- Gebundene Ausgabe: 651 Seiten
- Verlag: John Wiley & Sons (1. September 1997)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 047119431X
- ISBN-13: 978-0471194316
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 16 x 5 x 24 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 3.274.992 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
The Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth II (Englisch) Gebundenes Buch – 1. September 1997
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Elizabeth II has quietly become one of the longest-reigning monarchs in English history. Future historians will sort out her impact on British life and politics, but until then Ben Pimlott offers a good summation of her first seven decades. He succeeds in making the monarch seem like a living, breathing person, as opposed to the emotionless figure that she is sometimes made out to be in the media. And her long-lasting public life is much more eventful and interesting than it might seem at first glance. Intrusions into royal privacy, for example, are hardly an invention of the paparazzi. In addition to an interesting biography, The Queen provides a useful introduction to British politics in the second half of the 20th century.
A Biography of Elizabeth II
She is the fifth longest reigning monarch in British history, and one of the most famous people in the world. Yet, despite a life lived at the center of the international stage, Elizabeth II remains an enigma. What kind of person is she? What does she stand for? How has she adapted to her role—if at all? How does she cope with problems that threaten the survival of the monarchy itself? Now, in the most authoritative and probing biography of Queen Elizabeth to date, one of Britain's most distinguished biographers and political historians reveals the sometimes surprising answers.
In The Queen, Ben Pimlott creates a richly detailed, compelling portrayal of Elizabeth II—the individual, the institution, and the icon. Written with the cooperation of Buckingham Palace, this distinguished biography is enriched by unprecedented access to government and palace archives, as well as interviews with dozens of persons close to the queen, including Princess Margaret; the archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Runcie; Lord Charteris, the queen's longtime private secretary; and Hardy Amies, the royal dressmaker, and by access to the private diaries of Jock Colville, who served as private secretary to both the queen and Winston Churchill. The result is a penetrating examination that goes far beyond the typical royal biography.
With the same sharp historical focus he brought to his acclaimed portrait of Harold Wilson, Pimlott reveals how Elizabeth's image has been manufactured and manipulated from her earliest childhood to suit the need of government. He explores the social, political, and psychological influences that shaped the queen's personality and the ideas she represents. Pimlott brings an illuminating perspective to the queen's relationship with her prime ministers, and he offers an intriguing view of the phenomenon of the monarchy itself—and of its future.
Beginning in 1926, the year of Elizabeth's birth—and Britain's infamous General Strike—and continuing all the way into the era of Di and Fergie, this masterfully written account of the very public life of a very private woman is a fascinating, at times provocative, and vastly entertaining book. It is candid, respectful, intelligent, and certain to win admiration for both the author and his royal subject.
"There will not be a better royal biography for many years."— The Daily Telegraph (London).
"[Pimlott] has succeeded triumphantly. . . . He has written a book that can be enjoyed and admired by people who would never have imagined reading any previous royal biography." —The Independent (London).
"An important and stimulating book." —Antonia Fraser author of Mary, Queen of Scots in The Guardian (London).Alle Produktbeschreibungen
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Ben Pimlott was "absolutely a patriot", his wife declared to the press following his death at age 58, almost a year ago, (he died on April 10, 2004, the day before Easter), after a short travail with leukemia. "He wanted, and believed, that the world and Britain could be a better place and that Goldsmiths could be a better place, and that poor people ought to have a brilliant university." Stumbling on his obituaries, I've become enamored with his life's work, (although short), and impressed with how well he was thought of; so many people were saddened by his passing. He was Warden of Goldsmiths University of London at the time. He had attended Oxford University when Bill Clinton was then a student there for one year. Professor Ken O Morgan wrote of him in an obituary that "he was one of the most important historians ever of the British left". Poor Brit, he was born on the fourth of July!
Ben Pimlott wrote two other biographies before The Queen, one about Hugh Dalton, another Labour leader who was Chancellor during WWII and also son of Queen Victoria's chaplain, and Harold Wilson, who was prime minister and also of the Labour party. He also edited and made available to the public Hugh Dalton's private diaries. He was somewhat apprehensive about writing this book, anticipating criticism from his colleagues.
Her Majesty invited Ben Pimlott over to Windsor Castle while he was writing this book, but interestingly, the book's contents were not discussed; he was merely invited over, I assume, for tea and a nice chat. In writing this book, he interviewed several former prime ministers, Princess Margaret, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Runcie. He used The diaries of Jock Colville, Queen Elizabeth's and Churchill's private secretary for source material. The Telegraph noted that he wrote this book to "examine constitutional issues such as the royal prerogative, her relationships with her prime ministers and her role as Head of the Commonwealth. These were matters which had tended to become obscured by the scandals and the gossip which were increasingly the preoccupation of some sections of the media." In 2002, he gave a lecture on the monarchy at St. Paul's Cathedral. This past January at Goldsmiths, the Ben Pimlott building was dedicated.
I write all the above about Ben Pimlott to suggest that this is the definitive biography of Her Majesty, the queen. It is a rather lengthy one about a rather lengthy reign. Ben Pimlott's treatment of her life is extremely thorough; the many chapters' headings are years. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Her Majesty's childhood; I also knew precious little about the majority of her life. She was one of King George V's favorite grandchildren. She did not have the typical childhood friends when she was little. She had her sister Margaret, of course, but of other childhood friends, she had mostly visitors. She and her sister were babysat on occasion of the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain's, dubbed the "evil envoy" by the public, visit to her father the King by Rose Kennedy, the ambassador's wife. She was closest in age to Ted and Jean of this Kennedy clan. Other Americans became enamored with her, most notably Harry Truman. No telling how many hands she has shaken or people she has met the world over. My mother tells me that everyone has often commented that she is more beautiful in person, more beautiful than the best photos or portraits of her. A British aquaintance of mine who has met the Queen told me that "she's only 5 feet tall, you know", yet he is more than 6 feet tall, as Pimlott was, which accounts for his inaccuracy; she is actually 5'4".
I had hoped to learn more about how the Sovereign's power has been diminished by, I assume, Parliament, and to understand more just how different America's structure of government is from the British system, but, again, that is subject material for other books. I had come to the conclusion in the 90's that the Queen should be taxed like everyone else, makes sense to Americans, yet King George V had always urged the Windsor family not to give in to these parliamentary demands, demands that, in the 90's had reached such a pitch and fervor, that the monarch, finally, acquiesced which Pimlott reveals. Another biographer of royalist sentiments is Kenneth Rose who wrote a book on King George V who Pimlott mentions now and then. When I read in Rose's book the chapter on Constitutional Monarchy, I was so shocked that I couldn't finish the chapter or the book, (it was actually a difficult, but substantive, chapter to read). Didn't we Americans get rid of the king to get the Constitution? How can there be a king and a constitution at the same time??? Anyway, the one thing that enamours me to the queen is that she studied constitutional issues, long before she ever ascended the throne. What a smart monarch! (I'm afraid I'm fast becoming a royalist, how unamerican of me!) Anyway, CHEERS, and GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!