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King George V [Paperback]

Kenneth Rose
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 April 2000

The Whitbread (and Wolfson and Yorkshire Post) Prize Winning account of the king whose life spanned the centuries. Grandfather of the present Queen, George V bridged the century from the ¿glories¿ of the Victorian and Edwardian eras through the horrors of the Great War. His life is recounted here drawing on letters and diaries of the Royal family as well as intimates and social observers of the time.

As his funeral cortege turned into New Palace Yard the Maltese Cross fell from the Crown and landed in the gutter. ¿A most terrible omen¿ wrote Harold Nicolson. And indeed it was.



Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; New edition edition (6 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842120018
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842120019
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 15.9 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 765,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

This story of King George V¿s restless reign (1910-1936) is recognised as one of the great twentieth century historical biographies.

From the Publisher

Antonia Fraser explains why this is one of her favourites...
This superbly-crafted biography has stood the test of time since its first publication nearly twenty years ago. At the time the skill with which Kenneth Rose brought to life a monarch not generally seen as particularly exciting - his merits being rather those of bluff commonsense - was widely admired. So was Rose’s meticulous scholarship, and his attention to sources which led to him being granted unique access to living members of the Royal Family who gave him their reminiscences. With the passing of the years, developments within the present Royal Family have made one see King George V’s resolute attitude to the inevitable changes in monarchy in a new light. Perhaps it was not notably compassionate to deny refuge to the Tsar and his family - a revelation first produced by Rose from the documents - but it certainly preserved the British Royal Family from the threat of revolution.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By Amelrode TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
"I may be uninspiring, but I'll be damned if I'm alien" was George V. 's comment when the Writer H. G. Wells wrote about Britain's "alien and uninspiring court", alien in a sense of Germanic. In 1917 he felt it better to give up his German titles and named the dynasty Windsor instead of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. George V is often remembered as the "look-a-like" with the last Czar; they were first cousins as their mothers were sisters. A dark part of this reign was his decision to withdraw the initital invitation of his government to grant asylm to the Imperial Family. This was due to his fears of branded as too Germanic for the "German last Empress".

George V (1865 - 1936) became king in 1910. His reign was dominated by
WW I and here he proved to be the leader needed: steady, dutiful, reliable and devoted. Only the second son of the future Edward VII, with no prospect of a throne he acquired only the limited education of a nineteenth-century naval officer, he grew up indifferent to science and politics, history and the arts, his views staunchly conservative, and his favorite-and principal-occupations partridge shooting and stamp collecting. Well, one can call that "uninspiring". But at the age of twenty-six, with the death of his older brother, he found himself in direct line of succession to the throne-a role for which he felt "ill-equipped both by temperament and training. He did not only inherited his brother's position but his bride. Mary of Teck became his wife and an impressive Queen Consort. Their love and mutual understanding was deep, however hardly expressed in person but in writing. In his role as a father he was however apparently less successful: "My father was frightened of his mother.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Nick D.
Format:Paperback
Kenneth Rose is a naturally talented biographer with an extraordinary ability to reveal not only his subject's life story, but also the most intimate details of their character - the essence of a good biography. The author is also a passionate monarchist, so brings a unique knowledge and love of this subject to deliver the most interesting and authoritative work on King George V.

What makes this particular account so powerful is that Rose's painstaking research provides a level of detail seldom found in any biography let alone a royal one. He knew many members of the late King's inner circle personally, while his connections with other members of the Royal Family, including Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, allowed him unique access to information that might otherwise never have been made public. The result is a fascinating portrait that has stood the test of time. Its impact is undiminished despite the fact that it was originally published more than 20 years ago.

