• Grab the nearest book.
• Open to page 161.
• Find the fifth full sentence.
• Post the sentence.
OK, here goes...
The top book in my tottering bedside pile is TROUBLESOME YOUNG MEN: The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power and Helped Save Britain by Lynne Olson (Farrar, Straus & Giroux).
US cover is above; I'm reading the UK edition (Bloomsbury), pictured in my Library Thing list below right (temporarily on the fritz).
Page 161 is in a chapter entitled "Retribution":
Bob Boothby, meanwhile, received a telegram from his association's executive committee expressing great concern over "your non-support of the Government" and ordering him to appear before the association to explain himself.Boothby (in top hat above) was a Tory politician in the 1930s who had "spoken out of school" against party leader Neville Chamberlain and his appeasement of Hitler.
Ordinarily I'm not much for history--I prefer fiction and memoir--but Olson is a client and she handed me a copy she'd signed her very own self. So I started reading the book, and now I can't stop (I'm on page 287).
I'd heard and seen a lot about WW2, and vaguely knew that the war had gone poorly for the Brits at first. Olson shows vividly and dramatically why: because of the deadly dithering of prime minister Chamberlain and his enablers in Parliament, and the Government's ludicrous fear of "antagonizing" Hitler by going on the offensive--even after the Nazis had stormed into Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway and Denmark, and were decimating the British fleet.
Olson details events that were long ago and far away, and yet they have much resonance here and now. The emergency measures--including suspension of habeus corpus--that Chamberlain instituted have eerie echoes in the Bush administration's "War on Terror" policies. And Chamberlain's pathetic attempts to appease Hitler and Mussolini are reminiscent of the EU trying to talk Iran out of going nuclear, or various powers reasoning (ha!) with Sudanese rulers about Darfur.