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The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire

Julia Baird

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Random House
22 November 2016
The true story for fans of the PBS Masterpiece series Victoria, this page-turning biography reveals the real woman behind the myth: a bold, glamorous, unbreakable queen--a Victoria for our times. Drawing on previously unpublished papers, this stunning portrait is a story of love and heartbreak, of devotion and grief, of strength and resilience. NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES - ESQUIRE - THE CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY Victoria the Queen, Julia Baird's exquisitely wrought and meticulously researched biography, brushes the dusty myth off this extraordinary monarch. --The New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice) When Victoria was born, in 1819, the world was a very different place. Revolution would threaten many of Europe's monarchies in the coming decades. In Britain, a generation of royals had indulged their whims at the public's expense, and republican sentiment was growing. The Industrial Revolution was transforming the landscape, and the British Empire was commanding ever larger tracts of the globe. In a world where women were often powerless, during a century roiling with change, Victoria went on to rule the most powerful country on earth with a decisive hand. Fifth in line to the throne at the time of her birth, Victoria was an ordinary woman thrust into an extraordinary role. As a girl, she defied her mother's meddling and an adviser's bullying, forging an iron will of her own. As a teenage queen, she eagerly grasped the crown and relished the freedom it brought her. At twenty, she fell passionately in love with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, eventually giving birth to nine children. She loved sex and delighted in power. She was outspoken with her ministers, overstepping conventional boundaries and asserting her opinions. After the death of her adored Albert, she began a controversial, intimate relationship with her servant John Brown. She survived eight assassination attempts over the course of her lifetime. And as science, technology, and democracy were dramatically reshaping the world, Victoria was a symbol of steadfastness and security--queen of a quarter of the world's population at the height of the British Empire's reach. Drawing on sources that include fresh revelations about Victoria's relationship with John Brown, Julia Baird brings vividly to life the fascinating story of a woman who struggled with so many of the things we do today: balancing work and family, raising children, navigating marital strife, losing parents, combating anxiety and self-doubt, finding an identity, searching for meaning.
By:   Julia Baird
Imprint:   Random House
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 155mm,  Spine: 41mm
Weight:   907g
ISBN:   9781400069880
ISBN 10:   1400069882
Pages:   736
Publication Date:   22 November 2016
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

<b>Julia Baird </b>is a journalist, broadcaster, and author based in Sydney, Australia. She is a columnist for the <i>International New York Times</i> and host of <i>The Drum</i> on ABC TV (Australia). Her writing has appeared in <i>Newsweek, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Monthly, </i>and <i>Harper s Bazaar</i>. She has a Ph.D. in history from the University of Sydney. In 2005, Baird was a fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University.

