The Heir Apparent

Author: Jane Ridley
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 0812994752
Format: PDF, Kindle
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NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW AND THE BOSTON GLOBE This richly entertaining biography chronicles the eventful life of Queen Victoria’s firstborn son, the quintessential black sheep of Buckingham Palace, who matured into as wise and effective a monarch as Britain has ever seen. Granted unprecedented access to the royal archives, noted scholar Jane Ridley draws on numerous primary sources to paint a vivid portrait of the man and the age to which he gave his name. Born Prince Albert Edward, and known to familiars as “Bertie,” the future King Edward VII had a well-earned reputation for debauchery. A notorious gambler, glutton, and womanizer, he preferred the company of wastrels and courtesans to the dreary life of the Victorian court. His own mother considered him a lazy halfwit, temperamentally unfit to succeed her. When he ascended to the throne in 1901, at age fifty-nine, expectations were low. Yet by the time he died nine years later, he had proven himself a deft diplomat, hardworking head of state, and the architect of Britain’s modern constitutional monarchy. Jane Ridley’s colorful biography rescues the man once derided as “Edward the Caresser” from the clutches of his historical detractors. Excerpts from letters and diaries shed new light on Bertie’s long power struggle with Queen Victoria, illuminating one of the most emotionally fraught mother-son relationships in history. Considerable attention is paid to King Edward’s campaign of personal diplomacy abroad and his valiant efforts to reform the political system at home. Separating truth from legend, Ridley also explores Bertie’s relationships with the women in his life. Their ranks comprised his wife, the stunning Danish princess Alexandra, along with some of the great beauties of the era: the actress Lillie Langtry, longtime “royal mistress” Alice Keppel (the great-grandmother of Camilla Parker Bowles), and Lady Randolph Churchill, mother of Winston. Edward VII waited nearly six decades for his chance to rule, then did so with considerable panache and aplomb. A magnificent life of an unexpectedly impressive king, The Heir Apparent documents the remarkable transformation of a man—and a monarchy—at the dawn of a new century. Praise for The Heir Apparent “If [The Heir Apparent] isn’t the definitive life story of this fascinating figure of British history, then nothing ever will be.”—The Christian Science Monitor “The Heir Apparent is smart, it’s fascinating, it’s sometimes funny, it’s well-documented and it reads like a novel, with Bertie so vivid he nearly leaps from the page, cigars and all.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune “I closed The Heir Apparent with admiration and a kind of wry exhilaration.”—The Wall Street Journal “Ridley is a serious scholar and historian, who keeps Bertie’s flaws and virtues in a fine balance.”—The Boston Globe “Brilliantly entertaining . . . a landmark royal biography.”—The Sunday Telegraph “Superb.”—The New York Times Book Review From the Hardcover edition.

Bertie

Author: Jane Ridley
Publisher: Vintage Canada
ISBN: 9780099575443
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Exciting new approach to biography by an acclaimed historian and biographer: King Edward Vll (Bertie) seen through the eyes of the women in his life. Entertaining and different, this enjoyable study of a flawed yet characterful Prince of Wales wears its scholarship lightly. Edward Vll, who gave his name to the Edwardian Age and died in 1911, was King of England for the final 10 years of his life. He was 59 when at last he came to power. Known as Bertie, and the eldest son of Victoria and Albert, he was bullied by both his parents. His mother, Queen Victoria, the first and most powerful woman in his life, blamed Bertie's scandalous womanising for his father's early demise. Although Bertie was heir to the throne, she refused to give him any proper responsibilities, as a result of which he spent his time eating (his waist measurement was 48 inches and his nickname was 'Edward the Wide'), betting on race-horses and shooting grouse. He was married off to Alexandra of Denmark, who was beautiful but infantile, lavishing her affection on her doggies and pet bunnies. Bertie's numerous mistresses included the society hostess Daisy Brook ('Babbling Brook') and the gorgeous but fragile Lillie Langtry (with whom 'played house' in a specially built hide-away home). The last of the women in his life was the clever and manipulative Alice Keppel. He always placed her at dinner next to his most important guests, because of her grasp of politics, her brilliant conversation and her formidable skills at the Bridge table. When Bertie finally became king, he did a good job, especially in foreign policy. This colourful book gives him due credit, while painting a vivid portrait of the age in all its excess and eccentricity, hypocrisy and heartbreak.

