Most helpful positive review
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
not so much black as grey
on 5 May 2008
I thoroughly enjoyed this book - having reservations about the subject, and in truth, about the author. However, Roberts portrays the complexities and contexts which have gone into making Halifax such a controversial figure. I also have to confess, at the onset, that I have always bought the line that Halifax was not so much a traitor, as a man devoid of a moral center. However paradoxical this may seem for a man of faith, Halifax's ability of dealing in absolutes probably encouraged a rather brazen realist streak in him, that coupled with Chamberlain, set him so apparantly apart from Churchill's audacity and faith in what Britain should stand for. It is on the strength of Robert's work here, on the skill, humour and sensitivity in which he presents this gaunt, silent man, that my views have been much modified. What is especially outstanding here, is Robert's ability to portray Halifax and yet retain his praise of Churchill - overcoming the crude polarity of the good and the guilty, the black and the white, that has so often distorted the historical account. There were places here where I laughed out loud and also, I am unashamed to say still, where a lump rose in my throat for all those people, `appeasers' and none-appeasers alike, who has the singular misfortune to live in a time when each choice was fraught with danger. There is some beautiful writing here.