cover image The Queen: A Life in Brief

The Queen: A Life in Brief

Robert Lacey. Harper Perennia, $15.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-0-06-212446-3

Veteran royal historian Lacey bases this slim volume—the latest in a slew of books marking Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee—on his acclaimed bestsellers Majesty and Monarch. All three books include numerous off-the-record interviews that Lacey conducted with friends, advisers, and members of the royal family. As he puts it, “this little book is intended to distill and reshape what I’ve learned into one pleasant afternoon’s reading....” Elizabeth II’s reign is seen in more than 40 color and b&w photos and drawings. To encapsulate Elizabeth in six short chapters, Lacey opens with her 1929 appearance on a Time cover at age three. After her worldwide radio broadcast in 1940 caused “radio switchboards across America to be jammed with requests for repeats,” it became a bestselling BBC phonograph record: “In a time of danger, people yearned for reassurance from on high.” Lacey continues this anecdotal journey into the “second Elizabethan age” from what one observer called the “spiritual exultation” of her 1953 coronation to the eve of this year’s Diamond Jubilee. Effectively editing from his insider interviews, Lacey employs a meticulous, fluid writing style that steers clear of tabloid-type sensationalism for a restrained, dignified approach and a level of intimacy with more than a few emotional peaks. Agent: Grainne Fox, Fletcher & Co. (June)