Edward VII

Author: Catharine Arnold
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 1466877944
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Catharine Arnold presents a colorful biography of Edward VII—playboy monarch, celebrated lover, and son of Queen Victoria—set against the real-life Downton Abbey world of American heiresses. Edward Prince of Wales, better known as “Bertie,” was the eldest son of Queen Victoria. Charming and dissolute, he was a larger-than-life personality with king-size appetites. A lifelong womanizer, Bertie conducted his countless liaisons against the glittering backdrop of London society, Europe, and the stately homes of England in the second half of the 19th century. Bertie’s lovers were beautiful, spirited, society women who embraced a wide field of occupations. There was Lillie Langtry, the simple Jersey girl who would become an actress and producer; “Daisy” Brooke, Countess of Warwick, the extravagant socialite who embraced socialism and stood for Parliament as a Labour party candidate; bisexual French actress Sarah Bernhardt, celebrated for her decadent appeal and opium habit; and by total contrast the starchy Agnes Keyser, who founded a hospital for army officers. One of Bertie’s most intriguing liaisons was with American heiress Jennie Churchill, unhappy wife of Sir Randolph Churchill and mother of Sir Winston. While the scandals resulting from his affairs—from suicides to divorces—were a blight on the royal family, Bertie would become a surprisingly modern monarch. His major accomplishment was transforming the British monarchy into the modern institution that we know today and ensuring its survival in a period when every other European dynasty collapsed in the wake of WWI.

Shooting Victoria

Author: Paul Thomas Murphy
Publisher: Open Road Media
ISBN: 1453249370
Format: PDF, ePub
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“A fresh, lively ” perspective on Victorian England, as seen through the eight assassination attempts on Queen Victoria (Publishers Weekly, starred review). During Queen Victoria’s sixty-four years on the British throne, no fewer than eight attempts were made on her life. Seven teenage boys and one man attempted to kill her. Far from letting it inhibit her reign over the empire, Victoria used the notoriety of the attacks to her advantage. Regardless of the traitorous motives—delusions of grandeur, revenge, paranoia, petty grievances, or a preference of prison to the streets—they were a golden opportunity for the queen to revitalize the British crown, strengthen the monarchy, push through favored acts of legislation, and prove her pluck in the face of newfound public support. “It is worth being shot at,” she said, “to see how much one is loved.” Recounting what Elizabeth Barrett marveled at as “this strange mania of queen-shooting,” and the punishments, unprecedented trials, and fate of these malcontents who were more pitiable than dangerous, Paul Thomas Murphy explores the realities of life in nineteenth-century England—for both the privileged and the impoverished. From these cloak-and-dagger plots of “regicide” to Victoria’s steadfast courage, Shooting Victoria is thrilling, insightful, and, at times, completely mad historical narrative. Whether through film (Jean-Marc Vallée’s The Young Victoria), biography (Julia Baird’s Victoria: The Queen), television (Daisy Goodwin’s Victoria), or revisionist fantasy (Paul Di Filippo’s The Steampunk Trilogy) there is a strong interest in Victorian England. Now Paul Thomas Murphy approaches this period from an eccentric, entirely new, and unexplored angle, combining legal, social, and political history into a book that is both “enlightening [and] great fun” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).

Edwin Lutyens

Author: Jane Ridley
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN:
Format: PDF, ePub
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This is a biography of the greatest English architect since Christopher Wren, and an analysis of his tragic marriage. It shows a fascinating picture of Edwardian society, and the English weekend country-house party.

Brave Genius

Author: Sean B. Carroll
Publisher: Crown
ISBN: 0307952355
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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The never-before-told account of the intersection of some of the most insightful minds of the 20th century, and a fascinating look at how war, resistance, and friendship can catalyze genius. In the spring of 1940, the aspiring but unknown writer Albert Camus and budding scientist Jacques Monod were quietly pursuing ordinary, separate lives in Paris. After the German invasion and occupation of France, both men joined the Resistance to help liberate the country from the Nazis, ascended to prominent, dangerous roles, and were very lucky to survive. After the war and through twists of circumstance, they became friends, and through their passionate determination and rare talent they emerged as leading voices of modern literature and biology, each receiving the Nobel Prize in his respective field. Drawing upon a wealth of previously unpublished and unknown material gathered over several years of research, Brave Genius tells the story of how Camus and Monod endured the most terrible episode of the twentieth century and then blossomed into remarkably creative and engaged individuals. It is a story of the transformation of ordinary lives into exceptional lives by extraordinary events—of courage in the face of overwhelming adversity, the flowering of creative genius, deep friendship, and profound concern for and insight into the human condition.

