THE KING'S WAR by Peter Conradi


The Friendship of George VI and Lionel Logue During World War II
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A wartime sequel to Logue and Conradi’s The King’s Speech (2010).

Logue, whose father inherited the private papers that Australian-born speech therapist Lionel Logue kept over the nearly quarter-century of his working (and friendly) relationship with King George VI, finally sifted through the rich cache just before the film version of The King's Speech was completed. The material that the author found would influence the film’s essential detail of the relationship between the two. Logue realized how loyal his grandfather had been in keeping private the work he and the king were doing to perfect the king’s speech, especially during the key war years. He also realized how essential Lionel’s assistance had been in bolstering the king’s public image, particularly after the fresh abdication of his more popular brother, Edward VIII, in 1936. As the second son, George (“Bertie”) was never meant to be king, and his speech impediment was a source of early humiliation and shame. After visiting numerous doctors (nine by one count), Bertie arrived for a first visit at Lionel’s London office on Harley Street in 1926 and made great strides by following the unorthodox breathing techniques of the not-quite-doctor and fairly untrained Logue (there was no such discipline as “speech therapy” at the time), who also recognized the psychological component to stuttering. Logue and Conradi swiftly move through the war years, providing fascinating details about how the British coped through the Battle of Britain—and the meaning for regular Britons that their royalty suffered along with them. When radio formed their major community contact, the speeches by the king—practiced by him and Logue, who eliminated difficult words and replaced them with deliberate phrasing—proved to be a salve to the public and inspired resolve.

A fresh-feeling account of the war years in London and the sympathy the public held for their royal family.

Pub Date: Sept. 3rd, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-64313-192-4
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Pegasus
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2019


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