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King Edward VIII: A Life Paperback – January 13, 1992

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 620 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (January 13, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345375637
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345375636
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,279,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By E Ricad on March 29, 2010
The only great-grandchild ever born as the direct heir of the reigning British Monarch, Prince Edward of York (known as David) lived under constant pressure and scrutiny from the time he was a little boy. A bright and engaging child, he seemed to never live up to the demands of his father, who despite having had a carefree and relaxed childhood, was a stern and sometimes cruel parent, driving a permanent wedge between him and his eldest son. David feared his father, and preferred spending time with his indulgent grandparents, the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra), or his mother, who unlike his father, was affectionate with her son.
David grew up a complex man. He was a humanitarian who cared about the plight of the poor, a good speaker, a loving son, husband, and brother, and was intensely loyal to his friends, but had the ability to hold grudges for a lifetime. He hated school, and was only moderately educated as best. He deeply felt the plight of the poor and the veterans of World War One, always doing his utmost to try and advance their causes. He was also reactionary, hating what he saw as the destruction of the Victorian society he had grown up in. He wanted to do his best for his country, but abdicated the throne as World War Two loomed over Europe and constantly badgered the government over trivial matters during the depths of the war. He married for love, but never understood his family's hatred and confusion after he shirked what had been his duty since the day he was born.
One gets the impression that David was at his height during his years as the Prince of Wales, and fell after the abdication. Without a constant circuit of speeches, meetings, and parties, he didn't know what to do with himself.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By keetmom on November 11, 2011
The story of Edward VIII, the man born to rule an empire, with matinee idol looks and great personal charm, is a tragic one. And in the best tragic tradition, the seeds of destruction are sown by the individual himself. The person who eventually emerges from behind the glamour, the playboy lifestyle and the grand ceremonial is a truly pathetic creature - willful, insecure and totally self absorbed. A man less suitable for the role he was born to is hard to imagine. Christened Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David (but known as David by the inner circle), the young prince's life proved as complicated as his name. He endured a harsh childhood pretty well (the exploitation of a more vulnerable younger brother was clearly one of his coping mechanisms) and began his public career as Prince of Wales with great flair. But then it all went wrong. The story is a sad, familiar one. It is easy to blame Mrs Simpson, the domineering divorcee from Baltimore, but Ziegler is very fair to her, avoiding the salacious gossip that other writers have been happy to detail. The Prince's life was an artificial one from the start and gave him little with which to build meaningful emotional attachments later. Dutiful by day, but free to follow the most indulgent life style by night, little wonder that things spun out of control. More recent writings suggest there was serious mental instability. Left to ponder what might have been after giving up his throne for "the woman he loved" who in return bullied and humiliated him, madness might have been inevitable for the unhappy Duke of Windsor.

Why one wonders, did the palace mandarins push for an official biography for Edward VIII and why did Zeigler take the contract?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E.S. Ivy on September 10, 2013
This is definitely a well researched book. It would be a good book to use as a source because it has lots of quotes from different people.

However, partially because of that, it's a rather difficult read. For example, to explain something the author might give quotes from half a dozen people and the reader may, or may not, know the people quoted. This makes it difficult to gauge the significance of the quotations or be able to look at them in the context of the personality of the person quoted. There are sometimes several paragraphs of this, when a summary would give the more casual reader (I've read a lot of royal history but I'm still a casual reader) a better idea of the thoughts of people at the time.

Along those lines, some fairly significant people in the history of the British royal family, such as Peter Townsend, are mentioned only in passing without giving any explanation of who they are.

This book also suffers from something that a lot of history books that cover royal history do - that of calling the same person by multiple different names! At least by this book I have learned enough to finally figure it out. Royalty can have several different titles during their lifetime. When a "historian" then writes up an account, they use the name that applies to the highest noble ranking that the person had *at the time that the event they are talking about occurred.*

For example, at the beginning of the book Queen Victoria was alive and so her oldest son was the Prince of Wales. He was just the first of four Princes of Wales in the book, including King Edward VIII (Duke of Windsor, his highest rank upon death.) This is especially confusing when a book is organized by subjects, rather than chronologically, as this one is.
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King Edward VIII: A Life
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