To many Queen Victoria was a ruler shrouded in myth and mystique, portrayed as an aging, stiff widow. But in truth Britain’s longest-reigning monarch was passionate, expressive, humorous, and unconventional.
A. N. Wilson’s exhaustively researched and definitive biography includes a wealth of new material from previously unseen sources, showing us Queen Victoria as she’s never been seen before. Wilson explores the circumstances that led to Victoria’s coronation, her isolated childhood, her passionate marriage to Prince Albert, and her widowhood, all set against the backdrop of this momentous epoch in world history.
©2015 A.N. Wilson (P)2015 Oakhill Publishing
"[A] splendid biography--this book is a gem: thoughtful, witty, insightful, striking a balance between political commentary and personal gossip.... As this terrific biography shows, there really was a human being behind the gloomy portraits." (Dominic Sandbrook, Evening Standard)
"Subtle, thoughtful...a shimmering and rather wonderful biography." (Kathryn Hughes, Guardian)
"Wilson is affectionately alert to the rich contradictions of his subject's personality, and his deliciously readable biography becomes increasingly fascinating as Victoria's reign unfolds." (Jane Shilling, Daily Mail Book of the Week)
"Wilson is an excellent history teacher. He orders and narrates the hugely complex socio-political events and party infighting of the 19th century with a rare clarity.... His own achievement, sustained by a lifetime's scholarly fascination with the Victorian era, is also in its way, awesome." (John Sutherland, Financial Times)
"A. N. Wilson has written a sympathetic but by no means hagiographic biography of her that will probably overturn many people's prejudiced conception of her.... Wilson's picture of her is a rounded one, with her vices and virtues." (Theodore Dalrymple, The Times)
Avid reader of history, biography, and true crime.
I have nothing but the highest praise for this biography. Victoria and her reign are interesting, of course, but Wilson's scholarship and writing are exemplary and bring the Queen and her family and household right into your life. Whether you know the story of Victoria or are new to her or to English history, this book is essential. Just read it!
"Ambitious biography - absorbing listen"
One can only admire the scholarship and research that the author must have undertaken to write this biography. The author is also to be praised for his distance from his subject which allows him to present her in a fair way - non-judgemental. The downside is the fact that Victoria reigned for so many years and during her reign England changed at a phenomenal pace from a relatively rural country with a few highly developed towns into a network of ever-expanding urban developments, such that it is hard to write her biography without making choices as to what to develop and what to gloss over so that inevitably some readers might feel there are gaps. At the same time England was involved in overseas expansion and becoming one of the most powerful imperialist nations and throughout her reign Britain was more or less involved in military action on various scales - skirmishes to wars. The Irish question was another burning topic in the later years of her reign and also the growth of a labour movement. Meanwhile Victoria was also a private person with a large family and her relations by ties of marriage to other crowned heads of Europe was very extensive. The author has such a wealth of material it is perhaps overambitious to write a chronological biography of such a figure. Considering how daunting the task is A.N. Wilson has done a masterly job. I felt rather frustrated at times because some subjects had to be glossed over to keep the book to a manageable length. I think I would prefer books that take a more single subject focus such as Victoria's private life or Victoria and her Prime Ministers.
On the whole I would reccommend this book to anyone with some prior knowledge of the socio-political background to the era but it might be rather arduous for someone who is ignorant of the period.
"Inspiring and edifying"
An excellent biography and reading of Queen Victoria addressing the many aspects of her life and reign.
Well read throughout.
"Myth buster history"
This gives an insight into the myth of the widow of Windsor. A much more complex and far less benign person than folklore would have us believe. A very detailed history of the turbulent times as well as the personal history of Victoria. It makes you glad to call yourself an Elizabethan!
"Victoria and her times in history"
Well written and well read fascinating account of the life and times of Queen Victoria.
"Boring and very disappointing"
Was really looking forward to this book but instead of focusing on her life it was detail-less and generic. The speaker read in a monotone and it made me fall asleep and lose where I was. Didn't even finish it.
Don't bother with this. Some excellent historical biographies out there. This wasn't one of them alas.
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