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Georgiana - Duchess Of Devonshire Paperback – 1998

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 454 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; Book Club edition (1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375502947
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375502941
  • ASIN: B001KH1VNW
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 5.9 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Georgiana - Duchess of Devonshire is a well documented research work by Amanda Foreman. She writes well and adds the amusing sidelights of English Society while endeavoring to objectively present the real person Georgiana Spencer. She names names! Some of the 'Ton' of society were scoundrels to say the least, but we have those in most societies today. What Ms. Foreman does is to show the blatant exhibitionism of the fast set in the mid to late 1800's in England. For those especially in the U.S.A. this work will help them understand how customs have changed with each passing generation.
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By Ellen on March 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
I read this book some time ago when it was first published. I heard an interview with the author on NPR and she said that Georgiana was a relative and she became absolutely obsessed with her life while writing the book. It is nonfiction based on the life of Georgiana and it was fascinating. I love to read and I have to say that this is one of my all time favorite books. What a remarkable woman Georgiana was, constrained by the period of time she lived in (18th century England) and the man she was married to. I highly recommend this book. I was glad to see that it is being made into a movie simply because this may lead to more people reading the book. I wonder if the movie will do the book justice. This book is a serious biography by a gifted author, but with a subject matter so engaging that it reads like fiction.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well written, well researched, highly readable and detailed. The author does her best to show Georgiana and all her facets not just those that shine. By the end of the book, you felt like you had become acquainted with The Duchess. I liked the fact that the author did her best to show us a little of the Duke's side of it all as well. If the movie, The Duchess, fascinated you, this is a must-read book.
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Format: Paperback
If I hadn't enjoyed Foreman's A World on Fire I probably would not have picked Georgiana off the second-hand bookstore shelf. So glad I did. Am looking forward to her next bio-history.

At first glance Georgiana resembles an 18th C version of Lady Diana Spencer, the late Princess of Wales. She was Diana's great-great-great-great aunt and they had a host of traits in common. Each married a man who did not love her and brought an unseen "third party" to the altar. Both were fashion icons, subjects of gossip columns in which they were alternately loved and lampooned, great givers to charity, and brilliant at the art of image making and public relations. On the dark side, they were emotionally crippled by self-doubt which manifested as an eating disorder (Diana) and addiction to risk (both of them).

Georgiana's life, however, makes a far more interesting study than Diana's. Our familiarity with Victorian notions of women's "seen but not heard" social roles, as well as historical models that concentrate on the lives of the middle and working classes, has all but obscured the unique social and political power held by 18th century aristocratic women, not to mention the surprisingly hedonistic lives they were able to live. With Georgiana, Foreman makes a case for historians to re-examine the "separate spheres" model of feminist history, which renders the lives of aristocratic women irrelevant, thereby diminishing our understanding of historical gender roles and relations.

But don't let me lead you into thinking Georgiana is a boring, academic thesis. Far from it. Foreman creates a good balance between engaging storytelling and academic rigor, and Georgiana's life is one worth telling.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of my favorite books in the world. So far I've read it three times. It lays out a very interesting period in history, in England and France on the cusp of the revolution. Anyone who loves fashion and would like to know how fashion trends were invented, needs to read this book. Georgina was truly one of a kind. She was betrayed by everyone she trusted, she campaigned for political struggles (always for men of course, but no woman had ever done that before), and she was often alone in the world. She had a kind of dignity, strength, flair, intellect, and beauty of course, that one does not rarely come across. You will fall in love with her. The this book is so fabulously well written -- the research is on the micro level, but it reads like a novel, thick with atmosphere, pulling you along with passion. This book is on my "treasures" shelf.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a slow reader and tend to choose very light fiction, so I'm probably not the best reviewer of such a biography. However, I do easily recognise a well reseached and written story. I REALLY enjoyed reading this book. The Duchess is a fascinating woman of her time. And because she was so prominent a figure, there still exists a great deal of documentation written about and by Georgiana. This allowed the author to construct a facinating, multifaceted chronicle of Georgiana's life. But for me, as interesting as the Duchess, are all the details of the era itself described and explained by the author. It is a fabulous history lesson for this uninformed American.
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