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|Print List Price:||£14.99|
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Queen Victoria: A Personal History Kindle Edition
|Length: 557 pages||Word Wise: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
a wonderful reference book after a very interesting trip to Osborne House.Published 7 months ago by isingwhenican
Very good, clear and precise. Very well researched and written.Published 15 months ago by Carole Temple
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 morePublished on 19 May 2014 by Mrs S Fee
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