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The Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth II Hardcover – September 11, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0471194316 ISBN-10: 047119431X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 696 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (September 11, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047119431X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471194316
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,045,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Elizabeth II has quietly become one of the longest-reigning monarchs in English history. Future historians will sort out her impact on British life and politics, but until then Ben Pimlott offers a good summation of her first seven decades. He succeeds in making the monarch seem like a living, breathing person, as opposed to the emotionless figure that she is sometimes made out to be in the media. And her long-lasting public life is much more eventful and interesting than it might seem at first glance. Intrusions into royal privacy, for example, are hardly an invention of the paparazzi. In addition to an interesting biography, The Queen provides a useful introduction to British politics in the second half of the 20th century.

From Library Journal

There are a number of good biographies of Elizabeth II, but this one is different. Pimlott is primarily a political biographer, and while other works have focused on Elizabeth the woman, he goes further, exploring the role of the queen and how the events of the past few decades have changed it. Is the monarch just a figurehead, or are there specific governmental actions she can take? How did the royal family lose its privacy, along with much public respect? Pimlott tackles these questions and other historical, psychological, and sociological issues surrounding the queen and her family. This well-documented, compelling look at the British monarchy will be appreciated by readers seriously interested in Britain's heritage and future.?Katharine Garstka, Intergraph Corp., Huntsville, Ala.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Laurel Edwards on December 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
With the Constitutionally-mandated reduction in the sovereign's power in the past hundred years, it's easy to see the Queen of England as a figurehead. A mascot, if you will, whose only powers are to be advised and to consent. A study of Ben Pimlott's nearly seven hundred pages will teach you why this has happened, particularly in the last nearly fifty years.
The Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth II is something of an oddity in today's world--a study of the political power the monarch still holds and how that power has been wielded (or not) during the current reign. It's fascinating, and in a world filled with tawdry junk bios about the private lives of the Royal Family, this factual reference book is a gem.
It's true the Queen commands less politically than any of her predecessors, but that's more her own fault than anyone else's. She appears to have CHOSEN, for some reason known only to her, to reign but not rule. Even her father, George VI, that most dutiful of monarchs, often made important decisions in critical situations---and no one questioned him because he was the King. His daughter has spent her reign, since 1952, playing it safe, never pushing the Constitutional line between Sovereign and Government. Because the line's never been pushed by the Queen, the Government has encroached ever more obviously onto what was once unquestionably the Monarch's territory.
It would be difficult for the Queen to push back now; she's already given up too much. It will be nearly impossible for the next monarch (most likely Prince Charles) to recover lost ground; he will most likely be only a ceremonial king, in the manner of the Danes and Swedes.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Scamp Lumm on March 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Her Majesty's immediate family, her mother, also Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mum, her father, King George VI, and her sister Margaret, were considered the "family of families" by the British public throughout King George VI's reign, particularly during the War years of 1939-1945. When Ben Pimlott wrote this book in 1996 the year of Her Majesty's 70th birthday, the Royal family's reputation was beseiged during a time when (British, I assume, anti-monarchical) republicanism was at its height and on the rise. However, during the first decades of Queen Elizabeth II's lengthy reign, the publics' feelings on the monarchy were unquestionably favorable which you'll understand by reading the book. Millions the world over watched Her Majesty's wedding, (when she was still a Princess), and later her coronation; for many people, it was the first time they had ever watched television. So Ben Pimlott writes in his Preface that his book "is a book about the Queen in people's heads, as well as at Buckingham Palace".

Ben Pimlott was "absolutely a patriot", his wife declared to the press following his death at age 58, almost a year ago, (he died on April 10, 2004, the day before Easter), after a short travail with leukemia. "He wanted, and believed, that the world and Britain could be a better place and that Goldsmiths could be a better place, and that poor people ought to have a brilliant university." Stumbling on his obituaries, I've become enamored with his life's work, (although short), and impressed with how well he was thought of; so many people were saddened by his passing. He was Warden of Goldsmiths University of London at the time. He had attended Oxford University when Bill Clinton was then a student there for one year.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By henryraddick@hotmail.com on April 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Ben Pimlot provides a fascinating insight into the head of the House of Windsor. This excellent biography explores the public life of the British sovereign and also reveals a poignant picture of the private life of the monarch. She is a woman of wit and humour with the common touch which endears her to the world; witness her fondness for rough cider and bawdy humour and her enduring interest in the British mod scooter scene. A welcome addition to coffee table or serious library alike, this book just keeps cranking out the laughs.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Finally a biography without the usual endearing anecdotes. This is a well-written and detailed account of the life and duties of Elizabeth II. I have a better grasp of the political role of the Queen.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By K. Coscino on March 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
...lots of interesting, to-be-expected historical facts, dates, names, places, political intrigue, etc. (this is NOT a short book), but numerous anecdotes turned what could otherwise have been a dry historical narrative into a really enjoyable read---everyday life stories, palace gossip, and comical happenings of the Family Royal---examples: Queen Mary used to refer to granddaughter QE2 as "the little bambino"...and, though the death of Edward VIII was in no way a laughing matter, the description of how the Palace treated Wallis was really a scream.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Angela on March 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book goes into extreme depth of the life of the fifth longest reigning monarch in British history, Queen Elizabeth II. What she is like, what she must do as her position as the Queen, and what she stands for are a few of the questions that are answered in this biography by Ben Pimlott. Reading the book was an interesting and enjoyable experience that helps to understand the stresses of living life as a monarch.
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