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A. N. WILSON is the author of biographies on Jesus, Milton, Tolstoy, C. S. Lewis and Dante. His acclaimed histories, The Victorians and God s Funeral, have made him an authority on Victorian-era Great Britain. A former columnist for the London Evening Standard, he now contributes to the Times Literary Supplement, New Statesman, the Spectator, the Observer and the Daily Mail.
Financial Times What to call [A. N. Wilson] now? Eminent Victorianist seems appropriate. Lytton Strachey, the acerbic author of Eminent Victorians as well as a biography of Victoria far less good than this, is never far away when Wilson writes about a period that, in several books, he has made very much his own... Wilson is an excellent history teacher. He orders and narrates the hugely complex socio-political events and party infighting of the 19th century with a rare clarity... Wilson sums up his feelings about Victoria in a single word: Awe. His own achievement, sustained by a lifetime's scholarly fascination with the Victorian era, is also, in its way, awesome. Kirkus Reviews (starred): A shimmering portrait of a tempestuous monarch...[Wilson] lends a lively expertise to his portrayal of the forthright, formidable, still-enigmatic sovereign...During her long reign, Victoria had come to embody the experience of an entire age, overseeing great reform and the strengthening of ties between India and the British Empire. A robust, immensely entertaining portrait from a master biographer. Booklist (starred): Few if any previous biographers have viewed [Queen Victoria] as incisively and absorbingly as Wilson does in his lengthy but smoothly flowing treatment of the queen's long life. The considerable detail he brings to his greatly balanced portrait not only strengthens his estimation of the significance of the queen in British governmental history but also successfully conveys for the general reader all the nuances of character that Wilson so carefully shares. Library Journal (starred): [A] comprehensive, highly accessible work...rooted in the complex political and international details of the era... Wilson is most successful in identifying and highlighting the monarch's paradoxes: the contrasts between the 'little woman in a bonnet' and the queen who proudly controlled the British empire. Highly recommended for readers fascinated by the lives of notable individuals and British royalty. Publishers Weekly More than a Victoria biography, Wilson skillfully weaves the vast narrative of the Victorian landscape. The Guardian (UK): Subtle, thoughtful...Wilson picks up the pieces and puts the jigsaw back together again, creating in the process a Victoria for our own times...[A] shimmering and rather wonderful biography. The Spectator (UK): Superb...The book that [Wilson] was born to write...Wilson clearly loves and admires his subject, but this is a critical biography--funny, insightful, original, and authoritative. At last Victoria has been rescued from her widow's weeds. The Sunday Times (UK): A.N. Wilson brings his novelist's perception and immense knowledge of the era to his effervescent biography of the tiny woman (4ft 11in) who ruled Britain for 61 years...This won't be the last biography of Victoria but it is certainly the most interesting and original in a long time. The Times (UK): A.N. Wilson has written a sympathetic but by no means hagiographic biography of her that will probably overturn many people's prejudiced conception of her... Wilson's picture of her is a rounded one, with her vices and virtues. The Evening Standard (UK): [A] splendid biography-this book is a gem: thoughtful, witty, insightful, striking a balance between political commentary and personal gossip ... As this terrific biography shows, there really was a human being behind the gloomy portraits. The Daily Telegraph (UK): As Hamlet is to actors, Victoria is to writers. The Queen Empress is the ultimate biographical challenge, a role to be taken on only at the apex of a literary career. Ninety-five years ago, the standard was set by Lytton Strachey's lucid and moving Queen Victoria, but A. N. Wilson has now raised the bar...What a pity [Victoria] never met A. N. Wilson: she shines in his company...[An] expansive and victorious book.