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Victoria: The Woman who Made the Modern World by [Baird, Julia]
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Victoria: The Woman who Made the Modern World Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Length: 683 pages Word Wise: Enabled Language: English

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Product Description

The extraordinary story of the world's most influential, intriguing and surprising ruler, Queen Victoria.

When Alexandrina Victoria was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on 20 June 1837, she was 18 years old and barely five feet tall. Her subjects were fascinated and intrigued; some felt sorry for her. Writer Thomas Carlyle, watching her gilded coach draw away from the coronation, said: 'Poor little Queen, she is at an age at which a girl can hardly be trusted to choose a bonnet for herself; yet a task is laid upon her from which an archangel might shrink.' Queen Victoria is long dead, but in truth she has shaped us from the grave. She was a tiny, powerful woman who reigned for an astonishing 64 years. By the time of her Diamond Jubilee Procession in 1897, she reigned over a fourth of the inhabitable part of the world, had 400 million subjects, and had given birth to nine children. Suffrage, anti-poverty and anti-slavery movements can all be traced to her monumental reign, along with a profound rethinking of family life and the rise of religious doubt. When she died, in 1901, she was the longest reigning monarch in English history. Victoria is truly the woman who made the modern world. A fascinating, provocative and authoritative new biography of Queen Victoria which will make us see her in a new light, from one of Australia's most admired and respected journalists and commentators, Julia Baird.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 8928 KB
  • Print Length: 683 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (1 November 2016)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers (AU)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00X32PTJY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,726 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Found this fresh, new biography on Queen Victoria an absolutely riveting and absorbing read. Julia Baird does a great job of showing Victoria as a woman in relation to the social norms of the time she lived in and how she coped. Meticulously researched and beautifully written. Highly recommended.
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An excellent biography of Queen Victoria. I couldn't put it down since it was so interesting and well written. I often watch Julia Baird on ABC
TV's The Drum and knew how intelligent she is. Now my admiration of her has increased even more.
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I am learning a great deal about Q Victoria and Albert as well as about that period of history. Very well written, it gives such an intimate picture of royal life and intrigue.
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Sub-titled an intimate biography of the woman who ruled an empire, this book seeks to portray the person of Victoria behind the myth that has arisen since her death. Myth? Many of Queen Victoria’s papers were destroyed or censored after her death, to preserve a particular image of her. In preparing this biography, Ms Baird has had access to previously unpublished papers. In a general note, at the end of the book Ms Baird states: ‘All passages that discuss what Victoria was thinking, feeling or wearing are based directly on journal entries, letters and other contemporary evidence referenced below.’

A lot has been written about Queen Victoria. Born in 1819, she was fifth in the line to the throne and was never expected to become queen. When Victoria ascended to the throne in 1837, she was aged just eighteen. She lived through a period of great change and by the time of her death in 1901, aged eighty-one, the world had changed significantly. This was the era of great technological change, of disastrous wars, and colonial expansion. It was also the era of Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde, and Florence Nightingale.

But what of the woman herself? Victoria was aged twenty when she fell in love with her cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. They had nine children. In Ms Baird’s words:

‘The marriage between Victoria and Albert is one of the greatest romances of modern history. It was genuine, devoted and fruitful. Together, they ushered in an era when the monarchy would shift from direct power to indirect influence, and from being the fruit of the aristocracy to becoming the symbol of the middle class.’

Victoria was no cipher: when dealing with her ministers, she was outspoken and asserted her opinions.
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Not only is this book superbly researched; it is fascinating reading. I have read a great deal about Queen Victoria, some of it impossibly heavy going, and some of it frankly salacious. Julia Baird brings this amazing woman to life, and allows us to see her with all her strengths and weaknesses. On the one hand she worked tirelessly for her country, showing great understanding of political issues, and frequently attempting to override long suffering prime ministers, and on the other hand she was a devoted (some would say 'over-devoted') mother, and of course, most famously, the adoring wife of Prince Albert. It is an enormous pity that Victoria's children so ruthlessly burnt or edited Victoria's voluminous diaries and correspondence, but sufficient material exists that enabled Julia Baird to portray a mighty personality who nevertheless had many personal weaknesses, not least of which was an overwhelming capacity for self pity, which pretty much crippled her personality in the decades after her beloved Albert's death.
This work is illuminating, but objective. All praise to Julia Baird for adding a new perspective to our view of the great Victoria and her legacy for current times.
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I really enjoyed this new biography of Victoria, well I have to admit I'd never been tempted by any of the other ones, being by no means a royalty enthusiast. But the first chapter reassured me as: a) the fantastic writing would easily see me through such a tome, and b) Baird puts as much effort into describing the social and historic context of Victoria's time, which I find more interesting than the life of a strange spoiled child. Baird does sometimes (well mostly in the introduction) seem to exaggerate the importance of Victoria, there's a sense that because society changed so much during her reign that she must be responsible for these changes. But then in the body Baird does do a good job showing in which instances Victoria was politically powerless or going against the grain of progress, so it's more a stylistic issue. I can heartily recommend this as a very easy to read history of the period, even if it is from the perspective of royalty. 'Serious History' folk might find the language a little flowery at times, and a few assertions a little poorly evidenced. Everyone else will love it and learn a lot.
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