As a primary source of historical evidence and insight, it is difficult to overstate the value and importance of Neville Chamberlain's diary letters to his sisters.Â They represent the most complete and illuminating 'insider' record of British politics between the wars yet to be published.Â From 1915 Chamberlain wrote detailed weekly epistles to his sisters until his death in 1940; a confidential account of events covering the quarter of a century during which he stood at the very centre of Conservative and national politics.Â Beyond the fascination of the historical record of people and events, these letters are extremely valuable for the remarkable light they throw upon the personality and character of the private man lurking behind the austerely forbidding public persona.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements, List of Abbreviations, 1. Neville Chamberlain, 1869-1940: The Man and his Diary Letters, 2. The Making of a Politician, 1915-20, 3. ‘We Get Busier and Busier’: Lord Mayor of Birmingham, March 1915-December 1916, 4. ‘A Pretty Rotten Time’: Director-General of National Service, December 1916-August 1917, 5. ‘A Rather Hard Row to Hoe’: Return to Birmingham and the Road to Westminster, August 1917-December 1918, 6. ‘The Fascination of the House of Commons’: Parliamentary Apprenticeship, 1919, 7. ‘The “Handy Man” of the House’: Parliamentary Labours and Dilemmas, 1920, Appendix I: The Chamberlain Household and Family, Appendix II: Primary Sources Consulted for Volume One, Index
'All in all, this is a superb edition of the letters, which invites eager anticipation of the final volume, and of the biography which must surely follow on the basis of Self's excellent introductions.' History 'The products of Self's thoughtful editing are indispensable to the student of politics and society in this period. These are a primary sources of great value. Albion 'There can be no doubt that all University Libraries should purchase the four-volume set...' Cercles