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The Queen: A Life in Brief Paperback – May 15, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (May 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062124463
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062124463
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,074,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Lacey employs a meticulous, fluid writing style that steers clear of tabloid-type sensationalism for a restrained, dignified approach and a level of intimacy with more than a few emotional peaks.” (Publishers Weekly)

About the Author

Robert Lacey is a British historian known for his original research and his close investigation of his subjects. He is the author of several international bestsellers, including The Kingdom, Great Tales from English History, and Monarch, which was the basis for Peter Morgan's Oscar-winning movie, The Queen. He lives in London.


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More About the Author

The Queen - A Life in Brief.

I have been writing about the Queen now for nearly forty years, and this little book is intended to distil and re-shape what I've learned into one pleasant afternoon's reading - a summary of its predecessors Majesty (1977) and Monarch (2002, Royal in the UK), with further research and thoughts on Elizabeth II in the year of her Diamond Jubilee.

'Lege feliciter', as the Venerable Bede used to say - May you read happily!

- Robert Lacey, January 2012 - http://robertlacey.com

Robert Lacey is an historian and biographer whose research has taken him from the Middle East ("The Kingdom: Arabia and the House of Saud") to America's Mid-West ("Ford: the Men and the Machine"). "Majesty", his pioneering biography of Queen Elizabeth II, is the definitive study of British monarchy - a subject on which Robert lectures around the world, appearing regularly on ABC's Good Morning America and on CNN's Larry King Live.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By takingadayoff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
Yes, it's short, the title is The Queen: A Life in Brief. Author Robert Lacey tells us up front that it's an introduction to the Queen and her family and it's meant to be read in a single afternoon, a few hours at most. He's written longer, more detailed books about the Royal Family, and this 157-page book is based on that earlier research.

In advance of the Diamond Jubilee, I wanted to read one book about the Queen, but I didn't care about a lot of detail, and I definitely did not want a fawning hagiography. This book was just the ticket.

We get a quick bio of the Queen and even quicker profiles of her immediate family. There's not a lot of gossip, because when it comes to the Queen herself, there isn't any. On the other hand, her family is a wealth of scandal and gossip, and Charles, in particular, gets a rough ride in this book, but not undeserved.

Despite the brief nature of the book, there is enough here to make some interesting observations about the Queen. You would think that in 21st century Britain, it would not be important for the monarch to have leadership skills. And Elizabeth doesn't have any. If she leads at all (and constitutionally, she really can't), it's only by example. So when the public were outraged that she failed to show an adequate amount of public grief over Diana's death, she took Tony Blair's and Alistair Campbell's advice to go on television. And when her children fail to imitate her conservative and scandal-free lifestyle, she finds herself powerless.

There are plenty of photos and Lacey has accomplished his goal of providing this reader, at least, of a single afternoon's pleasant reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lynne Perednia VINE VOICE on July 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
For years she was mocked as a frumpy housewife with a tiara and diamonds, or headscarf and horses (and those damned Corgis). Then, her family fell apart in a series of embarrassing revelations and antics, and part of one of her favorite homes burned. A decade later, she's the nation's granny.

And having just celebrated her Diamond Jubilee for 50 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth appears to have weathered it all far better than many would have guessed during the most turbulent years of her reign.

Robert Lacey, who has written two full-length and detailed biographies of the queen, culls some of the interesting tidbits and highlights from both for The Queen. It's a souvenir book with photographs that is portable, rather than coffee-table size. The depth of reporting is to be expected for a book meant to be read in an evening.

But it is a handy reference. The opening section covers the years when Elizabeth was a princess not expected to become a queen. Lacey brings her status in those years into focus by comparing her to Beatrice, the oldest daughter of Prince Andrew. When her uncle abdicated the throne and her beloved father became King George VI, Lillibet apparently was a natural at learning duty. As a teen, she decided Philip was her fellow and, regardless of what he's done in the years since, has remained steadfast. As a young mother and the monarch who denied her sister her first choice in marriage, it's apparent that duty once again was foremost.

Later sections of the book spend more time chronicling the mood swings of the nation regarding the monarchy and the foibles of Elizabeth's children. There is much here for Diana-philes as well as those who have moved on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Raven on July 5, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having followed the monarchy I was surprised how little I actually knew about the Queen's life. I thought this book was very informative and a short-enough read that it only took a few days of casual reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Austinite B on June 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Why are people knocking this book for its size, when the title says it's a "life in brief?" In any event, this is a lovely book. He's respectful of the Queen's position without being obsequious and I finished it thinking Americans could do with someone like this, who stands outside of politics, who is a figure of constancy and tradition. That'll never happen, and it's fine, but you can read it and better understand the thoughts and feelings behind those who are pro-Monarchy.

I enjoyed his assessments of the characters in her life and I'd like to read more written by him. Five stars!
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