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Queen Victoria (British History in Perspective) Hardcover – August 16, 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

College professor Arnstein acknowledges the high number of biographies of the longest-reigning British monarch--an understandable situation, given that "more than one hundred years after her death, her personality continues to fascinate." His book is distinguished by its fairness and cogency. Princess Victoria assumed the throne at age 18, when the reputation of the British royal family was at the lowest level imaginable. Her father, the fourth son of George III, died when she was an infant; her mother brought her up in a fashion "both simple and spare," restricting her every movement. But the death of Princess Victoria's uncle William IV in 1837 elevated her to the throne and thus opened up her cloistered existence. Arnstein is particularly insightful in revealing to general readers the good nature and influence of the queen's beloved consort, Prince Albert, and the work she continued to perform behind the scenes during her long years as a reclusive widow. Eminently suitable for any active history collection. Brad Hooper
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Review

"The book is not too long yet is rich in information about Victoria's personal life and about her reign¿"--Sally Weeks, Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette
"His book is distinguished by its fairness and cogency."--Brad Hooper, Booklist
"Provides a well-rounded portrait of the queen while at the same time highlighting relatively little known aspects of her life...This is a sharply observed and excellently written book." --History Today
"Wise, based on extensive research, and blissfully concise, Queen Victoria is richly illuminating on both her political and personal life. For scholars, students, as well as those who enjoy a good read, this is a book to be savored." --Peter Stansky, Stanford University
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Product Details

  • Series: British History in Perspective
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 1st edition (August 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333638069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333638064
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,846,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Queen Victoria has more biographies written about her than any woman born after 1800. This biography takes note of the work done in the past and tries to fill in where the author thinks previous works have been lacking. She is a paradoxical monarch who is largely misunderstood. Becoming Queen in 1837 at the tender age of 18, her 64 year reign would span one of the greatest periods of cultural evolution in history. Europe was also unusually peaceful during this period. A shrewed politian, Victoria was the last British monarch to wield great authority. To help explain the "Victorian" zietgiest, a large portion is devoted to the relationship between Victoria and her Husband, Prince Albert. This book's greatest weakness is it's greatest asset: it is short (many other biographies are published in large volumes). At the expence of the druging details of history, he provides a biography that is both interesting and manageable. In the author's own words, he aims to "whet the readers appitite for more and to alert that same reader to the books and articles in which additional historical nourishment may be found." (p.13) A great book, an easy read; 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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Format: Hardcover
Written by a Professor Emeritus of History of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Queen Victoria is an engaging expose of both the private and public life of the princess who inherited Britain's throne as a teenager and became the strong guiding figure and symbolic head of the largest empire in the world. Drawing upon past studies and research as well as Victoria's own writings to illuminate her not only as a ruler, but as a human being gripped by concerns ranging from gender roles and religion to political machinations and the state of Ireland. An excellently researched and presented portrayal of one of the strongest and most influential women of history.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a small book for such a big subject, but Walter Arnstein expertly selects the best material to sketch the queen's life in a way that is both entertaining and authoritative. It's full of fascinating information. I didn't realize that as late as the 1820s the name Victoria was still an uncommon one in Britain, and that it sounded so foreign that bills were introduced in Parliament in the early 1830s to change the princess's name.
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Format: Paperback
I appreciate a good biography and I was not disappointed with this one. Volumes have been written about Queen Victoria and it can be quite daunting to go through them. After all Victoria reigned for 64 years so there is lots of material to cover. This author does a good job of synthesizing all this information into a fairly short biography that is easy to handle.

I was under the impression that Queen Victoria did nothing in her later years but sit at home and mourn for her husband Albert. Actually she was quite active in political matters and advising prime ministers and she traveled more than I realized. A lot of biographers talk about her early life, but she was quite active later in life too despite being in a continuous state of semi-mourning.

Anyone who is interested in royalty, especially in the 1800's would enjoy this book. It is easy to read and packed with good information. -- Valerie Lull, Author, Ten Healthy Teas
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Format: Paperback
Excellent reference for students or the general public on Victoria and her government, as well as private life. It doesn't go very far into social history, while it does touch on other aspects of the 19th century at its most basic, it is mostly on Victoria.
That being said, its still a good introduction to the era as well even if not very deep, perhaps because of its surface skimming.

HOWEVER: if you already have a sturdy background in Victoria's rule, her life, and the 19th century, you might find this a bit tedious and do better to look elsewhere
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Format: Paperback
When you think of Queen Victoria, sometimes you visulize a cold and distant monarch. This book looks into to life of a very young queen and how her impact influenced a 3 generations. It will help the reader understand the English family and monarchy. Paced well and very enjoyable. It will be time well spent. Donna Pitcock
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