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Customer Review

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An insightful and highly readable account of Diana's life, 12 April 2008
This review is from: The Diana Chronicles (Hardcover)
This is a well written and compulsively readable book, which captures the essence of Diana better than any other biography I've read - and I've read many. Most books about Diana seem fall into one of two camps: either they are overly gushing and sympathetic (eg Andrew Morton, Paul Burrell) or they are critical in the extreme (eg Lady Colin Campbell, Patrick Jephson). Tina Brown is neither. She calls Diana out on her untruths (it's highly unlikely that Diana deliberately threw herself down the stairs) but also points out where her paranoia was justified (yes, the Squidgeygate tapes were deliberately released).

There's not a lot of new material here (what was there left to find out?), but it's a very comprehensive look at Diana's life that pulls together all the various things that are known about her in such a way that you feel that you are viewing the truest and most complete picture yet. It also gave me a strong sense of what life behind the Palace walls is actually like and why Diana felt so isolated and uncomfortable there.

Tina Brown is particularly good at getting inside Charles and Diana's heads: explaining Charles's misgivings at the time of the engagement or Diana's thoughts when she agreed to the divorce. At one point she refers to Diana being a tactician rather than a strategist (always going for the short term win rather than thinking of the long game), which I thought was a very astute observation. She discusses the Charles/Diana/Camilla triangle at great length, and ultimately concludes that quite possibly the marriage could have worked had Camilla not been ever-present (Camilla doesn't come across very well at all).

This is a long book which starts a little slowly, but from the time that Diana meets Charles it races along. It's amusing, it's insightful and it leaves you wistful for what could have been.
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