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Queen Victoria: A Personal History
 
 

Queen Victoria: A Personal History [Kindle Edition]

Christopher Hibbert
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Amazon.co.uk Review

Heir to the throne at the age of 11, queen at 18, mothering her own heirs at 21, and both a widow and a grandmother by the time she was 42, Queen Victoria's was an extraordinary life, even for a British monarch. Centuries collided in her life and times. She was a quaint survival of a medieval age--preserving the dynasty by marrying off her children and observing court ritual to the letter. But she was a thoroughly modern monarch too--she loved rail travel at high speed, had an unusually insouciant attitude towards religion, and despite her reputation for not being amused, she was, at least until Prince Albert's death, a woman to whom gaiety and mischief came naturally. Christopher Hibbert, the biographer and popular historian, has already produced a selection from Victoria's journals and letters. Now he has written a full biography, which is a light and enjoyable tour through a familiar landscape. But with 66 chapters in 500 pages there is not much space for depth. The world beyond Victoria's court and family life does not feature very much. And on the outstanding questions of her reign--for example, her relationship with John Brown, her unrealistic sense of her own constitutional position, or the remaking of the image of the monarchy which took place after 1870--the author's verdict is either missing or inconclusive. --Miles Taylor

Amazon Review

Heir to the throne at the age of 11, queen at 18, mothering her own heirs at 21, and both a widow and a grandmother by the time she was 42, Queen Victoria's was an extraordinary life, even for a British monarch. Centuries collided in her life and times. She was a quaint survival of a medieval age--preserving the dynasty by marrying off her children and observing court ritual to the letter. But she was a thoroughly modern monarch too--she loved rail travel at high speed, had an unusually insouciant attitude towards religion, and despite her reputation for not being amused, she was, at least until Prince Albert's death, a woman to whom gaiety and mischief came naturally. Christopher Hibbert, the biographer and popular historian, has already produced a selection from Victoria's journals and letters. Now he has written a full biography, which is a light and enjoyable tour through a familiar landscape. But with 66 chapters in 500 pages there is not much space for depth. The world beyond Victoria's court and family life does not feature very much. And on the outstanding questions of her reign--for example, her relationship with John Brown, her unrealistic sense of her own constitutional position, or the remaking of the image of the monarchy which took place after 1870--the author's verdict is either missing or inconclusive. --Miles Taylor