Reviews for Victoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire

<i>Victoria the Queen, </i> Julia Baird s exquisitely wrought and meticulously researched biography, brushes the dusty myth off this extraordinary monarch. Right out of the gate, the book thrums with authority as Baird builds her portrayal of Victoria. Overturning stereotypes, she rips this queen down to the studs and creates her anew. . . . Baird s Victoria isn t the woman we expect to meet. Her queen is a pure iconoclast: emotional, demonstrative, sexual and driven. . . . Baird writes in the round. She constructs a dynamic historical figure, then spins out a spherical world of elegant reference, anchoring the narrative in specific detail and pinning down complex swaths of history that, in less capable hands, would simply blow away. <b> <i>The New York Times Book Review </i>(Editor s Choice)</b> In this in-depth look at a feminist before her time, you ll balk at, cheer on, and mourn the obstacles in the life of the teen queen who grew into her throne. <b> <i>Marie Claire</i></b> Exhilarating . . . [A] frisky, adventurous new biography . . . This book shows how Victoria s girlish naughtiness turned into a regal, willful, complex nature that other biographers have tended to simplify. . . . [Julia] Baird brings a strong feminist awareness to the ways in which Victoria s letters, edited by two men, have been censored to excise the full range of her personality, and also to the subordinate role any wife was expected to assume when Victoria was a young bride. <b> Janet Maslin, </b> <b><i>The New York Times</i></b> Fascinating. <b> <i>Vogue</i></b> In Baird s deft portrayal, Victoria lives, breathes, and struts before us in all her complexity. . . . On a geopolitical level, Baird s sweeping historical portrait also illuminates just how interconnected the European royal families were during this time. . . . Historical astuteness aside, the pages gallop along enhanced by titillating morsels of info. <b><i> Esquire</i></b> A vivid portrait of one of England s longest-reigning monarchs. <b><i> Entertainment Weekly</i></b> [A] success from start to finish . . . [Baird s] Victoria is a vivid, visceral creature. . . . Baird also does a lively, excellent job of detailing Victoria s later years. . . . [She] paints a touching picture of those final decades, during which Victoria strove to feel alive despite the fact that the great love of her life was dead. <b><i> The</i> <i>Christian Science Monitor</i></b> Like the best biographers, Baird writes like a novelist, and her book is crammed with irresistible detail and description. <b><i> The Seattle Times</i></b> Baird thoroughly and engagingly strives to restore a truer perspective of both woman and sovereign in her fine work, <i>Victoria: The Queen</i>. . . . Baird s biography successfully presents the queen in all of her roles, some of which were contradictory, to show how Victoria did indeed have a mind of her own despite her husband and prime ministers and lived and ruled the way she thought best. <b><i> Chicago Tribune</i></b> Julia Baird s research uncovered a wealth of new material that gives a fuller, three-dimensional profile of the English queen who reigned over a quarter of the known world. She writes in a fluent, conversational style that helps readers understand the role of royalty in nineteenth-century England. <b> Fredericksburg<i> Free-Lance Star</i></b> Baird emphasizes Victoria s private side and guides us through her personal life with a sympathetic touch. She makes excellent use of Victoria s voluminous personal writings and humanizes this forbidding figure. . . . Baird brings a compassionate humanity to the story of Victoria, and leaves us with a fresh understanding of her influential rule and, just as importantly, her interior life. This Victoria has a strong, beating heart. <b><i> Newsday</i></b> Spellbinding . . . Julia Baird s biography of Queen Victoria reads like a novel. <b><i> Ottawa Citizen</i></b> <i>Victoria: The Queen</i>is that rare bird of serious historical biography, a page-turner. Writing with grace and authority, Baird reaches well beyond the conventional image of a reclusive and compliant queen to reveal a robust and interventionist ruler, iron-willed, uncompromising and sexually charged a most unvictorian woman. . . . As a writer and historian, Baird has a wonderful gift for compressing complicated personalities and historical events. <b> <i>Dallas Morning News</i></b> Baird writes with such spirit and well-founded authority that readers will feel as though the story of the famous British queen is being told for the first time. . . . Baird does not turn a blind eye on Victoria s darker sides, including her willfulness, selfishness, and self pity. But that simply adds dimensions to a significant character. <b> <i>Booklist</i></b><b>(starred review)</b> Baird convincingly reframes the public perception of Victoria as a mother, along with providing unprecedented insight into her relationships following Prince Albert s death. . . . Baird crafts a comprehensive study of the monarch and others with whom she was involved in an engaging, smoothly rendered narrative. Highly recommended for those interested in British history and the integral figures who shaped it, as well as readers looking for an excellent biography. <b> <i>Library Journal</i> (starred review)</b> Baird draws on previously unpublished sources to fashion a lively, perceptive portrait of the long-reigning queen. . . . Baird shrewdly assesses the quality of the queen s family life and creates sharply drawn portraits of the major players in her circle. . . . A well-researched biography sensitive to Queen Victoria as a woman. <b> <i>Kirkus Reviews</i></b> Victoria was young enough when she assumed the throne to consult with her prime minister about her eyebrows (were they too thin?), confident enough when she married to elect to preserve the word obey in her vows.Julia Baird vividly captures her in every light, at once bold and sentimental, stubborn and deferential. <i>Victoria: The Queen</i> is a crisp, sparkling account of the extraordinary woman whose reign was as long as her legacy is vast. <b> Stacy Schiff</b> A stunning achievement . . . Neither sanitized nor mythologizing, <i>Victoria: The Queen </i>is a remarkably lucid, endlessly engaging account of Queen Victoria s life and rule. <b> Amanda Foreman</b> With elegance and keen insight, Julia Baird has painted a memorable, moving, and surprising portrait of one of the most important women in history. This is a remarkable book; in Baird s hands, Victoria s story resonates in our own time, shedding new light on why we live the way we do now. <b> Jon Meacham</b> What was it like to reign over the world s greatest empire as queen but in an age when women were supposed to be submissive, supportive, subservient? Baird does not shy away from reality or complexity. She has given us a moving, lusty, passionate, thoroughly human story of one of the most fascinating women of her, or any, time. <b> Evan Thomas</b>

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