Victoria the Queen

Victoria the Queen

An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled An Empire

Book - 2016
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A magnificent biography of Queen Victoria by International New York Times columnist Julia Baird. Drawing on previously unpublished papers, 'Victoria: The Queen' is a stunning new portrait of the real woman behind the myth--a story of love and heartbreak, of devotion and grief, of strength and resilience. When Victoria was born, in 1819, the world was a very different place. Revolution would begin to threaten many of Europe's monarchies in the coming decades. In Britain, a generation of royals had indulged their whims at the public's expense, and republican sentiment was growing. The Industrial Revolution was transforming the landscape, and the British Empire was commanding ever larger parts of the globe. Born into a world where woman were often powerless, during a century roiling with change, Victoria went on to rule the most powerful country on earth with a decisive hand. Fifth in line to the throne at the time of her birth, Victoria was an ordinary woman thrust into an extraordinary role. As a girl, she defied her mother's meddling and an adviser's bullying, forging an iron will of her own. As a teenage queen, she eagerly grasped the crown and relished the freedom it brought her. At twenty , she fell passionately in love with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, eventually giving birth to nine children. She loved sex and delighted in power. She was outspoken with her ministers, overstepping boundaries and asserting her opinions. After the death of her adored Albert, she began a controversial, intimate relationship with her servant John Brown. She survived eight assassination attempts over the course of her lifetime. And as science, technology, and democracy were dramatically reshaping the world, Victoria was a symbol of steadfastness and security--queen of a quarter of the world's population at the height of the British Empire's reach. Drawing on sources that include fresh revelations about Victoria's relationship with John Brown, Julia Baird brings vividly to life the fascinating story of a woman who struggled with so many of the things we do today: balancing work and family, raising children, navigating marital strife, losing parents, combating anxiety and self-doubt, finding an identity, searching for meaning. This sweeping, page-turning biography gives us the real woman behind the myth: a bold, glamorous, unbreakable queen--a Victoria for our times, a Victoria who endured.--Jacket.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2016]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781400069880
1400069882
Branch Call Number: 941.081092 V6661B 2016
Characteristics: xlvii, 696 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps ; 25 cm

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swagonrabeettt
Jul 17, 2017

Very enlightening. Much more focused on her private life, but also included many important references to topical events during her reign. Some insight into the privilege and selfishness of rulers of that time, and their almost total lack of sympathy for their subjects as a whole.
While Victoria seemed to be able to relate to suffering on an individual level, she was seemingly oblivious to the suffering of great masses of the populace and was not progressive in terms of reform in any way.
This book also enlightens one as to the true character of her first, and seemingly most beloved Prime Minister. He was extremely self-involved and cared nothing for improving the lot of the people over which he ruled. His influence over the young Victoria cannot be understated, and is to be lamented. If not for Victoria's marriage to Albert, her subjects would have been far worse off, for he was the true progressive in the picture. Unfortunately he was the opposite of her in temperament and stamina. Had he lived, England would have been much better off much sooner.
Most amazing: As a woman and ultimate ruler, Victoria was vehemently against women's suffrage, and repeatedly stated her view that it was improper for women to have a say in government (or much else for that matter). She was not maternal at all, although she had nine children, and if you want to read some sad stories, look to the biographies of her offspring. The most interesting of which is that of her eldest daughter, who was extremely intelligent and very well educated. She would have made a great ruler, but was relegated to a backwater German state where she was disliked and made miserable. Being royal isn't always what it's cracked up to be.

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lcassity
Apr 12, 2017

I've read several books on Victoria and this period in English history. My interest in this book was piqued by the PBS movie by the same name. I enjoyed the personalization of the queen and the people around her.

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glenneaton
Feb 18, 2017

This book was thoroughly enjoyable. It begins with a "list of characters" amongst maps and the family tree which suggests a play; and that's the way it was written.

The style keeps the reader interested; plus the extensive background to the age helps understanding of why the characters did what they did.

Making the book interesting was the extensive background provided about the Victorian times.

A recent documentary Queen Victoria's Children paints Victoria in a very dim light regarding her children. However in this book we learn that Victoria was fond of her children but refused to breast feed them as was common for the wealthy classes of the day. Her daughters were different here as well as in many other things including one who became an accomplished sculptor.

Victoria had a strong interest in politics, although when Albert was around this seems to have waned.

Overall an excellent and enjoyable read. Highly recommended.

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glenneaton
Feb 07, 2017

glenneaton thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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Victoria grappled with many of the matters women do today - managing uneven relationships, placating resentful spouses, trying to raise decent children, battling bouts of insecurity and depression, spending years recovering from childbirth, yearning for a lost love, sinking into the strength of another when we want to hide from the world, longing to make independent decisions about our own lives and the shape the world we live in..

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