In this magisterial new biography, New York Times best-selling author Sally Bedell Smith brings to life one of the world’s most fascinating and enigmatic women: Queen Elizabeth II.
From the moment of her ascension to the throne in 1952 at the age of twenty-five, Queen Elizabeth II has been the object of unparalleled scrutiny. But through the fog of glamour and gossip, how well do we really know the world’s most famous monarch? Drawing on numerous interviews and never-before-revealed documents, acclaimed biographer Sally Bedell Smith pulls back the curtain to show in intimate detail the public and private lives of Queen Elizabeth II, who has led her country and Commonwealth through the wars and upheavals of the last sixty years with unparalleled composure, intelligence, and grace.
In Elizabeth the Queen, we meet the young girl who suddenly becomes “heiress presumptive” when her uncle abdicates the throne. We meet the thirteen-year-old Lilibet as she falls in love with a young navy cadet named Philip and becomes determined to marry him, even though her parents prefer wealthier English aristocrats. We see the teenage Lilibet repairing army trucks during World War II and standing with Winston Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on V-E Day. We see the young Queen struggling to balance the demands of her job with her role as the mother of two young children. Sally Bedell Smith brings us inside the palace doors and into the Queen’s daily routines - the “red boxes” of documents she reviews each day, the weekly meetings she has had with twelve prime ministers, her physically demanding tours abroad, and the constant scrutiny of the press - as well as her personal relationships: with Prince Philip, her husband of sixty-four years and the love of her life; her children and their often-disastrous marriages; her grandchildren and friends.
©2011 Sally Bedell Smith (P)2011 Random House Audio
“She was so young, and the task was so enormous. Yet with grace and a determination to do her duty come what may - and so much has indeed come - Elizabeth II studiously made herself part of the fabric of global civilization in the most tumultuous of times. This is a terrific book about a fascinating figure.” (Jon Meacham)
Overall, I liked this, although for me, the British narration was a little hard to take, but I am American and don't talk that way. The story begins with Queen Elizabeth's birth and does a great job of presenting the background which played into the kind of Queen Elizabeth became. My only complaint is that the book tries overly hard to paint a better than deserved picture of various members of the Royal Family and less than favorable of others, but I think that is to be expected. I liked the book and would recommend to others.
This book presented the Queen not as a person, as I had hoped, but as a mythical figure, perfect in every way . I was drawn to finish it, but regret having wasted the time.
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I am about 1/3 through and so far I am a bit bored.
Hopefully it'll get juicier when we get to the 80s...
Glad I am done, it was not that interesting overall.
This was well written and interesting to read. I enjoyed getting to know the historic influences on the monarchy and the way it has changed in just this one lifetime. This is a much better book than the one by Sarah Bradford, even though they deal with the same subject matter.
Elizabeth as a paper doll. Idealized. flat portrait of a complicated person. Stopped in the middle and erased.
J.F., CA. I am a voracious "bookaholic" who enjoys many different genres. I am often listening to/reading multiple books at the same time.
First of all this book is fairly boring. I agree with the reviewer that called this book a long PR statement. The queen is portrayed as a one dimensional caricature. It almost seem like the writer was afraid to present all sides of this lady. I have no doubt she is a disciplined and remarkable woman but to present her as perfect or near perfect is ludicrous. The people that were considered anti-establishment like Princess Diana were also presented in a one dimensional way - completely in a negative light. I cannot say I came away with any new insights in the queen and regretted wasting my credit. The narrator also has a monotone way of speaking.
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