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  • The Glamour Boys

  • The Secret Story of the Rebels Who Fought for Britain to Defeat Hitler
  • By: Chris Bryant
  • Narrated by: Raj Ghatak
  • Length: 12 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+, LGBTQ+ Studies
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

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Summary

We like to think we know the story of how Britain went to war with Germany in 1939, but there is one part of the story that has never been told. It features a group of MPs who repeatedly spoke out against their party and their government's policy of appeasing Hitler and Mussolini. Remarkably, nearly all of them were gay or bisexual.

Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain hated them. He had them followed, harassed, spied upon and derided in the press and called them 'the glamour boys' in reference to their sexuality. They suffered abuse, innuendo and threats of de-selection, yet they spoke out repeatedly against Hitler's territorial ambitions and his treatment of political prisoners and the Jews.

In doing so they risked everything, swimming against the overwhelming tide of public opinion at a time when even the suggestion of homosexuality could land you in prison. Forced by the laws of the day to hide their true nature, they ran the danger of exposure on a daily basis. Some of them used their capacity for lying as spies. Others saw brutality in Hitler's camps first-hand. Five of them died in action. Without them, this country would never have faced down the Nazis. This is their story.

©2020 Chris Bryant (P)2020 W. F. Howes

What listeners say about The Glamour Boys

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Completely Fascinating

I was so taken by this book. So brilliantly read and the research is impeccable and true stories completely riveting to listen to. So enjoyed this and had read the book but hearing it really brought it to life - highly recommended

1 person found this helpful

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  • TJ
  • 31-07-21

Just brilliant

The best non-fiction I've read in ages. Heartbreaking true stories all told with a sensitive and skilled voice. I'm going to remember these chaps for a long time.

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Pride for those Glamour Boys

Fantastic book by Chris Bryant and well-performed by Raj Ghatak.

Such a fascinating insight into the inner workings of Government pre-war and the impact of a handful of queer and nearly queer MP's campaigning to take the government to war against Nazi Germany.

The book goes from insightful to inspiring and then politically, highly frustrating, you feel the shame and pain they went through just to be themselves.

I want this book to be in every school, we should celebrate the lives of those who fought so hard for our freedoms.

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Tangential, poor performance

At the core, an interesting story. But made very difficult by wordy, in-depth tangents of seemingly little impact on the premise.
A very poor narrator, who at times sounded like he was reading the text for the first time - pauses and emphasis in awkward places made following the book very difficult.

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Interesting story spoilt by poor narration

Whilst familiar with the names of some of the protagonist of this story, it was interesting to learn more about them and their fellow Glamour Boys as individuals and their hidden lives.

Unfortunately, the story was spoiled by the narrator. He continually mis-pronounced words, names and place names. It was as if he had never seen some of the words before and was trying to make an educated guess as to how they should be pronounced without bothering to check. I’m sorry this wasn’t picked up during recording. In addition, his delivery was flat with little intonation.

Despite these reservations, I enjoyed the story.

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A very important historical account, which should be read by everyone.

Very important historical account which adds depth and richness to queer history.
I strongly recommend this book to anybody who wants to understand why are still struggling equality for all. Thank you to the author for a painstaking and fascinating account of some of my queer history.

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Essential reading for all keen students of history

This is an amazing story. It shows how Britain's will to fight Hitler and its ability to do so was fought for consistently and against huge odds by a group of gay men, particularly politicians, who had everything to lose at any point in time. It also shows how stupid and how wrong the popular view of a country can be electing a prime minister who, by this account, was a really nasty piece of work in an enormous landslide election.
This is essential reading for any who wants to understand why Hitler did not win the war (of course there were a whole number of reasons, but this was a very significant and hardly known one).
It is quite a nice story, Quite well written and quite well read, Though hardly spellbinding.

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Interesting story

Footnotes to the start of the second world war.

A group of the Tory MPs who opposed appeasement were gay. Some had visited Germany and experiences of friends and lovers informed their concerns.

Also, a lost world of country house weekends diletante politicians and deferential constituency parties.

The author's immersion in contemporary politics and Commons culture add greatly to the narrative.

I enjoyed this book

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Amazing insight in to WW2 sexuality.

Fascinating and surprising but a pity about the narration which is not good at all. Nevertheless I listened with great interest.

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Eye-Opening

Very interesting book and so many people I didn't know were homosexual or bisexual! Names I remember from my youth being fleshed out and given a whole new meaning for me. Also details about parliament in the lead-up to World War II. While I was, of course, aware of the general events in the country, the insight into the brouhaha in and around the House of Commons was all new to me. Let down somewhat by erratic narration; Raj Ghatak, who is so good in the Waringham Chronicles, is a bit out of his depth here. Too fast, too much wrong accentuation and far too many mispronunciations. Still a fascinating listen though.