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Victoria: The Queen

by Julia Baird

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6542830,502 (4.19)15
A magnificent biography of Queen Victoria by International New York Times columnist Julia Baird. Drawing on previously unpublished papers, 'Victoria: The Queen' is a stunning new portrait of the real woman behind the myth--a story of love and heartbreak, of devotion and grief, of strength and resilience. When Victoria was born, in 1819, the world was a very different place. Revolution would begin to threaten many of Europe's monarchies in the coming decades. In Britain, a generation of royals had indulged their whims at the public's expense, and republican sentiment was growing. The Industrial Revolution was transforming the landscape, and the British Empire was commanding ever larger parts of the globe. Born into a world where woman were often powerless, during a century roiling with change, Victoria went on to rule the most powerful country on earth with a decisive hand. Fifth in line to the throne at the time of her birth, Victoria was an ordinary woman thrust into an extraordinary role. As a girl, she defied her mother's meddling and an adviser's bullying, forging an iron will of her own. As a teenage queen, she eagerly grasped the crown and relished the freedom it brought her. At twenty , she fell passionately in love with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, eventually giving birth to nine children. She loved sex and delighted in power. She was outspoken with her ministers, overstepping boundaries and asserting her opinions. After the death of her adored Albert, she began a controversial, intimate relationship with her servant John Brown. She survived eight assassination attempts over the course of her lifetime. And as science, technology, and democracy were dramatically reshaping the world, Victoria was a symbol of steadfastness and security--queen of a quarter of the world's population at the height of the British Empire's reach. Drawing on sources that include fresh revelations about Victoria's relationship with John Brown, Julia Baird brings vividly to life the fascinating story of a woman who struggled with so many of the things we do today: balancing work and family, raising children, navigating marital strife, losing parents, combating anxiety and self-doubt, finding an identity, searching for meaning. This sweeping, page-turning biography gives us the real woman behind the myth: a bold, glamorous, unbreakable queen--a Victoria for our times, a Victoria who endured.--Jacket.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
This is the best biography of Queen Victoria I have read with lots of personal details that I previously had not known. It humanized and cast Victoria in a completely differ ( )
  susannelson | Aug 31, 2022 |
Queen Victoria gave her name to an age, but I'd not really considered her life as a whole until this biography. Spanning almost the entire nineteenth century (Victoria was born in 1819 and passed away in 1901), Victoria's life provides an interesting prism through which to gain insight into Europe from the end of the Napoleonic war to beginning of World War I. Indeed, Victoria's many children and family relationships played a role in creating the circumstances which led to the first world war. Victoria as a person was also intriguing - a woman both of her time and one who challenged it as well, as only a woman ruling during a patriarchal age can. This is an excellent biography for those hoping to understand Victoria and her era better. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Mar 25, 2022 |
A very well done biography of Victoria focused on Victoria the person and woman. It provides a good view of who she was, and who she wasn't. She was a contraction of a very strong woman who was not a feminist, but inspired many. I did not realize before this book how completely Albert was in effect King before he died in all but title, but after his passing Victoria really came into her own. For anyone who is interested in Victoria I would recommend this book. The reason I take a star off is that I find it *too* focused on her as a person, and not enough of the politics, events of the time and how they influenced her reign. Not to say those aren't in the biography at all, but not as much as I'd like. ( )
  driscoll42 | Feb 28, 2022 |
I’ve always loved Queen Victoria, but this book made me love her even more. Baird brings a more rounded picture of the Queen to the table that makes Victoria more human and more relatable. I highly recommend this as a read for anyone (and everyone). ( )
  historybookreads | Jul 26, 2021 |
Frankly, I picked this up after seeing two years of the T.V. series about her life. Of course, the series strayed significantly from her real life, which is unfortunate. Victoria, about whom I really knew nothing of substance, was a remarkable person/British monarch. Despite not being the nearly perfect, albeit tempestuous, person depicted in the television series, she was amazing in so many other ways. Possibly we have no stomach for heroines with noticeable and sometimes unsightly warts, but the real Victoria did not need excessive burnishing to make her story noteworthy, compelling, and attractive. She had many faults, but we gain nothing, and actually lose a true appreciation for all that she did, by erasing them from history. I now must find some other bios of Victoria to get some different perspectives on one of the most renowned British heads of state, male or female. ( )
  wildh2o | Jul 10, 2021 |
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added by sgw160 | editNew York Times, Janet Maslin (Dec 20, 2016)
 
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[Queen Victoria did not] belong to any conceivable category of monarchs or of women, she bore no resemblance to an aristocratic English lady, she bore no resemblance to a wealthy middle-class Englishwoman, nor to any typical Princess of a German court. . . . She reigned longer than the other three Queens put together.  Never in her life could she be confused with anyone else, nor will she be in history.  Such expressions as "people like Queen Victoria," or "that sort of woman" could not be used about her. . . . For over sixty years she was simply without prefix or suffix "The Queen."
 - Arthur Ponsonby
We are all on the look-out for signs of illness in the Queen; but . . . the vein of iron that runs thro' her most extraordinary character enables her to bear up to the last minute, like nobody else.
 - Lady Lyttelton
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For Poppy and Sam, my magical children
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(Introduction) She was ready.
Queen Victoria was born, roaring, at 4:15 A.M., in the hour before dawn on May 24, 1819.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A magnificent biography of Queen Victoria by International New York Times columnist Julia Baird. Drawing on previously unpublished papers, 'Victoria: The Queen' is a stunning new portrait of the real woman behind the myth--a story of love and heartbreak, of devotion and grief, of strength and resilience. When Victoria was born, in 1819, the world was a very different place. Revolution would begin to threaten many of Europe's monarchies in the coming decades. In Britain, a generation of royals had indulged their whims at the public's expense, and republican sentiment was growing. The Industrial Revolution was transforming the landscape, and the British Empire was commanding ever larger parts of the globe. Born into a world where woman were often powerless, during a century roiling with change, Victoria went on to rule the most powerful country on earth with a decisive hand. Fifth in line to the throne at the time of her birth, Victoria was an ordinary woman thrust into an extraordinary role. As a girl, she defied her mother's meddling and an adviser's bullying, forging an iron will of her own. As a teenage queen, she eagerly grasped the crown and relished the freedom it brought her. At twenty , she fell passionately in love with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, eventually giving birth to nine children. She loved sex and delighted in power. She was outspoken with her ministers, overstepping boundaries and asserting her opinions. After the death of her adored Albert, she began a controversial, intimate relationship with her servant John Brown. She survived eight assassination attempts over the course of her lifetime. And as science, technology, and democracy were dramatically reshaping the world, Victoria was a symbol of steadfastness and security--queen of a quarter of the world's population at the height of the British Empire's reach. Drawing on sources that include fresh revelations about Victoria's relationship with John Brown, Julia Baird brings vividly to life the fascinating story of a woman who struggled with so many of the things we do today: balancing work and family, raising children, navigating marital strife, losing parents, combating anxiety and self-doubt, finding an identity, searching for meaning. This sweeping, page-turning biography gives us the real woman behind the myth: a bold, glamorous, unbreakable queen--a Victoria for our times, a Victoria who endured.--Jacket.

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