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1165 KB
  • Print Length: 576 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (15 April 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003GUBI3O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #99,606 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Christopher Hibbert wrote more than fifty acclaimed books, including The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici and Rome: The Biography of a City. A leading popular historian whose works reflect meticulous scholarship, he was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He died in December 2008.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars delightful, delectable and easily digestible 22 Jan 2002
Format:Paperback
Christoper Hibbert once again shows himself to be one of the best popular historian writing today. In this personal portrait - for that is what it is, there are no complex political analyses here - he truthfully and intimately depicts one of the most significant world leaders of the post industrial world. By showing Victoria through the eyes of her family, household and ministers, Hibbert manages to deal impartially with the many "grey areas" of Victoria's life - the "John Brown" rumours, for example, are dealt with in a very informative and unbiased manner. Hibbert's method of using short, succinct chapters of no more than about 15 pages makes this an good book to read in bits to get a general feel for the issues and themes of Victoria's life and reign. A right good read!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hibbert notches up another admirable achievement 17 Mar 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Christopher Hibbert, now aged 77, has 34 books to his credit. This staggering total presumably includes one or two lemons, but this reviewer has yet to find any. Hibbert's latest volume belongs with his very best, and defies anyone to read a single chapter without immediately gobbling up the next half-dozen.
It might be thought that Queen Victoria's two finest pre-Hibbert biographers, Elizabeth Longford and Stanley Weintraub, had between them exhausted their theme. Hibbert, though, draws on Royal Archives material which no previous book-length study has used. While the result compels no spectacular revisions of accepted verdicts, it periodically shines instructive new beams of light.
How did Victoria survive? Partly through luck: she died just before Hearst- or Pulitzer-style gutter-journalism had emerged with the aim of routing all political authority save its own. Partly through the sheer strength of monarchism's position throughout Europe in the half-century before World War I: a period when only Switzerland, Portugal (after 1910), Spain (1873-75) and Third Republic France (itself crypto-monarchist) formally eschewed kingship. But partly through that most elusive of personal attributes: a charm that could, when she chose, thaw the frostiest critics. It thawed them posthumously as well: above all in the case of Lytton Strachey, who began his account of her life with every intention of dancing the Charleston on her grave, but whose reflexive sniggers she eventually silenced. It has clearly won over Hibbert too.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Victoria, warts and all 17 Jun 2003
Format:Paperback
After reading some glittering medieval and Tudor biographies, I wanted to fill in the gaps closer to our own day. Christopher Hibbert's comprehensive, readable biography is a good starting-point. However, as detractors have pointed out, it is short on political analysis. The emphasis is on "royal".
Hibbert sets the stage for Victoria's accession with a marvellous summary of how her various royal forebears failed to provide an heir, so that she succeeded by default. He delineates Queen Victoria's complex relationships with several Prime Ministers: her neediness with Lord Melbourne and Disraeli, antipathy towards Palmerston and Gladstone, respect for Salisbury. Unfortunately he does not clearly enough differentiate between Whigs and Tories. But he does acquaint the reader with the major political personalities and put you in a position to explore further. A useful reference alongside this book is "The Prime Ministers from Walpole to Macmillan" (possibly only available in the UK, and in danger of going out of print).
Skilfully interweaving Victoria's personal history with national and international landmark events, Hibbert provides handy, if underwritten, overviews of the Indian Mutiny, the Crimean War, the Great Exhibition, and Chartism. He also sketches contemporary European royals like Napoleon III, exploring tensions between France, Italy and Austria.
Co-dependency, egotism and self-pity characterised Victoria's personal contacts. Her henpecking of her intelligent, unpopular consort Albert, and later selfish blocking of her children's marriages in order to keep them around, echo her own repressive childhood. But Victoria's households at Balmoral and Osborne were beacons of domesticity, and she was well-travelled and sophisticated.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Hibbert 22 April 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I can but fully agree with the last sentence of the above "Book Information". This book combines great volume with great readability, showing Victoria to be a romantic and at times broadminded woman (just look at her taste in art in the illustrations section). The Court morals of the time becoming "Victorian" during her reign - although they might have more aptly been called "Albertian" - were only mirroring a tendency visible in all the royal houses of Europe, and probably more a result of the 1848 scare that they got than of anything else, of princes wanting to copy and even set the tone of middle class family virtues and in that sense being the first citizen of their countries. All in all, very informative and very entertainingly written.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Modern, readable portrait of Victoria 29 Mar 2010
By CJ
Format:Paperback
Christopher Hibbert is extremely good at taking a complex subject and making it readable without any dumbing down. I read this book a while ago, but came back to it again recently, because one of the advantages of Hibbert's books is that they work on the level of both a good read and a good reference work. He brings Victoria to life and at the same time provides us with a good portrait of Albert, and an incidental understanding of some major events in the Victorian period as well. The reader could become irritated by a woman who was frequently both self centred and selfish, but Hibbert balances his warts an all description with enough sympathy for his subject, that the reader retains interest in her until the end. This book really brings Victoria and her circle to life.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love History then you will enjoy this.
This is a book that you can pick up and put down easily , full of details and evidenced by others of the same period. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mrs S Fee
5.0 out of 5 stars Queen Victoria: Personal History
Excellent and fun to read too. Such a little lady but obviously had a steel rod down her spine, such responsibility too.
Published 8 months ago by Ms. A. Peover-lock
4.0 out of 5 stars great read
Very interesting and written in an easy to read manner unlike some of the dry history books I have suffered at college.
Published 8 months ago by Mrs. M. Moore
3.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable and undemanding read...
Queen Victoria was, as A.N. Wilson described her, a 'loveable monster', wilful, stubborn, capricious, demanding, but also capable of great charm and insight, compassionate, utterly... Read more
Published 9 months ago by C. Ball
3.0 out of 5 stars Correct book sent
I thought it would be bigger writing. It is slightly smaller than normal print and therefore difficult for me to read.
Published 11 months ago by Mrs Rita H Lindsay
4.0 out of 5 stars Queen Victoria - A Personal History
I am using it for a play I am writing. It was very useful. Also entertaining and well written as a general read.
Published 11 months ago by Elizabeth's honour
4.0 out of 5 stars Good content but very small print
I bought it for an elderly aunt. It was a personal history and interesting. However, the print was unusualy
small which was disappointing as she is 93.
Published 15 months ago by A. Lindsay
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read
As the sub title says this is a personal history of our (up to now) longest reigning monarch. If your interest is political history then you would probably find this of little... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Mildred
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This is a really good detailed read,. No stone left unturned. I didnt know much about Queen Victoria and this really educated me.
Published 21 months ago by Julieb
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book
This book was amazing read. A real page turner. I never knew what a bizarre and complex character Queen Victoria was. Thoroughly recommend it.
Published 24 months ago by James
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