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George II: King and Elector (English Monarchs) (Yale English Monarchs Series) [Paperback]

Andrew C. Thompson
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Price: 13.79 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

12 Oct 2012 Yale English Monarchs Series
Despite a long and eventful reign, Britain's George II is a largely forgotten monarch, his achievements overlooked and his abilities misunderstood. This landmark biography uncovers extensive new evidence in British and German archives, making possible the most complete and accurate assessment of this thirty-three-year reign. Andrew C. Thompson paints a richly detailed portrait of the many-faceted monarch in his public as well as his private life. Born in Hanover in 1683, George Augustus first came to London in 1714 as the new Prince of Wales. He assumed the throne in 1727, held it until his death in 1760, and has the distinction of being Britain's last foreign-born king and the last king to lead an army in battle. With George's story at its heart, the book reconstructs his thoughts and actions through a careful reading of the letters and papers of those around him. Thompson explores the previously under appreciated roles George played in the political processes of Britain, especially in foreign policy, and as a patron of the arts. He also charts the intricacies of the king's complicated relationships and reassesses the lasting impact of his frequent return trips to Hanover. George II emerges from these pages as an independent and cosmopolitan figure of undeniable historical fascination.

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George II: King and Elector (English Monarchs) (Yale English Monarchs Series) + George III: America's Last King (English Monarchs) (Yale English Monarchs) + George IV (Yale English Monarchs Series)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (12 Oct 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300187777
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300187779
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 109,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"'Thompson has finally, and triumphantly, given us one of the essential, basic building blocks for royal history in the 18th century... I'm utterly delighted that this long-standing gap has been filled so authoritatively.' (Lucy Worsley, BBC History Magazine (Books of the Year)) 'This is an impeccably sourced, cross-referred and well indexed book, drawing on new archival material in both Britain and Germany. It is, thank goodness, unashamedly chronological and written in an engaging narrative style.' (Richard Ormrod, The Tablet) 'a judicious, careful and clearly written examination of George and his role.' (Bob Harris, Times Literary Supplement)"

About the Author

Andrew C. Thompson is fellow and director of studies in history, Queens' College, Cambridge. He lives in Cambridge.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars All you need to know about George II ! 12 Jun 2014
By Min
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
THE book for all historians wanting to research King George II. Written in a style that is thorough but not dry.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a book of substance 17 Feb 2013
In modern terms one would properly say: typical second generation immigrants. Not yet fully established in the new home country, but more removed from the country of origin as the first generation.

George II, the second King of the new Dynasty, is not very well known, often more in crosswords when asked who was the last British king taking part in a battle.

Andrew Thompson has written a political biography concentrating on the serious business of monarchy. George II was in the center of it, but with a strong element of a constitutional monarch in Britain, while at the same time being an absolute monarchy in Hannover. The author analysis in great depth and understanding the politics and forms a very balance view of the King-Elector. It is not always an easy read, sometimes pretty boring actually. But it is a book of substance. So if you are willing to take up this challenge, you will not regret it, but it is not a book "of entertainment to be read lightly.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book 3 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
very pleased with the condition and the price of the book this almost completes my collection many thanks to you
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book 24 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A very good book on a relatively unknown subject. I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in the eighteenth century.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Decidedly Political History 1 Aug 2011
By Thomas M. Sullivan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
To most folks, the `Georgian' period of British history evokes the reign of George III who became monarch in 1760. After all, if one is not interested in any other facet of those years, it was his administration which precipitated the American Revolution and deserves attention for that if nothing else. But as an avid French & Indian (Seven Years') War buff, I thought it might be worthwhile to read a biography of the man who was actually on the throne during most of that imbroglio, George II. By the time of his death in 1760, the war was effectively over.

Andrew Thompson is a solid writer who acknowledges up front that George II, man and monarch, is a tough subject to pin down, both because the personal `raw material' relating to him and his reign is relatively sparse, lacking, for instance, the extensive body of correspondence by, to, and about his successor, and because much of the archival records relating to his dual role as Elector of Hanover was returned there and partly destroyed when the roles were split in 1837 upon the accession of Queen Victoria. In this respect, the book recalled in my mind Wendy Moore's biography of British surgical pioneer John Hunter, "The Knife Man," wherein the author reveals at the end of the book that the perceptible remoteness of much of her narrative is attributable to the postmortem destruction of her subject's personal papers by his vindictive brother. At least Thompson warns the reader up front that his picture is going to be less complete than it might have been had he more to work with.

All that being said, the book is a very worthwhile account of its subject's life and times. The monarch comes across as a much more competent and compelling man and administrator than capsulated biographical sketches would have it, especially in his dealings with the fractious parliaments and cabinet members with which he was forced to deal. But the prospective reader should bear in mind that this is decidedly not a `social' biography like Christopher Hibbert's marvelous "Victoria" or "George III," nor is the reader given much of a picture of the subject's role in the precipitation and execution of the `Seven Years' War.' Rather, the book is a political history of the man and the period, and of considerable value for that.

A couple of final cavils. If `notes' contain or relate to material that by definition is not of sufficient importance to include in the text, than why interrupt the work's narrative flow by employing footnotes instead of endnotes? Also, the index is spotty in its inclusion of the book's principal characters and events; more time should have been spent on its composition.

Overall, a worthwhile read so long as you understand what you're getting...and what you're not.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent biography given sources and data available 14 Mar 2012
By Daniel Putman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Andrew Thompson does a terrific job with George II given the strange mix of sources available to him. On the one hand, there is plenty of material for the political machinations of the Hanoverians and the role of the English on the continent. The complexity of this material posed a special challenge in setting the framework for George's reign. I found the first two chapters of the book, "Inheritance and Expectation" and "King-in Waiting," to be first-rate writing. It is incredibly difficult to summarize in two chapters the Byzantine political landscape of Europe in the first decades of the House of Hanover. To have some idea of what Thompson faced, read Ragnhild Hatton's biography of George I. Thompson somehow had to take all this material and summarize it as a form of introduction to the kingship of George II. He does this extremely well. He does not skip important events in George's childhood nor leave out the Hanoverian/English political maneuvers. And he writes these summary chapters in a way that the reader can follow easily. This is no small task.

The second unusual aspect of this book is that, while the surface political events, complicated as they are, are accessible to the historian, much of the more personal and anecdotal material for George is not (as noted in the book's Introduction). The material that is available, as Thompson also notes, is often unreliable. So the author had to weave a full-throated biography out of scanty and often unreliable sources for the more personal dimension of George's life and combine that with the complex political maneuvering that was occurring at the time. George had one foot in England and one in Hanover and the constantly changing political and military landscape of Austria, France and the many German states made for a maze that was a challenge for George, much more for his biographer. I think the author deserves kudos for tackling this difficult biography and doing it exceptionally well.

So parts of this book are largely "political" and may not satisfy those who are looking for a more personal biography. But this is as fine a biography of George II as one is going to get. I highly recommend this readable and well-organized book.
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