The typesetting is quite good, and the book is well-produced, with an attractive cover and nice photos.
The first half of the book consists of a "potteThe typesetting is quite good, and the book is well-produced, with an attractive cover and nice photos.
The first half of the book consists of a "potted" history of Nazi ideology and politics that relies heavily on a conservative and religious analysis. The second, "royal," half of the book has four brief sections on "royal enemies" of Hitler: Price Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria, Hubertus of Lowenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg, and a general "Habsburg" chapter that includes Archduke Otto as well as the sons of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Maximillian and Ernst - both of whom spent time at Dachau and other camps. The inclusion of such a minor princeling as Hubertus with the more significant figures is peculiar and not fully explained in the test. Moreover, Millard fails to include even the most basic biographical information about his subjects, which severely limits the usefulness and interest for the general reader.
There are a number of unfortunate mistakes in the text. King Haakon VII is described as having been a prince of the Swedish - not Danish - royal line. Millard has that it was Boris II - not Boris III - who ruled Bulgaria in the 1930s and 40s. The name of the French WWII collaborationist premier is given as Petin. The name of noted German historian Fritz Stern is mangled and becomes "Richard Stern Fritz." Prince Bernhard of Lippe Biesterfeld is described as the spouse of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, when he was in fact married to her daughter Queen Juliana. There are others. Not only are these errors distracting, but when an author is careless with small details, it makes me less likely to accept his broader analysis....more
I can't believe I'm awarding only two stars to a book written by Ian Kershaw, who is a great historian of Nazi Germany, an excellent researcher and wrI can't believe I'm awarding only two stars to a book written by Ian Kershaw, who is a great historian of Nazi Germany, an excellent researcher and writer. But this book too often illustrates the cliché of "beating a dead horse." There's really no reason for a 350 page book about a minor British political figure of the early 1930s who by general agreement had only a very minimal impact upon his colleagues.
About half of the book is made up of Kershaw's interpretation of the general causes and consequences of British appeasement in the 1930s, but by no means was Lord Londonderry in the "mainstream" of appeasement, and it hardly seems appropriate to treat such an important subject as a secondary focus. That is to say, if Kershaw really wanted to deal with appeasement as the MAIN subject of the book, he should have concerned himself with MacDonald, Baldwin, Chamberlain, and Halifax as his primary subjects, not as figures on the fringes of his concern with Lord Londonderry.
Moreover, Kershaw proposes that Lord Londonderry be considered as representative of a broader trend, "The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy." Really, though, David Cannadine deals with that subject in a much more convincing (and nuanced) fashion. And Kershaw doesn't explain why Londonderry should be regarded as any more representative of the aristocracy than other figures such as Lord Salisbury - or Winston Churchill, who after all would never allow people to forget that he was the grandson of a Duke.