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The Queen Mother : the official biography
Shawcross, William.
Adult Nonfiction DA585.A2 S46 2009

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From Publishers' Weekly:

With unrestricted access to the queen mother's personal papers, letters and diaries, this respectful, mostly uncritical biography by veteran journalist Shawcross (Sideshow) focuses on the courtship of Elizabeth (1900-2002), the daughter of a Scottish earl, by the future King George VI; the shocking abdication of King Edward VIII in 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson; and WWII, when Elizabeth's narrow escape from a bomb that hit Buckingham Palace helped her commiserate with her subjects during the blitz. Throughout, the queen mother is depicted as vivacious, charming, devout and dutiful, a dedicated protector of the arts if not an intellectual, and socially conservative. Shawcross repeatedly pulls his punches when it comes to revealing the workings of Elizabeth's heart, particularly her anguish over her nemesis, Wallis Simpson, and over her role in aborting her daughter Princess Margaret's romance with the married courtier Peter Townsend. The dearth of information on the queen mother's relationship with the late Princess Diana is particularly egregious. Although readers sense some of the parade of people who crossed her path, the royal engagements that filled her calendar and the pivotal historical events that shaped her life, Shawcross delivers a disappointingly bland celebration of the queen mother. 32 pages of photos. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

This work, with royal authorization, is intended as the definitive biography of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (1900-2002), with Shawcross (Allies) granted unprecedented access to private papers. The beginning, an enchanting look at the British aristocracy prior to World War I, may be the best part. Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon turned down many proposals from King George V's second son, "Bertie," and Shawcross offers no explanation as to why she suddenly capitulated. The couple's ascent to the throne following Edward VIII's abdication changed their and their daughters' lives completely. King George VI and his queen were just what England needed during World War II: resilient and tireless. Frustratingly, Shawcross avoids a number of incidents that show the "Queen Mum" in a less than flattering light, such as the extent of her perhaps understandable vitriol regarding the Duchess of Windsor. Almost entirely missing here is Diana, Princess of Wales, though a comparison of these two women who married into royalty would have been useful. VERDICT This is very long for a fluff piece, lacking historical objectivity or analysis. It will interest Anglophiles but may disappoint some who love digging into the lives of 20th-century royals, and it will not satisfy serious readers of history. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/09.]-B. Allison Gray, Santa Barbara Lib. Syst., Goleta, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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