Hitler s Last Secretary

Author: Traudl Junge
Publisher: Skyhorse
ISBN: 1628721618
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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A firsthand account of Adolf Hitler from the woman who worked at his side, stayed with him in the bunker, and was featured in the film Downfall. In 1942 Germany, Gertraud “Traudl” Junge was a young woman with dreams of becoming a ballerina when she was offered the chance of a lifetime. At the age of twenty-two, she became private secretary to Adolf Hitler and served him for two and a half years, right up to the very end. Junge observed the intimate workings of Hitler’s administration: She typed his correspondence and speeches—including Hitler’s public and private last will and testament—and ate her meals and spent evenings with him. She was close enough to hear the bomb intended to assassinate Hitler in the Wolf’s Lair—and to smell the bitter almond odor of Eva Braun’s cyanide pill in Hitler’s bunker and ultimate tomb. In this intimate, detailed, and chilling memoir, Junge explains what it was like to spend everyday life with a human monster.

The Woman Before Wallis

Author: Andrew Rose
Publisher: Picador
ISBN: 1250041333
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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From the glittering dance halls of Paris during World War I to the maisons de rendezvous, luxurious châteaus in the French countryside, The Woman Before Wallis recounts the untold story of Prince Edward's tempestuous affair with a Parisian courtesan and the scandalous aftermath that has remained secret until now. Prince Edward was the King of England when he famously abdicated his crown over his love for the American divorcée Wallis Simpson. But two decades earlier, he was an inexperienced young man, stationed behind the lines during World War I, socializing with the elite aristocracy of Europe while fellow soldiers were being shelled in the trenches. Gradually, the awkward young man, who was desperate to see action, became involved in a very different sort of action—when his path crossed with the queen of the Paris demimonde. Marguerite Alibert was a beautiful but tough Parisian who had fought her way up from street gamine to a woman haut de gamme, possibly the highest-ranking courtesan in Paris. She entertained some of the richest and most powerful men in the world—from princes to pashas. When the inexperienced Prince Edward was introduced to the alluring Marguerite, he was instantly smitten. After their tumultuous love affair ended, Edward thought he was free of Marguerite, but he was wrong. Several years later, Marguerite murdered her husband—a wealthy Egyptian playboy—by shooting him three times in the back at the Savoy Hotel in London. When Marguerite stood trial for murder, Edward was at risk of having his affair and behavior during the war exposed. What happened next was kept from the public for decades, uncovered thanks to exceptional access to unpublished documents held in the Royal Archives and private collections in England and France.

Gandhi Churchill

Author: Arthur Herman
Publisher: Bantam
ISBN: 055390504X
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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In this fascinating and meticulously researched book, bestselling historian Arthur Herman sheds new light on two of the most universally recognizable icons of the twentieth century, and reveals how their forty-year rivalry sealed the fate of India and the British Empire. They were born worlds apart: Winston Churchill to Britain’s most glamorous aristocratic family, Mohandas Gandhi to a pious middle-class household in a provincial town in India. Yet Arthur Herman reveals how their lives and careers became intertwined as the twentieth century unfolded. Both men would go on to lead their nations through harrowing trials and two world wars—and become locked in a fierce contest of wills that would decide the fate of countries, continents, and ultimately an empire. Gandhi & Churchill reveals how both men were more alike than different, and yet became bitter enemies over the future of India, a land of 250 million people with 147 languages and dialects and 15 distinct religions—the jewel in the crown of Britain’s overseas empire for 200 years. Over the course of a long career, Churchill would do whatever was necessary to ensure that India remain British—including a fateful redrawing of the entire map of the Middle East and even risking his alliance with the United States during World War Two. Mohandas Gandhi, by contrast, would dedicate his life to India’s liberation, defy death and imprisonment, and create an entirely new kind of political movement: satyagraha, or civil disobedience. His campaigns of nonviolence in defiance of Churchill and the British, including his famous Salt March, would become the blueprint not only for the independence of India but for the civil rights movement in the U.S. and struggles for freedom across the world. Now master storyteller Arthur Herman cuts through the legends and myths about these two powerful, charismatic figures and reveals their flaws as well as their strengths. The result is a sweeping epic of empire and insurrection, war and political intrigue, with a fascinating supporting cast, including General Kitchener, Rabindranath Tagore, Franklin Roosevelt, Lord Mountbatten, and Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. It is also a brilliant narrative parable of two men whose great successes were always haunted by personal failure, and whose final moments of triumph were overshadowed by the loss of what they held most dear. From the Hardcover edition.