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God Save the Queen? Paperback – 3 Jun 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Icon Books Ltd (3 Jun. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840464011
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840464016
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 2.1 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 322,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Here is the plain proof of the child-sacrifice that underlies our most absurd and sinister institution." -- Christopher Hitchens

"Highly lucid and irreverent...more
dysfunctional and compelling than Big Brother." -- The Scotsman

"I love this book! It's like eating a whole box of chocolates in one go." -- Julie Burchill

"fantastically gripping and provocative...one of the most
convincing books on the monarchy you'll ever read." -- Independent on Sunday, June 16th 2002

From the Publisher

Here is the book for the alternative Golden Jubliee. Award-winning journalist Johann Hari exposes the truth behind the public face of the British monarchy. It is an institution more suited to the 19th century than the 21st, and incompatible with our media-driven culture. And not only is the monarchy an affront to the intelligence and modernity of the British people (and, indeed the Commonwealth) it is destroying the Windsors themselves, creating monsters and wreaking lives. It's high time - Hari painstakingly argues - that this tragicomic show closed.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Michael Heron TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 16 Nov. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's very mean spirited, and full of unworthy and uncharitable gossip. That though is what makes it such a thoroughly entertaining read. Johann Hari has been caught out in quite a few shady journalistic practices of late, particularly relating to plagiarism, and I knocked a star off because the book isn't referenced deeply enough to take it entirely seriously in light of that - but if you are willing to take it on faith that the accounts within are accurate, or even prepared to take it as a work of fiction, it's a very enjoyable book.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By fluffy_mike on 15 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
The largest section of the book is a person-by-person character assassination of the main actors in the soap opera that has been the post-War British monarchy. Hari pulls no punches in slamming the Windsors' weak intellect, greed, disfunctional family life, and unpleasantly poor social skills. Most of them come across as woefully inadequate and pretty loathesome human beings.

Hari's angle is to paint them as victims of an institution (in particular their misguided and heartless matriarch) that can't help but create flawed humans. He argues that for the British to insist on retaining a monarchy in the face of such evidence is to selfishly condemn a new generation of royals to this hideous fate.

The second part of the book is a short but systematic deconstruction of the main arguments for retaining a monarchy on historical and constitutional grounds.

This is a great read - lively, well sourced and engaging. Okay, reading the book eight years after it was authored, the idea that William doesn't want to be king doesn't sound so convincing, but little else appears to have changed. Yes, it's utterly one-sided, but it's still a welcome antidote to the far more prevalent and destructive powers of a sycophantic British media.
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30 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Tim Davison on 10 July 2002
Format: Paperback
Let me start by saying that I'm a monarchist. So why did I buy this book? Well, it's extremely well-written for starters and is hugely accessible. Unlike most lefties, Hari does not cloud his beliefs in pretentious sociology-speak. And secondly, because as other reviewers have pointed out, it contains plenty of juicy gossip about the HRH's themselves. And after all, it's the monarchists who keep the royal family media frenzy going, isn't it?
Hari's thesis - that the monarchy should be abolished because of its ill effects on the family and that the dysfunctional family is a result of the pressures of the monarchy - is well argued but far from watertight. After all, by Hari's argument, if the family were happy, then the monarchy would be OK. So what about foreign monarchies? Are we supposed to believe that every royal family in the world is dysfunctional? His book can be construed as much as an argument for reform and modernisation of the institution, rather than for its total abolition. Make the monarchy more family-friendly and flexible, perhaps, then the monarchs would be happier.
In addition, he takes a very dim view of duty and seems to elevate the idea of personal freedom above all other virtues. Why should William, he argues, have to devote his life to duty? Shouldn't he be free to do as he pleases? And yet duty is an underrated virtue. Unfortunately, most of us find as we get older that we are all a great deal less free than we thought. Those with children lose much of their freedom and - if they have any conscience - accept their duty of bringing them up. Hari appears to think that it is wrong to expect anyone to accept a burden of duty and believes that William will not want to take up that burden. But what teenager doesn't want to rebel?
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. W. R. Clare on 29 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
It starts off with a quite sensible proposal that the expectations of the populace from the monarchy are quite unreasonable and that this has turned the royal family into a dysfunctional assortment of tormented souls. The issue of duty as interpreted by the Queen and laid on her offspring has led them to be the way they are, which is by no means a normal family (whatever that might mean in the context).

He then goes on to comment on their intelligence, and, of course, they are all stupid, because Johann Hari is really clever and better educated and is thus enabled from a lofty viewpoint to comment on their flaws.

The next step is to look at the alternatives, but who, in their right minds, would wish to have someone like Blair, Brown or Cameron as president, much as they themselves might welcome the opportunity.

And then, of all things, he suggests that the constitutional function could be carried out by the Speaker. May all the powers of the universe protect us from Gorbals Mick or little Bercow having any more influence than they have already misused.

And to cap it all the quotes on the cover are from Christopher Hitchens and Julie Birchill. If you wanted an unreasonable view, or biassed opinion, you couldn't do better than that.

I loved it because it proved, beyond all reasonable doubt, what a self regarding and opinionated individual the disgraced journalist truly is: thus supporting my original premise.
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12 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Steven Hicks on 10 Jun. 2002
Format: Paperback
I read this guy's stuff on ...[the New Statesman website]... (one of the UK's best politics sites) all the time and he's great there, but this book beats even that stuff! It's so witty and well-written, and obviously based on very close sources. There's stuff here for intellectuals and people who just love to hear dirt on the royals. I can't recommend it strongly enough!
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