The Bodley Head has acquired a "major" debut on the British policy of appeasement by historian Tim Bouverie.
Stuart Williams, publishing director of The Bodley Head, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights for The Umbrella and the Sword from Bill Hamilton at AM Heath. US rights were acquired by Tim Duggan for Tim Duggan Books, part of the Crown division of Penguin Random House US.
The Umbrella and the Sword is the story of how the British ruling class lost their moral and geopolitical bearings and indulged Hitler while riding on a wave of anti-war sentiment, driven by fear of communism. It draws on a number of contemporary sources on the drama of day-to-day politics and the eclectic personalities involved. Central to the story are Chamberlain, Halifax and Churchill, as well as often overshadowed players Harold Macmillan, 'RAB' Butler and Duff Cooper, set against a background of Germany's vast military build-up and Britain's efforts to catch up.
There are few modern books on appeasement and particularly few which approach it from a domestic, narrative, perspective, according to The Bodley Head. The book will publish in spring 2018.
Bouverie is a Channel 4 News Producer. He studied history at Christ Church, Oxford, and since leaving he has worked as a producer on history and political documentaries, including a four-part series on Second World War fighter pilots and a life of Margaret Thatcher. At Brook Lapping Productions he was part of the small team responsible for breaking the 'Plebgate' story for Dispatches, which won a number of awards. He has meanwhile been a political journalist at Channel 4 News since 2013. Over the last two years he has covered all major political events, including the 2015 General Election and the EU referendum.
Williams said: "The Umbrella and the Sword is exceptionally assured and enjoyable. Tim succeeds in turning an inglorious chapter of British history into a thrilling narrative, and also in usefully complicating many received ideas about this critical passage of our history. It marks the start of an exciting writing career."