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Imprint: Oneworld Publications

Subject: History

Coffee with Hitler

The British Amateurs Who Tried to Civilise the Nazis

Charles Spicer


How the British might have handled Hitler differently remains one of history’s greatest ‘what ifs’.

Coffee with Hitler tells the astounding and poignant story, for the first time, of a handful of amateur British intelligence agents who wined, dined and befriended the leading National Socialists between the wars. With support from royalty, aristocracy, politicians and businessmen, they hoped to use the much mythologised Anglo-German Fellowship as a vehicle to civilise the Nazis. A pacifist Welsh historian, a Great War flying ace, and a butterfly-collecting businessman offered the British government better intelligence on the horrifying rise of the Nazis than anyone else.

Charles Spicer draws on newly discovered primary sources, shedding light on the early career of Kim Philby, Winston Churchill’s approach to appeasement, the US entry into the war and the Rudolf Hess affair.

  • Publication date: September 8, 2022
  • ISBN: 9780861543779
  • RRP: £20.00
  • Pages: 400
  • Publication date: September 8, 2022
  • ISBN: 9780861543786
  • RRP: £10.99
  • Pages: 400


'Compelling study.'

Daily Telegraph

'This engaging book offers a warning from history that remains terrifyingly relevant today.'


‘Fascinating… an important book, which must be taken into account by all who write about the subject in future. It is well produced and illustrated with excellent photographs. The story of Tennant, Conwell-Evans and Christie and their historical journey is an absorbing one, which casts light on many aspects of the period… They deserve the rehabilitation that Charles Spicer has eloquently accorded them.’

Literary Review

'This is a complex tale, but as skillfully narrated by Spicer, it moves along briskly.'

Washington Post

'In this terrific debut, historian Charles Spicer genuinely enriches and deepens our understanding of the Thirties – the all-important decade in which the great and the good of these islands, scarred to the depths of their souls by the Great War, struggled to avoid a second global conflict. ... A truly illuminating, humane and sophisticated book – and, one hopes, the first of many by an exciting new talent on the historical scene.'


‘If ever there was a case of the road to hell being paved with good intentions, it is surely the story that Charles Spicer tells so brilliantly and empathetically in this exceptionally well-written book.’

David Cannadine

‘In this very well-researched and well-written work of historical revisionism, Charles Spicer reminds us of the important fact that not every Briton who wanted better relations with Nazi Germany did so from malign motives.’

Andrew Roberts, author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny

‘Charles Spicer tells the chilling story of how otherwise respectable men and women became pawns in a game of international intrigue with a reprehensible regime. The outstanding narrative reads like a thriller, taking readers from the salons of stately homes and St James’s clubs to the mass rallies and diplomatic backrooms of Nazi Germany. With more than a few spies, rogues, and plot twists along the way, Spicer tells a story that could be ripped from the pages of a novel.’

Bradley Hart, author of Hitler’s American Friends

‘[An] absorbing history début.’

Caroline Sanderson, Bookseller

‘Charles Spicer reveals the bold attempt of a handful of British intelligence agents to infiltrate and civilise the Nazi hierarchy. This unlikely band of mavericks – who included a butterfly-collecting Old Etonian and a left-wing Welsh pacifist – spent five doomed years wining and dining the leading henchmen of Hitler’s diabolical regime. Meticulously researched and told with panache, Coffee with Hitler sheds new light on both the Nazis themselves and the group who tried to tame them.’

Giles Milton, author of Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare

‘Spicer offers a meticulously researched and pacy account of the behind-the-scenes soft diplomacy conducted by the Anglo-German Fellowship, a group of like-minded businessmen, politicians and academics united in the aim of preventing war with Nazi Germany. This fascinating study challenges the too easy dichotomy between the villainous and duped appeasers and those with Churchillian foresight and insight.’

Julie Gottlieb, professor of modern history, University of Sheffield

‘A captivating and convincing revisionist history.’

Kirkus, starred review

Charles Spicer

Charles Spicer is a debut author whose groundbreaking research is based on his recent doctorate that was examined by leading historians including David Cannadine, Julie Gottlieb and Richard Overy.

Author page

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