"Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory." So said Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. He would have loved this big, blowsy bio of his sovereign. Queen Victoria was a lusty wife, a doting mother and "a clever and forceful" politician. Baird excavates Victoria the woman from beneath the ice-sheets of past and present myth.
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
[Baird's] portrayal of the ways in which Albert's brilliance and industry reinforced Victoria's inferiority complex . . . and the subsequent revelation of her ability to rule alone after his death, is one of the undoubted strengths of Baird's work
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 excise the word 'obey' from her vows. Julia Baird vividly captures her in every light, at once bold and sentimental, stubborn and deferential. Victoria: The Queen is a crisp, sparkling account of the extraordinary woman whose reign was as long as her legacy is vast
A vivid portrait of one of England's longest-reigning monarchs
Vividly written . . . it captures its subject with verve
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 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
A stunning achievement . . .Neither sanitized nor mythologizing, Victoria: The Queen is a remarkably lucid, endlessly engaging account of Queen Victoria's life and rule
Baird's extensive research has enabled her to complete an accessible and engrossing book which easily lives up to its claim to be an "intimate biography"