- Hardcover: 1120 pages
- Publisher: Macmillan; 1st Edition edition (18 Sept. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 140504859X
- ISBN-13: 978-1405048590
- Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 6.6 x 24 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 221,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: The Official Biography Hardcover – Unabridged, 18 Sep 2009
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'It is certain to be one of the publishing events of the year.' -- Daily Telegraph
'Long-awaited...the book will be the most comprehensive account of her life.' -- Daily Telegraph
'One of the most enticing books to be published in 2009... Good books, we hope, come to those who wait.' -- The Sunday Telegraph
'The publicity drums are now beating for Old Etonian Shawcross's official life of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.' -- Daily Mail
'Long-awaited...the book will be the most comprehensive account of her life.'See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Writing a biography on such a personality is not an easy task. Her first biographer Hugo Vickers had spent too much energy and pages on the Queen Mother's outfits and colour schemes of her dresses. He was all a bit to "loyal" and keeping with the myth, a bit to close to her and bit too admiring. Does William Shawcross fare better?
In my view yes indeed he does, very much so. He managed to get to the bottom of her personality, her basic functioning, and her basic personality: her great zest for life, her liking of people, her sense of duty and great loyalty and her positive approach to life in general, and her great sense of humour. But he is blind to her faults. There is a balance of this book - unless the official biography on Queen Mary he does not focus at length on her childhood and rushes through the "Queen Years". Of course, this is not my first biography of the Queen Mother and therefore not much came as a surprise to me, but there are new elements to discover. First, this is the first biography were one learns about the events and her views through herself - by her fantastic letters. Oh gosh how will future biographies been written? Based on text messages and emails...?? Secondly, the relationship with The King becomes clearer and more balanced. Popular view has it that she was the strong one and that he relied on her. Yes, that is true, but she relied very much on him too.Read more ›
For example, we learn that she took many months to consider Bertie's proposal, but there was no mention of the common belief that, encouraged by her social-climber of a mother, she was actually holding out for the bigger and more handsome prize; his older brother, the Prince of Wales. This was certainly Wallis Simpson's opinion, and it was shared by several 1920s/1930s Society figures - why was it not explored?
The deaths of Princesses Margaret and Diana merit a page or two apiece, yet the QM's safari, and her trip to Canada, are dealt with in excrutiating detail. I skim-read several sections of this book.
In short, if you want to know exactly what the QM was up to on 1st June 1936 (or any other date), this is the book for you. If you want an analysis of her motivations, character and beliefs, then look elsewhere.
However, if you want to know what motivated Queen Elizabeth in an extraordinary period of the British Royal Family, forget it. We learn nothing of her relations with her royal contemporaries; nothing of the family's views, actions or attitudes to their European cousins as their world closed; nothing not already known about the family's reaction as their world imploded with the abdication of Edward Vlll (and what we do get is sketchy in the exteme). We get a detailed account of the self indulgent and selfish life of the widowed Queen, but nothing of the period when she and the Royal Family were at the centre of a monumental gathering, and happening storm.
The book is far too long.
Don't bother : bad history; bad book.
Particularly pointless are the lengthy chunks devoted to her first foreign tours, including the genial slaughter of various animals as she levelled her Purdey guns at one and all. We get a hint of a Duchess who seemed to be universally popular before she became Queen, and she certainly had an idyllic childhood. But can we trust this image? Any hint of melancholy undercurrents are firmly hustled out of sight. About the one fact that did surprise me was that the young princess Elizabeth was left at home at a very early age while her mum and husband toured Australia for 7 months. Think that one through...
Anyone with access to the Royal Archives could have come up with the same humdrum catalogue. The book feels less like biography and more like copying out passages from sources.
I am still waiting for a BIOGRAPHY of the late Queen Mother.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought for my elderly mother who really enjoyed it. Excellent size font made it easy for my Mum whose eyes are not what they were. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Ffion Fandango
Extremely well written, incredibly interesting and I learned a lot. Highly recommended.Published 8 months ago by jacksdavie
I don't know if I have to keep this very boring boring boring biogaphy for any intellectual reason or keep it to help hold the back door in my house during the summe when the... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Ripley94
"The organizer, as for her eightieth and ninetieth birthday celebrations, was Major Michael parker. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Chase Insteadman Mountbatten
Absolutely outstanding book. Don't be put off by 1,000 pages - after all this has to cover over 100 years! Read morePublished 14 months ago by Michael Peter Landon
Bought as a gift, recipient said a very good book and recommended if interested in the Queen MotherPublished 20 months ago by MR MJ GRAVES
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