William G. Bowen (1933-2016) was an influential educator and the author of more than twenty books, including Lessons Learned: Reflections of a University President, The Shape of the River, and Equity and Excellence in American Higher Education.
Some years ago Rohl deservedly won the Wolfson History Prize for his fine book, The Kaiser and his Court. His new book, Young Wilhelm, is even better. Basing his work on the most extensive research in all manner of archives and presenting much new and revealing material, Rohl has produced a masterly account, not only of an extraordinary young man but of an entire, fascinating epoch. Despite the depth of his research, and the vast amount of papers he has studied - among them the correspondence of the prince's mother, the Crown Princess Frederick, who exchanged no fewer than 10,000 letters with her mother, Queen Victoria - Rohl's lively narrative never flags. Convincing portraits emerge not only of members of Prince Wilhelm's remarkable family, most notably of his liberal parents whose educational experiment ended so disastrously, but also of the members of the kaiser's court and entourage, dominated by the intimidating figure of Otto von Bismarck. And at the centre of the narrative stands Wilhelm himself, the arrogant, selfish and devious prince, always conscious of his withered arm, whose tutor warned his parents of the need to overcome his 'crystal-hard egotism' and whose malign influence on the course of European history was foreshadowed by his behaviour when, as a four-year-old boy at the wedding of his Uncle Bertie, the future King Edward VII, he tried to throw the cairngorm from the head of his dirk across the choir and, when two of his English uncles endeavoured to restrain him, bit them both hard on the legs. Review by CHRISTOPHER HIBBERT (Kirkus UK)