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Customer Review

TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 November 2010
In lieu of being able to watch the movie "The King's Speech" because it hasn't been released yet, I ordered the book by the same name, written by Lionel Logue's grandson, Mark Logue, and his co-author, Peter Conradi. The book is a well-written biography of Australian-born speech therapist Lionel Logue and his work with Britain's Prince Albert when he was Duke of York in the 1920's and continuing on in the 1930's when "Bertie" became King - George VI - in 1936, and then afterward during WW2.

Albert, son of King George V and younger brother of Edward VIII, had developed a stammer during his youth, which made him shy and uncommunicative. As someone who has struggled all my life with a relatively mild stutter, I thought it was good that Mark Logue did not attribute the cause of Bertie's stammer to any one thing. Stuttering is an impediment which seems to arise from both/either physical and psychological reasons and most of the time cannot be properly ascribed to any one thing. In Bertie's case, it was possibly from a difficult youth. He and his siblings were not close to their parents - as was common in those days - and his parents seemed to rather scare him when they were together. A sadistic nanny and the changing of his left-handedness to right may have contributed to his stutter. In any case, he was a man who could not always control his own speech, and he was moving into some situations where he would be called on to speak publicly and to do so often.

After his marriage, Bertie consulted Lionel Logue who had emigrated to England from Australia with his wife and young family and set up a practice in speech therapy in London's Harley Street. After much practice, Bertie was able to give speeches, but he depended on Lionel Logue's continued help as he became king - first in peacetime and then in wartime. The many speeches by radio that George was called on to make in the 25 or so years of his rule were always difficult for him, but Logue's work made them bearable to the king. Logue and George VI became friends - of a sort - because of their work together.

Mark Logue and Peter Conradi were able to look through Lionel Logue's case files and put together a very good record of Logue's work with George VI. Whether Lionel Logue "saved the monarchy" is a bit in doubt, but he did give confidence and success to the George VI when he - and the nation and the Commonwealth - needed it the most.

A note to the authors, Wallis Simpson was from Maryland, not Pennsylvania.
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