Reading Recommendations: Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War, How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, Patrick J. Buchanan.
Were World Wars I and II, which can now be seen as a thirty year paroxysm of slaughter and destruction, inevitable? Were they necessary wars? Were the bloodiest and most devastation conflicts ever suffered by mankind fated by forces beyond man's control? Or were they products of calamitous failures of judgement? In this monumental and provocative history, Patrick Buchanan makes the case that, if not for the blunders of British Statesmen, Winston Churchill first among them, the horrors of two wars and the Holocaust might have been avoided and the British Empire might never have collapsed into ruins. Half a century of murderous oppression of scores of millions under the iron boot of communist tyranny might never have happened and Europe's central role in world affairs might have been sustained for many generations.
According to Buchanan, among the British and Churchillian blunders were:
The secret decision of a tiny cabal in the inner Cabinet in 1906 to take Britain straight to war against Germany, should she invade France.
The vengeful Treaty of Versailles that mutilated Germany, leaving her bitter, betrayed, and receptive to the appeal of Adolf Hitler.
Britain's capitulation, at Churchill's urging, to American pressure to sever the Anglo Japanese alliance, insulting and isolating Japan, pushing her into the path of militarism and conquest.
The 1935 Sanctions that drove Italy straight into the Axis with Hitler.
The greatest blunder in British history, the unsolicited war guarantee to Poland of March 1939, that guaranteed the Second World War.
Churchill's astonishing blindness to Stalin's true ambitions.
Certain to create controversy and spirited argument, Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War" is a grand and bold insight into the historic failures of judgement that ended centuries of European Rule and guaranteed a future no one who lived in that vanished world could ever have envisioned.
And, For The Thrill of It, Leopold, Loeb, and the Murder That Shocked Chicago, Simon Baatz.
It was a crime that shocked the nation, a brutal murder in Chicago in 1924 of a fourteen year old, by two wealthy college students who killed solely for the thrill of the experience. Nathan leopold and Richard Loeb had first met several years earlier. Both were intellectuals, too smart, they believed, for the police to catch them. However, the police had recovered an important clue at the scene of the crime, a pair of eyeglasses, and soon both Leopold and Loeb were in the custody of Cook County. They confessed, and Robert Crowe, the state's attorney, announced to newspaper reporters, that he had a hanging case. No defense, he believed, would save the two ruthless killers from the gallows.
Set against the backdrop of the 1920's a time of prosperity, self indulgence, and hedouistic excess, For The Thrill of It draws the reader into a lost world, a world of speakeasies and flappers, of gangsters and sin parties, that existed when Chicago was a lawless city on the brink of anarchy. The rejection of morality had seemingly found their expression in this callous murder.
But the murder is only half the story. After Leopold and Loeb were arrested, their families hired Clarence Darrow to defend their sons. Darrow, the most famous lawyer in America, aimed to save Leopold and Loeb from the death penalty.
Now, Clarence Darrow was what drew me to this book. Having read of him for years, this book gave me the opportunity to read him "up close". This book is not for the faint hearted, Simon Baatz is a masterful story teller, he has written a gripping account of the infamous Leopold and Loeb case. The reader will stay in a continual state of suspense as the story twists its way to an unexpected conclusion.
"Exhaustingly researched and rivetingly presented, one of the best true crime books of this or any other season".
Booklist (Starred Review)
See you at Rylander!