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George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I by [Carter, Miranda]
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The slippery slope into horrific armed conflict is a tale often told about World War I, but this author’s take on the antecedents of the European war of 1914–18 is distinct. Carter views the shifting alliance entanglements of the Great Powers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and especially the growing animosity and rivalry between Britain and Germany, with particular focus on the attitudes and actions of three royal first cousins: Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany, Emperor Nicholas II of Russia, and King George V of Great Britain (who also reigned as emperor of India, hence the book’s title reference to three emperors). Rich in concrete detail, elegant in style, and wise, fresh, and knowledgeable in interpretation, the author’s account observes a profound anachronism at play: that these three monarchs, in what they didn’t realize were the waning days of the institution of monarchy, handled foreign diplomacy as if it were a family business. Despite the reality of growing fissures separating their countries, “each emperor continued to paper over the cracks with cousinly gestures, each increasingly irrelevant.” Europe plunged over the precipice of war in August 1914, revealing in stark terms the inability of royal familial ties to control and contain national disagreements; as the author has it, the fact that Wilhelm, Nicholas, and George were out of touch with actual politics could not have been more apparent. An irresistible narrative for history buffs. --Brad Hooper

Review

“History on a large canvas. . . . Carter writes incisively about the overlapping events that led to the Great War and changed the world. . . . Impressive. . . . Carter has clearly not bitten off more than she can chew for she—as John Updike once wrote of Gunter Grass—’chews it enthusiastically before our eyes.’”
The New York Times

“Splendid. . . . This is history on a vast scale written on an intimate level, and it is immensely rewarding. . . . [Carter’s] portraits of the men are razor-sharp. She places each monarch in his unique context, providing a tapestry of the age and the maneuvering that led to the outbreak of war. . . . The reader is swept up in the pageantry, pathos and glory of an era that makes our own seem remorselessly venial and vulgar.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Engrossing and important. . . . While keeping her focus on the three cousins and their extended families, [Carter] skillfully interweaves and summarizes all important elements of how the war came about. . . . An original book, highly recommended.”
The Dallas Morning News

“A fascinating biographical saga. . . . The personal, hidden history of King George V, Tsar Nicholas II and Kaiser Wilhelm II’s relationship [is] incomparable, haunting and unforgettable.”
Providence Journal

“The parallel, interrelated lives of Kaiser Wilhelm II, George V, and Nicholas II are . . . a prism though which to tell the march to the first World War, the creation of the modern industrial world and the follies of hereditary courts and the eccentricities of their royal trans-European cousinhood. . . . An entertaining and accessible study of power and personality.”
—Simon Sebag Montefiore, Financial Times

“Some wars are inevitable. Others, such as World War I, could have been avoided. . . . R...


Product details

  • File Size: 10922 KB
  • Print Length: 561 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1400043638
  • Publisher: Vintage (March 18, 2010)
  • Publication Date: March 23, 2010
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00338QEMY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,583 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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