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Publisher's Summary

A meticulously researched historical tour de force about the secret ties among Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, the Duke of Windsor, and Adolf Hitler before, during, and after World War II.

Andrew Morton tells the story of the feckless Edward VIII, later Duke of Windsor; his American wife, Wallis Simpson; the bizarre wartime Nazi plot to make him a puppet king after the invasion of Britain; and the attempted cover-up by Churchill, General Eisenhower, and King George VI of the Duke's relations with Hitler. From the alleged affair between Simpson and the German foreign minister to the discovery of top-secret correspondence about the man dubbed "the traitor king" and the Nazi high command, this is a saga of intrigue, betrayal, and deception suffused with a heady aroma of sex and suspicion.

For the first time, Morton reveals the full story behind the cover-up of those damning letters and diagrams: the daring heist ordered by King George VI, the smooth duplicity of a Soviet spy, as well as the bitter rows and recriminations among the British and American diplomats, politicians, and academics.

Drawing on FBI documents, exclusive pictures, and material from the German, Russian, and British royal archives as well as the personal correspondence of Churchill, Eisenhower, and the Windsors themselves, 17 Carnations is a dazzling historical drama, full of adventure, intrigue, and startling revelations, written by a master of the genre.

©2015 Andrew Morton (P)2015 Hachette Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Dangerous fools

Any additional comments?

I have read several books about Edward VIII and can only think that the world has much to thank his unsuitable wife for. She saved us from having Edward as king at a time when Britain was in dire peril, and as a result we had George VI and then our present queen. Edward should have been tried for treason, whether his actions were the result of sheer stupidity or evil intent, for others who did less and had less influence were executed after the war. Wallis was a selfish, social-climbing hedonist who expected to be treated as royalty at a time when the British were near starving and being bombed daily. They were both used as patsies by Hitler, and seemed oblivious to the damage they did in fawning over him. I think a firing squad would have been too good for them and I applaud the royal family for consistently refusing to pander to them. Andrew Morton did a reasonable job with the book, but I certainly would have liked more information about how the Duke got away with it.

33 of 35 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Very Interesting

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. It was fascinating to me to learn about how perilously close Great Britain was to falling under Nazi influence and how Edward and Wallis might have helped that along.

What was one of the most memorable moments of 17 Carnations?

I was most interested in learning about how much Edward and Wallis still craved the prestige and power or royalty even after he had made the decision to abdicate and how his naive attempts to remain a player put the world in jeopardy.

Which character – as performed by James Langton – was your favorite?

N/A, since this is not a work of fiction.

Any additional comments?

Sometimes, it was hard to follow the array of people mentioned in this book. There were so many players with long (and sometimes multiple) titles that it became difficult at times to recognize who was who and just how many people we were hearing about in a passage. I think that would have been tough to follow in print as well, but in print, we have the ability to easily thumb back to other passages or use an index. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this work and was glad to hear this perspective on Edward and Wallis.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Boomer
  • Powellville GA
  • 03-22-15

Extremely interesting

Everything about this book was interesting. I knew so little about the subject matter. The reading performance was wonderful. This book took me back to that time. So glad I read it.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Behind the gossip of a famous love story

Would you consider the audio edition of 17 Carnations to be better than the print version?

Probably--the performer was excellent and the English accent added to the characterization of the story.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Wallis Simpson is fascinating because it is not clear whether she was very clever and plotting, or just a woman who did not know better.

What does James Langton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He brought character to the book.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was astounded by Edward and Wallis' relationship to the Nazis and how Edward was willing to sacrifice his own country in order to follow Hitler's agenda for "peace".
And I felt bad about how Edward was rejected by his family after he abdicated and married Wallis.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Interesting facts, well researched

It appears to have been well researched and written with respect given to the current monarchy. Entertaining as well, definitely not boring! Gives me an appetite to read some pertinent autobiographies. I enjoyed it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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things to know about a controversial couple

Would you listen to 17 Carnations again? Why?

yes, the narration is interesting and never bores the listener

What other book might you compare 17 Carnations to and why?

I haven't read any alike -

Which scene was your favorite?

The moment Wallis lived in London and how she manage to be with lovers and husband, how part of the society supported her.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The woman who played chess with power

Any additional comments?

A witty narration , elegant , without hurt anybody but telling the truth about a love story with treason , a thriller .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Not What I Expected

It appeared there was "much ado about nothing" and I sat listening for the big burst of information and it was really a lot of nothing. I was disappointed that there was nothing said about the Duke and Duchess after this crisis passed...Just that they died and are together in the family cemetery. Wholly unsatisfying part of history of which I am interested: not sure if it was just lack of real facts, the storytelling, or what.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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nothing new here

What would have made 17 Carnations better?

less speculation, more new info. (if there is any.) this is a poor rehash of many books and articles. do not waste your money

What could Andrew Morton have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

he could have stopped at page 1

What didn’t you like about James Langton’s performance?

dull

What character would you cut from 17 Carnations?

andrew morton

14 of 27 people found this review helpful

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Treason

A well written review of known history, contemporary gossip, and a certain amount of creative filling-in of what will never be known. In comparison with other works, such as “Princes at War,” this volume covers the behavior of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor during the decade from the Abdication to the post-war period. The portrait of the couple conforms with that obtained from other contemporary sources. These are two truly vile people trapped in an empty maze of their own making. Their personal Hell is eclipsed only by the damage both wrought to the English cause before World War 2 and in its early stages. Treason is a kind term for what David, Duke of Windsor, did in 1940 through 1942. The idea that his brother, George VI and Churchill both protected him long after his betrayal became clear, is the supreme irony of the story. The latter chapters detailing the effort of the British to efface the historical record of Windsor’s courtship of the Nazis add a note of absurdity to an increasingly shabby tale. A very readable review of history for those watching “The Crown” on TV.

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Repetitious

This book is hard to follow as an audio book.
It seems to jump around then go back to what he has told us before then explain parts that have no real connection to the Windsor’s and the actual story.
By the end we were ready to finish it.