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Victoria: A Life by A. N. Wilson

Victoria: A Life (2014)

by A. N. Wilson

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216553,956 (4.02)16
Recently added bygeorgeowers, private library, elkiedee, jgtarwater, ralphz, Diane-bpcb, Buttercup25
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    Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch by Sally Bedell Smith (ahef1963)
    ahef1963: Excellent biography of the British monarch. Well researched, copious notes, thoughtful, looked closely at the relevance of the Queen's role in British and international life. Vaguely U.S.-centric, i.e. possibly excessive focus on the Queen's relationship with American presidents, but to be expected from an American writer.… (more)

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Showing 5 of 5
The technical term for this book is “big honkin’ biography.” It’s a book I’m reading for a non-fiction book discussion group that meets mid-month. I’ve talked to a few others who are reading it and they’re complaining about all the NAMES to remember. I decided to not worry about remembering names and found it a pretty easy read. The important names come up again and again and it’s easy to remember just those.

I’ve read books and taken classes about the Victorian era, so I was generally familiar with an outline of Victoria’s life. Today, a psychiatrist would have a field day analyzing Victoria’s neuroses. Start with a woman who suffers post-partum depression, then has nine children. Talk about a breeding ground for mental illness. Poor thing!

The book has all the right ingredients: family tree, notes, bibliography and index (although the notes seem pretty puny to me). My only complaint is the use of untranslated French phrases and sentences throughout. For readers who don’t know French, they’re nothing but stumbling blocks. (Oddly, the author translates most German phrases – for me, German is a bit easier to decipher because of a college German class a long time ago.)

That said, I found the book fascinating and easier to read than it appears at a glance. ( )
  NewsieQ | Jan 7, 2017 |
An incisive and fascinating biography of the longest reigning monarch in British history. A riveting account of her relationships and her paradoxes.
  mcmlsbookbutler | Dec 30, 2016 |
I'd thought I'd read this on the back of the TV series of Victoria, and despite, some political bits which I couldn't get to grips with and Victoria's numerous children and children who married into other dynasties, which I got confused with, this was a fantastic read. It was a totally different world then, and the book was a real page turner. ( )
  gogglemiss | Oct 27, 2016 |
Eye opening tale of Queen Vic and her progeny and the marriages they made throughout Europe. Everyone was related to everyone else. Queen Vic ruled from 1837-1931 and actually had a love" but arranged marriage. Both were German by birth. "Victoria went on to chart a unique course for her country even as she became the matriarch of nearly every great dynasty of Europe." ( )
  bogopea | Feb 7, 2016 |
Presents a Victoria who is just what we thought she wasn't: humorous, disrespectful of the role of purely constitutional monarch, reactionary, highly political, intelligent, and so on. Mr Wilson writes well and is always interesting, but this revisionist Victoria seems awfully convenient for an author who has made his reputation as a contrarian.
  cstebbins | Jan 12, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 159420599X, Hardcover)

"[A] shimmering and rather wonderful biography." --The Guardian (UK)

When Queen Victoria died in 1901, she had ruled for nearly sixty-four years. She was a mother of nine and grandmother of forty-two and the matriarch of royal Europe through her children’s marriages. To many, Queen Victoria is a ruler shrouded in myth and mystique, an aging, stiff widow paraded as the figurehead to an all-male imperial enterprise. But in truth, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch was one of the most passionate, expressive, humorous and unconventional women who ever lived, and the story of her life continues to fascinate.

A. N. Wilson’s exhaustively researched and definitive biography includes a wealth of new material from previously unseen sources to show us Queen Victoria as she’s never been seen before. Wilson explores the curious set of circumstances that led to Victoria’s coronation, her strange and isolated childhood, her passionate marriage to Prince Albert and his pivotal influence even after death and her widowhood and subsequent intimate friendship with her Highland servant John Brown, all set against the backdrop of this momentous epoch in Britain’s history—and the world’s.

Born at the very moment of the expansion of British political and commercial power across the globe, Victoria went on to chart a unique course for her country even as she became the matriarch of nearly every great dynasty of Europe. Her destiny was thus interwoven with those of millions of people—not just in Europe but in the ever-expanding empire that Britain was becoming throughout the nineteenth century. The famed queen had a face that adorned postage stamps, banners, statues and busts all over the known world.

Wilson’s Victoria is a towering achievement, a masterpiece of biography by a writer at the height of his powers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:16 -0400)

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