George VI: The Dutiful King Paperback – 27 Jan 2011
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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). Her next book is the biography of ELIZABETH II, to be published in 2012. Sarah Bradford lives in London.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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".
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very readable but spends rather too much time on the well known abdication crisis and the on going difficulties with the subsequent Duke of Windsor, at the expense of giving more... Read morePublished 1 month ago by eanrut
It is no accident that Churchill laid a wreath with the words 'For Valour' on th King's grave. An excellent, readable and engaging biography of our longest serving queen's father.Published 7 months ago by JWA
Several months ago I read Deborah Cadbury's Princes At War, about the Royal Family and more specifically King George VI and the Duke of Windsor during WW2, and I remember thinking... Read morePublished 8 months ago by C. Ball
A bit rambling in the war years - it seemed as though the author was just trying to show she had a handle on the political situation. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Wiccachick
Four and a half stars to the book, five stars to the life of King George VI.
"If the 'greatness' of a King can be measured by the extent to which his qualities... Read more
Informative, interesting, good reading. I laughed out loud, quite a few times.Published 10 months ago by Philip R