It helps that Rose is also a great raconteur. The book is chock-full of wonderfully observed and frequently amusing anecdotes that enable the reader to truly understand not only King George V but equally the period and historical context that shaped his view of the world and his impact as King. In summary, biographies can sometimes be dry and uninspiring. Not this one;. It is genuinely a rose among thorns and a book that entertains as well as educates.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific value.... 12 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This edition of "King George V " was sold as used with some shelf damage. It arrived ahead of the given schedule and was beautifully packed. The book was as new - no marks, scrapes or discolouration anywhere. It was perfect and a huge saving on a hard-copy. The text was a little small but the lighter days arrived virtually at the same time as the book and I rapidly became used to it. The content of the book was as good as the article which I read in the "Telegraph" at the time of Kenneth Rose's death was very accurate. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written and well-rounded biogaphy 2 July 2012
By Daniel Putman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This biography of Elizabeth's grandfather is well done. The writing is clear, the paragraphs and chapters in the book are easy to follow, and Rose's use of primary sources is first rate. I found out much about George V as a person. His relationship with his family is developed well. George's many idiosyncrasies, from his intense passion for shooting to his dislike for foreign travel, are all here. He could be gruff and charming, often quickly to the same person. He disliked new technology but his first Christmas radio broadcast was beautifully done. Rose spells out in some detail George's interaction and personal reactions to the Prime Ministers during his reign. In an age in which the monarch has so many constitutional limits, developing the personal characteristics of the man is vital to a full biography. Rose does this successfully.

Among many highlights for me were Rose's discussion of the debate over power between the Commons and the Lords early in George's reign. The new monarch did a remarkable job of walking this tightrope. I also thought that the discussion of the deep economic crisis of the early 30's was very well done. Again the King, by now a seasoned ruler, did all he could given the constitutional constraints on him and Rose successfully walks the line between a personal biography and the larger political situation in Britain. The chapter on the Great War is also very good. Rose is able to bring consistently into the book the King's role and yet keep the larger political picture in front of the reader's mind. He accomplishes this many times.

I found very little to dislike in this book. I learned a great deal about George as a person and a great deal about how Britain went through several traumatic events in the early 20th century. The book is detailed without being pedantic or "dry." It is a strong summary of some critical years for the country from the perspective of a very traditional but generous and charming king.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Review of the Politics and the Politicians of the Era 14 Feb 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Kenneth Rose is an excellent scholar and this book is about scholarship--debunking the myths and telling the straight story about King George V and the politicians with whom he dealth. My only wish is that I could know more about George V the man, but this is the same objection that I've had of all scholarly biographers of Kings.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best biography of an important King whose contribution is often forgotten 18 Nov 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellently written and informative biography of the Queen's Grandfather.
Very readable and full of anecdotes which give an insight into the man who started the House of Windsor. Fiercely patriotic and hated the 'German' connection.
If you want to get an overview of the history of the period - read this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest and detailed look at a very ordinary man 6 April 2014
By PGM - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
George V's first biographer, Harold Nicholson said of the then Prince George when he was a young man that he did nothing but shoot animals and sick stamps into books (he is even quoted in this book). But this is hardly the whole story of George V, the first "modern" monarch whose life is so beautifully brought to life by Kenneth Rose. Rose brings the whit of an acerbic diarist and the knowledge of a scholar to form one great, impressive work on the life of a very important king. A good amount of time is spent on the politics that pursued George through his reign, from the House of Lords debacle of 1911 to Irish Home Rule to the first British Labor government of the early 1920s. But we get just as much insight into this king's mannerisms, tastes, household, and family life. Rose famously exposed George as the guilty party who denied asylum to the deposed Nicholas II and his family, contradicting the prevailing view that, until this book was written that, it was his Prime Minister Lloyd George who denied the tsar a safe passage to England. This is an honest, detailed account of a king who is now seen as the founder of the House of Windsor, the grandfather of the current queen, and a simple man who was in an extraordinary position in history.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift for my son 21 Dec 2013
By G.E. Brown, Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have no way of rating this, as it was a gift for my son. He specifically asked for it. The book came used from a third party seller as a library copy. The book is in excellent condition, in our opinion exceeding the condition description of the seller. I know my son will be pleased with it.
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