of the lead up to WW2

A necessary reminder of both Europe and America's ignoring of Hitler. It is not just France and the UK who tried to appease
Hitler, America willfully refused to confront Hitler's aggression and destruction of democratic norms in Germany and Europe,
while also ignoring Japans conquering of China and threatening hegemonic control of the far East.

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One of the best narrations I've ever heard!

As a longtime listener to audiobooks, I REGARD JOHN SESSIONS' PERFORMANCE A TRIUMPH! I've listened to hundreds of audiobooks (over 800), and this goes in my top twenty five. Sessons should be nomimated for, and win, an Audie Award.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating and mind boggling....

Can't agree with those who did not like the narrator. He spoke clearly, precisely and not so fast you lost what he was saying. Better than many monotone, or worse, nasal or or High pitched readings of some audio books I have tried to listen to. But as someone said, I guess it is a matter of taste.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful