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Queen Victoria: A Personal History (2000)
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Wikipedia in English (17)
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0306810859, Paperback)British scholar Christopher Hibbert adds another engrossing volume to his long list of informative and entertaining histories and biographies. Aptly subtitled "A Personal History," this portrait of England's longest reigning monarch focuses on Victoria's character, as well as her relationships with her husband, children, and the politicians who directed her government. Unlike George III, which found its subject to be a more intelligent and effective ruler than he had been judged traditionally, this biography does not offer a radically new assessment of Victoria (1819-1901). Instead, Hibbert adds color to the stock image of a stout, grieving widow who was dressed perennially in black as she presided over England's imperial prime. His Queen Victoria is imperious and dignified, to be sure; she is also fun loving, highly emotional, and passionately in love with her consort, Prince Albert. Victoria was mortified to discover she had become pregnant within weeks of her marriage, fearing that it would spoil her intimacy with her husband; and, although she was fond of their many children, Hibbert candidly depicts her as a difficult and overbearing mother. In the graceful, engaging prose that is his trademark, Hibbert skillfully traces England's political evolution into a truly constitutional monarchy through Victoria's dealings with her prime ministers. He also judiciously evaluates her personal ties, particularly the thorny one with son and heir Bertie (later Edward VII), and the controversial one with Scottish servant John Brown. (Hibbert concludes that a sexual link between the two was "most improbable.") His appealing book reaffirms the pleasures of old-fashioned narrative biography. --Wendy Smith
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:03 -0400)
The unearthing of lively, telling anecdotes is the special province of Christopher Hibbert, who delights in forcing readers, in the most entertaining way, to reassess all their notions about some of the world's most intriguing historical figures. His biography of Victoria is no exception. We learn in these pages that not only was she the formidable, demanding, capricious Queen of popular imagination, but she was also often shy and vulnerable, prone to giggling fits and crying jags. Often puritanical and censorious when confronted with her mother's moral lapses, she herself could be passionately sensual, emotional, and deeply sentimental. Her 64-year reign saw thrones fall, empires crumble, new continents explored, and England's rise to global and industrial dominance. Hibbert's account of Victoria's life and times is just as sweeping as he reveals to us the real Victoria in all her complexity: failed mother and imperious monarch, irrepressible woman and icon of a repressive age.--From publisher description.
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