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King George VI [Hardcover]

Sarah Bradford
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Oct 1989
Acceding to the throne upon his brother's abdication, George VI was immediately confronted with the turmoil in European politics leading up to World War II, then the war itself, followed by a period of austerity, social transformation and loss of Empire. George was unprepared for kingship, suffering from a stammer which could make public occasions very painful for him. Morever, he had grown up in the shadow of his brother, a man who has been idolized as no royal prince has been, before or since. However, this biography shows that although George was not born to be king, he died a great one.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (30 Oct 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297796674
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297796671
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.5 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 563,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Sarah Bradford is a historian and biographer. Her books include Cesare Borgia (1976), Disraeli (1982), Princess Grace (1984), Sacheverell Sitwell (1993), Elizabeth (1996) and America's Queen (2000). Sarah Bradford lives in London. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The reluctant King - Glad we had him 6 Feb 2008
By Amelrode TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
On this day in 1952 King George VI passed away. I thought it a good idea to read again his biography by Sarah Bradford.

George VI, The Queen's father, is often dismissed as a good but unremarkable man, overshadowed by his wife, the legendary Queen Mother.

Prince Albert, Duke of York, was only the second son of King George V and Queen Mary. From childhood he had been handicapped by low self-esteem and a severe stammer. As for the entire for four royal brothers (Edward VIII, and the Dukes of Gloucester and Kent) they did not have a happy childhood. He never expected to succeed and was set with his little family to lead the life of junior royals supporting the monarch and with age fading out of the limelight. Properly a life he would have loved. But life had more in store for him. When Edward VII dragged his family and country into the abdication crisis, the Duke of York found himself suddenly a very unwilling and scared head of state - 'How I hate to be King' - he often said. Yet in spite of all his disabilities he and his wife were hard-working, diligent and popular monarchs, leading Britain during the WW II. He made the monarchy stronger than ever and left the throne to his beloved daughter in perfect shape.

This exhaustively researched biography his life and character in depth, his role as King during a time of war, and the often bitter relationship with Edward VIII, who became Duke of Windsor after abdication, his relationship with Churchill, his wife and family. Above all she shows how he had to overcome himself. A man who was not easy but determined a man one had to love and admire. Maybe reluctant monarchs are the best as they are not too eager and see the duty and service than merely the privileges their position carry.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The King who saved the House of Windsor 29 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback
Warning: this review contains spoilers.

This is an excellent, well researched and organised biography - an engrossing read.

And yet, it lacks a certain critical bite. For example, the book ends abruptly with the King's death in 1952; there is no final analysis of his reign or achievements.

In many ways, the dominant personality in the book (as he was in George's life) is his brother, the Duke of Windsor. Bradford takes advantage of recent researches into the Abdication crisis, and we get a very full account of that event.

George's wartime partnership with Churchill is also well documented, though the post-war Labour government gets less attention.

Sometimes, Bradford is just too pro George - a little more distancing from her subject would not have come amiss. She may have been constrained by the fact that, at the time of writing, both his widow and daughter were alive.

Perhaps the time is not yet right for a properly objective biography of George VI. Until such time, this one will do very well.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars KG6 28 Mar 2011
By J. Luke
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is extremely well written. I am amazed at the level of research that the author has undertaken. It has taken me some considerable time to read, as I like to look at all the detail. Excellent book, I feel that I really know KG6 now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent biography 25 May 2013
By Valeria
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After watching the film "The King's Speech" I was curious to know more about the life and personality of George VI so I decided to read this biography. It seemed complete and extensive. And it is indeed! It's a very detailed portrait of the King's life, from his birth (which coincided with the death anniversay of his great-grandfather, Queen Victoria's husband, and for this reason was not well "taken" by the Queen) to the last days of his life (and the cancer which consumed it). What emerges is a very humble person, who had been mistreated a lot, but still had never lost his good heart and love for the others.
It was very funny to read some passages, especially about his wife and interesting to know how Elizabeth met his husband, and what the King thought of him.
Too long in some passages, but still very interesting, especially in the parts about his brother, the former king, and all the possible theories which could be behind his abdication. Absolutely a must for "George VI's fans".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindly and ultimately a great King 15 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback
King George VI should have had a much longer reign than he was ultimately to do. However, as we all know now, he was not meant to reign at all. In hindsight, we were actually ruled by the right man for the job.

Sarah Bradford's informative and well written biography of King George VI shows a man who was despite all the difficulties he had, the stammer and the nervousness due to bullying - that he triumphed over his adversities and gave us the Royal Family that we have been able to have today through his eldest daughter Elizabeth.

The Abdication is well documented here along with the angst and worry that befall Bertie (as he was known at this time) and Elizabeth who was definitely the right woman for him. Their courtship is also outlined and King George V has gone down in history as advising his second son "you'll be damned lucky if she accepts you".

Many people have said that Winston Churchill was the right man to lead Britain through the Second World War, after reading Bradford's biography, I believe that George VI was certainly the right man to be our King through these times. It is sad that he wasn't King into the 1960's as he would have ended up with the warm affection held by his father George V in his later years.

The period covered by "The King's Speech" is covered in not as large an area as it perhaps could have been but read this book and watch the DVD of that film and you get a flavour of what he was like as a man.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars King George V1 DVD
A really good coverage about King George V!. Good historical account of the Abdication and the second world war. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mrs.P.A. Learmonth
5.0 out of 5 stars ANDREWS VIEW
Well written, shows as a boy he was badly treated,had to deal with the trauma around the abdication,yet with his Queen rallied the nation in 1940. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Andrew C. Fraser
5.0 out of 5 stars George v1
Very informative book.well written. Ideal for the average reader as well as the more scholorly person.would highly recommend this book
Published 8 months ago by amber
5.0 out of 5 stars George Vl book
Great, not completely finished reading it yet as have several on the go at the same time, but love it so far.
Published 11 months ago by Marjorie Curry
5.0 out of 5 stars King George The Good
When he died in 1952, there was talk of naming George VI George The Good. With access to more records this biography written a few years ago goes into hisn life in greater detail... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Dr. James F. Mckellican
4.0 out of 5 stars George V1 by Sarah Bradford
Bought this book having seen the Kings' Speech which wetted my appetite to learn more about George V1. Read more
Published on 18 Dec 2011 by Mrs. Margaret E. Bridger
4.0 out of 5 stars George VI
One of a very few books on 'Bertie'. It is comprehensive, uses a lot of good primary sources such as letters but is perhaps biased towards the subject. Read more
Published on 30 Sep 2011 by SMThairs
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