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Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern…

Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Sally Bedell Smith

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3353532,668 (3.78)26
Title:Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch
Authors:Sally Bedell Smith
Info:Random House (2012), Hardcover, 688 pages
Collections:Your library, Read
Tags:20th century, 21st century, american, britain, history, biography

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Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch by Sally Bedell Smith (2011)




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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
Charming, accessible, and enjoyable.

My primary problem (and maybe because I'm an American) is that this biography has virtually NO criticism whatsoever of Queen Elizabeth II. I understand she is highly revered and in all actuality, probably an admirable role model. But other than a brief aside about her 'mothering' (which that being virtually her only fault, I found a bit sexist), the woman appears to be a saint.

Good read. Highly encouraged for Anglophiles. :) ( )
  steadfastreader | Mar 18, 2014 |
As an American who knows "just enough" about the royal family, I was rather interested in reading this book after hearing the author interviewed on radio. Regardless of what your position might be on monarchies in general, this makes for fascinating reading simply because of the interesting and unusual life that Elizabeth has led. Her personal life which in itself is interesting is then laid on top of so many historical events from the last decades.

I found the book to be extremely well researched. It seemed every little bit of trivia that I had read about the monarch was included. I specifically remember a news article about an intruder into her bedroom; that story is there along with the ones that are better known such as Diana's death, etc.

Elizabeth is indeed a unique and extremely strong woman. Her life has been directed by others yet she managed to carve out her own style and develop as much of a personality and independent life as possible. Yes, she made mistakes; yes, she might see detached; yes, she isn't like us "normal folk." However, she certainly was able to maintain not only her health (which is difficult if one is extremely unhappy), but her own sense of who she is. I wound up with admiration for her as a woman in a very unique circumstance.

The book is very readable and the pictures lend a great deal. I do feel it has a pro-monarchy point of view and perhaps could have been a bit more evenly balanced at times, thus the four stars. However, it was well worth the read and very interesting. ( )
  maryreinert | Aug 22, 2013 |
While I enjoyed this book, it definitely sounded skewed to show the Queen in a very positive light, emphasizing her relationships that were strong ones and glossing over the difficult times quickly. Definitely surprised that more attention wasn't given to Charles and Diana, and that what attention was given made Charles seem quite innocent. The book was interesting but, like others, I glossed over many parts.

( )
1 vote salgalruns | Apr 5, 2013 |
Just awful, if an author is going to propose a biography of a well known figure, at least have the courage to acknowledge a bias or predisposition to a certain viewpoint. This so-called biography is laughable. Yes she had access to "never before seen documents", but shouldn't we have heard some of this before? Somehow the author knows what Princess Diana's children and Tony Blair were thinking and their thoughts always paint Diana in the worst light possible. Really! Very National Enquirer-like. Diana is a scheming meany who the Queen tries over and over to engage. I think that listening to the audio version allowed me to pick up much more than I normally would have through reading.
The beginning of the book sped along well with the Queen a picture of perfection and duty. In the middle things got ugly. The ridiculous behavior of Prince Phillip and the other royals is minimized and excuse after excuse is made; its all about duty darling. Give me a break! ( )
  MichelleCH | Apr 5, 2013 |
Can't fathom now why (or how) I abandoned this biography of Elizabeth II in the spring. I picked it up again a few days ago and just zipped right through it. A quite well-done portrait of Britain's reigning monarch which takes as its theme Queen Elizabeth's never wavering sense of duty to the Commonwealth and her peoples. Rarely dry (the occasional passage about the ins and outs of British politics was a bit ho-hum) and usually fascinating and engaging with what always seemed like just the right amount of attention paid to each event and era of the Queen's life. Wonderful pictures, both in several sets of colored plates and in black and white at the start of each chapter, though if I have any real complaint about the book it is that Smith frequently makes reference to photographs and portraits in the text and makes no mention of where in the book one might find the referenced piece (and, sometimes, the piece hasn't been reproduced in the book at all). Recommended to Anglophiles, Royal Family Watchers, lovers of British history, and fans of biographies. Good stuff. ( )
  lycomayflower | Dec 17, 2012 |
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Book description
From the moment of her ascension to the throne in 1952 at the age of twenty-five, Queen Elizabeth II has been the object of unparalleled scrutiny. But through the fog of glamour and gossip, how well do we really know the world’s most famous monarch? Drawing on numerous interviews and never-before-revealed documents, acclaimed biographer Sally Bedell Smith pulls back the curtain to show in intimate detail the public and private lives of Queen Elizabeth II, who has led her country and Commonwealth through the wars and upheavals of the last sixty years with unparalleled composure, intelligence, and grace.

In Elizabeth the Queen, we meet the young girl who suddenly becomes “heiress presumptive” when her uncle abdicates the throne. We meet the thirteen-year-old Lilibet as she falls in love with a young navy cadet named Philip and becomes determined to marry him, even though her parents prefer wealthier English aristocrats. We see the teenage Lilibet repairing army trucks during World War II and standing with Winston Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on V-E Day. We see the young Queen struggling to balance the demands of her job with her role as the mother of two young children. Sally Bedell Smith brings us inside the palace doors and into the Queen’s daily routines—the “red boxes” of documents she reviews each day, the weekly meetings she has had with twelve prime ministers, her physically demanding tours abroad, and the constant scrutiny of the press—as well as her personal relationships: with Prince Philip, her husband of sixty-four years and the love of her life; her children and their often-disastrous marriages; her grandchildren and friends.

Compulsively readable and scrupulously researched, Elizabeth the Queen is a close-up view of a woman we’ve known only from a distance, illuminating the lively personality, sense of humor, and canny intelligence with which she meets the most demanding work and family obligations. It is also a fascinating window into life at the center of the last great monarchy.
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Drawing on numerous interviews and never-before-revealed documents, acclaimed biographer Sally Bedell Smith pulls back the curtain to show in intimate detail the public and private lives of Queen Elizabeth II, who has led her country and Commonwealth through the wars and upheavals of the last sixty years with unparalleled composure, intelligence, and grace.… (more)

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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