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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars

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on 7 July 2014
This is a very interesting, relaxing read. The title might seem a little trivialising but the content gives a very positive picture of a unique figure in British history. Oppressed by his narrow-minded father who was wholly supported by his mother, even after Prince Albert was dead, the prince, later King Edward VII, found his pleasures mostly in Paris and particularly enjoyed the tutelage of Napoleon III. The licentious Napoleon surrounded himself with like-minded admirers and cocottes of every persuasion. The young Edward was impressionable and built his own sexual gratification on French courtly preferences. His poor wife Alexandra was tolerated but seemingly ignored. Paris was there not only for its vice but also for its monumentally important culture.
To paint this dissolute picture, Stephen Clarke has given us a lively account of mid-nineteenth century France, its peccadillos and its continuous political uncertainty, hung between monarchy and republic. The political climate is shown to have been influential in making Prince Edward an outstanding diplomat, juggling with his Russian Czar cousin and his German Kaiser cousin in a series of alliances that were contradictory and unreliable. The case that had Edward lived a few years longer (he died in 1910), the First World War might have been avoided is a little tenuous but, nonetheless interesting speculation.
I have said enough to show potential readers that this book is not focused only on Edward's shocking behaviour but on a man who became King later in life, who loved the admiration of crowds, who revelled in pageantry and who a century ago did much to establish the British monarchy as the high profile tourist attraction it is today. Incidentally some of Edward's genes have been passed down to his descendants!
This is a good relaxing book that paints a fascinating picture as interesting for those who are observers of life in the past than those who would claim to be 'historians'.
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on 16 June 2017
Fascinating is the only word I can use to describe this biographical exposee of a recent monarch and major influence on 20th century Europe I clearly knew nothing about ~ to my shame. What would he have made of Brexit??
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on 9 September 2017
Interesting read and gave me an insight to life at the time
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on 9 June 2014
Having read 1000 years of annoying the French where Mr Clarke gives us a taster of "Berties" life style, I was interested in reading more about the future King Edward VII and was not disappointed by his latest offering. I very much enjoy his light hearted but well informed style and would recommend this book to anyone interested in history but who also likes to be entertained whist learning about the subject.
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on 7 September 2015
Title: Dirty Bertie: An English King Made in France
Author: Stephen Clarke
From: Netgalley
Genre: Non-fiction, Biography
Release Date: 15th July 2014
Challenges: COYER Scavenger Hunt, 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2015 Reading Assignment
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Edward VII: Ultimate European diplomat and Parisian to the core. Known for his women and his cancan dancers, what is it that makes this English King such a powerful European figure even before his ascent to the throne.

I don't normally read biographies, but this one was written by Stephen Clarke, and for me that was enough to read it! I've never really given much thought to Edward VII (my interests in history are older than that in general) nor in pre-World War 1 history, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading Dirty Bertie. Saying that because of the non-fiction nature of the book, and the fact that I don't normally read biographies, I did find that I dipped in and out of this book and it took me a couple of weeks to read.

As with Stephen Clarke's previous books (or at least the previous ones that I've read) I found his way of presenting the facts to be amusing and there were several moments where I found myself laughing aloud at some of the turns of phrase. I think that Clarke truly has a talent for making information come alive.

The sequence of the chapters worked well for me, rather than chronologically (though there was some sense of this), the chapters focused on different things, and rather than having a lot of different asides, Clarke directs readers to relevant chapters as well as using a limited number of footnotes. These didn't overwhelm and in the kindle edition they were clickable and situated at the end of the chapter.

I wasn't surprised that I enjoyed this book, Clarke has a wonderful way of writing and I already know that I like it, and I found that I not only learnt more about Edward VII but about France and Paris as well (though already having a working knowledge of some things was helpful too!)
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on 16 December 2014
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on 8 September 2015
well written book with lots of information and humour. brilliant.
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on 4 November 2014
Fun and flirty look at Edward VII and his misspent youth in France. It evolves nicely and gives some excellent historical background.
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on 30 January 2015
A "fun" take on the personal side of a King's life - written with humour and the basic facts seem to be correct!
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on 21 November 2015
as ever Stephen has written a brilliant book and I thoroughly enjoyed it . the last part was very thought provoking
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