Paperbacks: Troublesome Young Men, by Lynne Olson

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The Independent Culture

"Speak for England, Arthur!" was the shout in September 1939 by Tory rebel Leo Amery. He was supporting the demand from Labour's lacklustre deputy leader, Arthur Greenwood, that Britain should declare war following Germany's invasion of Poland.

Olson's atmospheric account of the Churchill supporters who toppled Chamberlain plunges readers into a political theatre that makes the politicians of our own time look very dull dogs. Women would swoon at the sight of the glamorous Anthony Eden, while Macmillan's ardent anti-appeasement "assuaged the pain" of being cuckolded by fellow-rebel Bob Boothby.