A respectful and thoughtfully documented history of the British monarch but not the definitive biography one might hope for.

QUEEN OF THE WORLD

ELIZABETH II: SOVEREIGN AND STATESWOMAN

A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II (b. 1926) that highlights her many accomplishments.

As the longest-reigning monarch in British history, Elizabeth II is currently more beloved than ever. Recent acclaimed dramas such as the 2006 film The Queen and the hit Netflix series The Crown have further sparked our universal fascination, as each work has delved into Elizabeth’s more private life and aimed to reveal a woman with complex ambitions and passions. Daily Mail writer Hardman, who has written extensively on the British monarchy (Our Queen, 2011, etc.), approached this book alongside his current TV documentary. While not exactly serving as a companion book to the series, both vehicles assert a similar reverential approach to the material, choosing to elude the more personal dramas that have beset the royal family and focusing instead on the queen’s tireless work ethic and long-standing dedication to her role. Hardman examines the broader areas of accomplishment that have been particularly significant during her reign. “By any measure,” writes the author, “her life and reign comprise a vault of experience unrivaled by any world leader. It is one of the reasons that even those who are not royalists by inclination applaud her dedication to duty.” Rather than providing a linear account, Hardman looks at particular topics: the queen’s diplomatic accomplishments throughout the Commonwealth as well as Africa, Europe, and the U.S; her associations with various leaders, including her line of prime ministers and her close rapport with accomplished statesmen such as Nelson Mandela and the many American presidents who have come into power during her reign. “There can be few people in the USA, let alone the rest of the world, who have lived through the administrations of sixteen presidents—more than one-third of the total,” writes Hardman. The book is grounded in lucid historical detail and often highlighted by colorful anecdotes. However, as a full biography, the dense volume, while accessible, lacks an engrossing throughline to maintain lengthy reader engagement.

A respectful and thoughtfully documented history of the British monarch but not the definitive biography one might hope for.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64313-002-6

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 17

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

Did you like this book?

more