King Edward VIII: A Biography

Philip Ziegler, Author Alfred A. Knopf $24.95 (552p) ISBN 978-0-394-57730-2
Granted unrestricted access to the royal archives at Windsor, Ziegler ( Mountbatten ) in this elegantly written biography offers new material about Edward's years as Prince of Wales, his brief reign, his governorship of the Bahamas and the sad exile as Duke of Windsor. Succeeding to the throne on the death of his father, George V, Edward VIII reigned for less than a year. His abdication was the climax of a crisis precipitated by his announced intention of marrying Wallis Simpson, an American then suing her second husband for divorce. Ziegler presents her in a wholly unfavorable light: ruthless, voracious, shallow, greedy. He is much kinder to Edward, portrayed here as a charming lightweight who lacked discretion and a sense of proportion. Ziegler makes poignantly clear the magnitude of his sacrifice, especially in regard to the breach with the royal family, and the fortitude with which he defended the duchess throughout their 36 years of marriage. In the end, however, the biographer laments: ``There is so much he could have done; he did so little.'' Photos. 55,000 first printing; BOMC alternate. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Paperback - 620 pages - 978-0-345-37563-6
Hardcover - 654 pages - 978-0-00-215741-4
Paperback - 654 pages - 978-0-7509-2747-5
Paperback - 672 pages - 978-0-00-748101-9
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