A MEASURE OF UNDERSTANDING by Queen of the Hellenes Frederika

A MEASURE OF UNDERSTANDING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Queen Frederika of Greece, the granddaughter of the Crown Prince of Hanover, spent an idyllic youth in a castle. . . met and made friends in the Nazi youth movement. . . then school in England, travels, and love -- like a thunderbolt -- Palo, Crown Prince of Greece, enters her life. She is ""blissfully happy"" in Greece but the Axis occupation forces the couple into exile: in South Africa General Smuts initiates her into the worlds of science and philosophy. Then duty beckons back to Greece, where the burden of fighting the ""communist bandits"" falls on the newly crowned monarchs. The Queen becomes a Samaritan to her devastated people, a patron of welfare, a symbol of charitable love. Least credible are her descriptions of the civil war. The concentration camp on barren Leros is alluded to as ""the beautiful island. . . where boys are quite free to move about wherever they like."" About Palo's ""heroic army"" nowhere is it mentioned that it was built up through recruitment of Fascist collaborators and became, with the Queen's approval, a bastion of postwar terror. In and out of Greece Frederika is known less for her charity and more for her political ruthlessness, but the ""Queen's camarilla"" which includes shipping magnates, generals, and politicians never appears. Frederika's distortions never reach the level of mythology, her ladies-magazine style never approaches epic heights, and her inaccuracies are merely boring.

Pub Date: March 20th, 1972
Publisher: St. Martin's Press