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The King's Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy Paperback – November 26, 2010
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Pre-order today
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I want to emphasize that this is not a knock on the absolutely superb film starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush as George the VI and Logue respectively. Different mediums have different strengths. The movie better showed us the young king's struggles, and his burgeoning relationship with his therapist and later friend; while the book showed us the depth of that friendship via excerpts from diaries, letters, and so on. Also, the movie took some liberties with history, compressing the time frame, changing certain aspects of the characters roles, and made the older brother, the brief-King Edward, much more villainous than in real life. The admiration for Hitler was far more widespread than one would like to think, though Edward and his mistress (and future wife) Wallis Sampson did maintain it longer than most, including his younger brother/future king and Winston Churchill. Despite this, the movie was a pretty good portrayal of the friendship of this king and his therapist. The book was simply more historically correct and expansive in details.
What perhaps made the book all the more riveting to me is how the author did not try to sugar-coat or make some aspects of the life in Britain in certain period look better. There was a deplorable "system" for raising children among the British upper classes in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, and a very significant class consciousness was drilled into the people of the time. I have heard some allege that there is still some class consciousness in the U. K. today, and I have no clue for sure if that is true. If it is true, it was, according to the author, even more so at the time.
If anything, this made the events of the book even more poignant. Logue and King George had a friendship that would be unusual for folks from such differing backgrounds even now, and at the time was something to behold. In a way, that friendship was the foundation of the king's success. In Logue, the king had many things rolled into one: therapist, voluntary speech editor, moral support, representative of the commoners, and most importantly, friend.
Of course, the wives of these two men were indispensable. It is not for naught that it was noted that the king spoke better with his wife's support and attention. And for Logue, his wife Myrtle played a key role as well. He had a support in her that lasted for nearly forty years. After her death, he lived a life of some sadness during the rest of his time on this mortal coil.
At the end, the two men, king and commoner, friends, died within months of each other. After the immediate headlines faded away, they were not thought of much, outside of historical references, until the Academy Award-winning film, The King's Speech, came out in theaters. Yet the impact on history of this incredibly unlikely friendship can not be underestimated. Next to Churchill, the speeches during World War II of George the VI kept the morale of the Empire, and many other countries, afloat. The king gave enormous credit to his friend, Lionel Logue, for this success, and those of us alive today owe them both a deep debt.
This semi-biography, semi-history is one of the finest non-fiction books I have read in a long time, and I can't recommend it enough.
I thought it was going to be a lot of boring details about the two men but it was an enjoyabe story that goes through their friendship that started out as a doctor patien relationship. It adds a lot of depth into the movie.
Because there is always so much that can not be put into a movie without it lasting 10 hours, the book fills in a lot of gaps. It also puts a human side of the King amd Queen and their family. It shows how most people do not see royality as regular people, This book shows how they are just as normal as the rest of us, just have a different job.
It explains how King GeorgeVI feared the idea of public speaking and how he was able to overcome that with the help of Louge and how their friendship grew because of it.
I would recommend this book to any one who like stories about the Royal Family. It explains what is expected of them and how they try to just be regular people. It is a very good read. Very much worth the money. Even a book you may want to read more than once.
Albert, son of King George V and younger brother of Edward VIII, had developed a stammer during his youth, which made him shy and uncommunicative. As someone who has struggled all my life with a relatively mild stutter, I thought it was good that Mark Logue did not attribute the cause of Bertie's stammer to any one thing. Stuttering is an impediment which seems to arise from both/either physical and psychological reasons and most of the time cannot be properly ascribed to any one thing. In Bertie's case, it was possibly from a difficult youth. He and his siblings were not close to their parents - as was common in those days - and his parents seemed to rather scare him when they were together. A sadistic nanny and the changing of his left-handedness to right may have contributed to his stutter. In any case, he was a man who could not always control his own speech, and he was moving into some situations where he would be called on to speak publicly and to do so often.
After his marriage, Bertie consulted Lionel Logue who had emigrated to England from Australia with his wife and young family and set up a practice in speech therapy in London's Harley Street. After much practice, Bertie was able to give speeches, but he depended on Lionel Logue's continued help as he became king - first in peacetime and then in wartime. The many speeches by radio that George was called on to make in the 25 or so years of his rule were always difficult for him, but Logue's work made them bearable to the king. Logue and George VI became friends - of a sort - because of their work together.
Mark Logue and Peter Conradi were able to look through Lionel Logue's case files and put together a very good record of Logue's work with George VI. Whether Lionel Logue "saved the monarchy" is a bit in doubt, but he did give confidence and success to the George VI when he - and the nation and the Commonwealth - needed it the most.
A note to the authors - Wallis Simpson was from an old Baltimore, Maryland family, not a Pennsylvania one.