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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting portrait of the Swan King and his family
As a big fan of the Bavarian King Ludwig II, I have read several books about the "Swan King", including the remainders of his secret diary. Still, I was quite charmed by this biography by Greg King. I was touched by his description how awkward the relation between Ludwig and his parents was. They felt hopelessly awkward in their children's presence and knew nothing of...
Published on 8 Sep 2002 by J. N. W. Bos

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars huge disappointment and not to be taken seriously
I bought this book because it was suggested it would contain a lot of information about possible plots surrounding the death of the king. But of course, it is first and foremost a biography. And it is fairly OK as such till we get to chapter 32, 'Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee'. In it, in a diverging style from the rest, describing an imaginary visit by Ludwig to these...
Published on 20 Dec 2011 by F.B. Adam


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting portrait of the Swan King and his family, 8 Sep 2002
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J. N. W. Bos "Joan" (Utrecht, The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Mad King: Biography of Ludwig II of Bavaria (Hardcover)
As a big fan of the Bavarian King Ludwig II, I have read several books about the "Swan King", including the remainders of his secret diary. Still, I was quite charmed by this biography by Greg King. I was touched by his description how awkward the relation between Ludwig and his parents was. They felt hopelessly awkward in their children's presence and knew nothing of their interests and could never make more than the most shallow conversation with them.
In Chapter 30 about the King's Friendships, Greg King poses a theory that the Catholic Ludwig struggled with his homosexuality and that he hid himself in his artificial world in a desperate attempt to fight against his longings. Through repeated pledges and vows to remain chaste in his secret diary, he tried to appease his troubled soul.
Chapter 34 is about Ludwig's eccentricity, describing Ludwig's brother Otto, their aunts and other eccentric and insane relatives. He concludes the chapter with: "The question of his alleged insanity [..] should be one of degrees of eccentricity rather than complete mental illness."
In the final chapter, Greg King poses his own theory of Ludwig's mysterious death.
The hard cover contains some black-and-white pictures and a simple family tree. Of all books I have read about Ludwig, I would recommend this one. It gave me some interesting, new insights into Ludwig's private live. It is well-written and fun to read!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars huge disappointment and not to be taken seriously, 20 Dec 2011
This review is from: The Mad King: Biography of Ludwig II of Bavaria (Hardcover)
I bought this book because it was suggested it would contain a lot of information about possible plots surrounding the death of the king. But of course, it is first and foremost a biography. And it is fairly OK as such till we get to chapter 32, 'Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee'. In it, in a diverging style from the rest, describing an imaginary visit by Ludwig to these residences, there occur some ludicrous mistakes. To give two examples: about Herrenchiemsee, Mr King claims that 'the state apartments, grouped on the first floor, all faced the garden' (p. 242); they do not: they ALL face the courtyard with the exception of the Hall of Mirrors and its two adjoining Halls of War and Peace. About the Hall of Mirrors, Mr King writes: 'Ludwig's Hall of Mirrors was, at 300 feet, nearly a third longer than Jules-Hardouin Mansart's original. It was also far more grand. Twenty-seven arched windows in the long outer wall were reflected in corresponding mirrors on the opposite wall' (p. 242-3) In fact, the Herrenchiemsee Hall of Mirrors is, with 252 feet, only slightly longer than its Versailles example, which is 239.5 feet. Also, both halls have 17 windows, and the entire central part of both facades have 23 windows. I have no idea where Mr King found his 27 windows; he does not provide a picture of the Herrenchiemsee exterior - perhaps wisely, because anyone who can count up to 23 can disprove him. One doubts whether Mr King has ever taken the trouble of visiting the castles he writes about, but I'd like to know where he copied his information from: the usual tourist guides offer considerably more reliable information.
All this, of course, casts considerable doubts as to the validity of the chapters on Ludwig's death. How can one trust an author who cannot even give you the correct number of windows of Herrenchiemsee - a fact that could easily have been checked?
If you're interested in the facts surrounding Ludwig's mysterious death, or about his life and his castles, buy any book but this. I've read practically all there is, and all other biographies will give you better and more information, and you can be far more sure to trust it!
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The Mad King: Biography of Ludwig II of Bavaria
The Mad King: Biography of Ludwig II of Bavaria by Greg King (Hardcover - 24 April 1997)
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