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The Real Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II Hardcover – January 3, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780805094169
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805094169
  • ASIN: 0805094164
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #851,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An enjoyable book about the British monarchy as embodied by Queen Elizabeth II… Recommended for fans of today’s British monarchy, who will come away further admiring the queen’s mind for detail, her openness for enabling the royal household… to evolve, her nuanced relationship with 13 successive prime ministers, and her strong marriage."—Library Journal

"A comprehensive and lively history and analysis of the British monarchy as a political and social institution from the World War I to the present, more than half of which time has been taken up by Elizabeth’s reign."—Kirkus Reviews

"British Royalty retains remarkable pulling power, but how much of this is due to the institution itself, and how much to the individuals involved? The answer is probably a mixture of both, but Andrew Marr’s absorbing new book leaves no doubt about the pivotal role played by the Queen herself… He is particularly acute on the political aspects of constitutional monarchy, but he also writes perceptively about the individual members of the Royal Family."—The Mail on Sunday

"[The Real Elizabeth contains] a lot of information which will be new to any but the most dedicated student of the monarchy… [Marr writes] well and thoughtfully."—Spectator

"An overwhelmingly positive endorsement of the Queen’s remarkable record… [The Real Elizabeth] offers plenty of reasons for repeating the old cry of ‘God save the Queen.’"—Daily Express

About the Author

Andrew Marr, a bestselling author and award-winning journalist, hosts The Andrew Marr Show on BBC. His best-known book, A History of Modern Britain, was accompanied by a BBC television series that won one of British television's most prestigious prizes. He and his wife live in London with their three children.


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Customer Reviews

I will be keeping this book as I would like to read it again.
Barbara Hightower
It is far more even-handed, fair, and easier to read than Bedell-Smith's book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the queen and the monarchy.
Loribee
Marr's style of writing is very turgid and reads rather like a history book.
P. B. Sharp

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 100 REVIEWER on December 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
`The Real Elizabeth' is a comprehensive and interesting book. However, if you are a compulsive reader of books on Queen Elizabeth and her family; there really is not much new here or even the very personal statements that the Queen has made to those surrounding her. What is in this book is a compilation of information from many sources that describe in detail her official life and duties with inclusions of the family dramas that have occurred.

The main subject focus is the monarchy that Elizabeth has been the head of for so long. A good history of that monarchy is included; in fact Elizabeth does not appear in the book until page 62. There are excellent explanations of what the ramifications of an Edward VIII's reign would have been. There are outstanding sections on the coronation, Charles and Diana's wedding and her funeral and the effect on the population. The change of lifestyle in the 60's and 70's is also explained and how it influenced the behavior of the Windsors.

This is a look at the history and the times that the Queen and her family have lived in. We really do not get past the public façade very often. This is an excellent introduction to the present day monarchy of England. It does give a reader a glimpse into the personal side. On the other hand, the recently published `Elizabeth the Queen' goes into the more private life and mindset of the Queen with many more personal quotes from those who surround Her Majesty.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By H. Erickson-Sander TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'll just be completely honest here, I rarely read biographies and non-fiction. But this book did interest me slightly with it's claims to be an "Intimate Portrait" of the ever so fascinating Queen Elizabeth II. I opened this book with some uncertainty as to whether or not I'd finish it, yet now I'm pleased to tell you that by the end of the prologue I decided this book was a page-turner for me. I sincerely had trouble putting it down!

Andrew Marr proves his writing skills early on, his style is direct and easily absorbed while at the same time intelligent and thoughtful. Early on in this book he takes us back a few generations, explaining the brief history of Elizabeth's family and what made them who they were. A good look at how the Queen has managed to stay on the throne even until today. I do enjoy history but I'll admit it really takes some serious meat to get me chowing down on it. This book provided that experience. Marr does an excellent job of making his point without drawling on. He captures the irony and fascination of the Queen's existence perfectly, and even though I started out reading this book already thinking she was an interesting character, I ended up much more fascinated than before.

Marr also provides a brief but complete explanation of the Queen's "job", everything she oversees and is responsible for. As an American who is thankful that we do not have a monarchy but also intrigued by the close country that does, it was very eye-opening to read about this aspect of the Queen's life. I believe most Americans are probably unsure of how Elizabeth fits into British society and what she really does with her life apart from making public appearances and looking pretty at weddings. Marr's book explains all that and then some.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Queen Elizabeth will be celebrating her Diamond Jubilee - 60 years - as queen of England in 2012. A lot of books and television programs will mark the occasion and most, if not all, will be marketed as "intimate". Andrew Marr is a journalist who also hosts a show on the BBC. His book, "The Real Elizabeth", is more a popular than scholarly look at the Queen and her role. I think Sally Bedell Smith's up-coming biography might be a touch more scholarly in its approach to her subject.

There's nothing wrong with "popular" history books. And Andrew Marr's book is a prime example of an interesting, easy-to-read book without a lot of depth, but with a good grasp of the subject. He begins by reviewing the House of Windsor, from its beginning with King George V - son of Edward VII - through the reigns of George, his son Edward VIII, and finally, his other son, George VI, who took over the throne after Edward's abdication in 1936. George VI was, of course, Elizabeth's father, and when he died in 1952, she became queen at the age of 25. Marr then continues with her reign, highlighting her family, her relations with her people, and with the various prime ministers she's worked with. He also writes about Diana's influence on the royal family.

I've read many books on British Royalty. Most are more scholarly than Marr's. For a Royal-groupie who already knows a lot about the Royal family, I wouldn't advise wasting your time on Marr's book. However, for the casual reader it is a good choice to start with during this long Jubilee year.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Leeanna Chetsko VINE VOICE on January 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The subtitle of this book is somewhat misleading, as I didn't find very many intimate revelations about Queen Elizabeth. Instead, "The Real Elizabeth" is more a biography of the House of Windsor, which was created in 1917 by Elizabeth's grandfather, King George V, and a quick overview of Elizabeth's reign.

That said, I did enjoy this book, and think it would be a good introduction to British history for those who are new to the subject. For those that have more than a passing knowledge, I'm not sure how interesting it would be, as the length of the book (~360 pages) and the length of the subject's reign (60 years) doesn't allow for a lot of detail. Depending on your interest, and what you are looking for, I would recommend "The Real Elizabeth" if you are new to the Royal Family. But if you're looking for something in-depth and historical, I would wait. As 2012 is the year of her Diamond Jubilee, there will probably be a lot of new books published about her.

I didn't put the book down much after starting, and finished in about two days. Marr writes in a very readable style, more like fiction than a dry history book. The explanation of how and why the House of Windsor was created (something I didn't know, but now am quite interested in) is a good way to kick off the book, as it helps to explain how and why Elizabeth is who she is.

However, I did have a few complaints. Marr is careful with his word choices and tone when he writes about Elizabeth, verging almost on worshipful. When someone like Diana is mentioned, she comes across as a villain who was incapable of understanding Elizabeth.

Also, I wanted to read more about Elizabeth herself. That was my big disappointment with this book.
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