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Victoria: An Intimate Biography

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A major biography of Queen Victoria--the first complete life of her in over twenty years--and the first to be written by an American. Illustrated.


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A major biography of Queen Victoria--the first complete life of her in over twenty years--and the first to be written by an American. Illustrated.

30 review for Victoria: An Intimate Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dagmar1927

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. As someone who casually reads enormous books for fun (who needs a life when you've got history?) I like my biographies of Queen Victoria to be very, very long and very, very detailed. Hence the five stars. This book certainly fits both of those categories, but I found it very easy to read despite the length and, when I'd finished, went straight back to the beginning to hoover up any knowledge I might have missed the first time. However, I do have one small criticism. The index is pretty awful for As someone who casually reads enormous books for fun (who needs a life when you've got history?) I like my biographies of Queen Victoria to be very, very long and very, very detailed. Hence the five stars. This book certainly fits both of those categories, but I found it very easy to read despite the length and, when I'd finished, went straight back to the beginning to hoover up any knowledge I might have missed the first time. However, I do have one small criticism. The index is pretty awful for such a long book. The catagories should be in alphabetical, not chronological order and sorted into categories. If you haven't quite got your head around the identities of Missy, Mossy, Minny, Ducky, Toria, Snipe and the rest of them, perhaps this book is not the best place to start, as royal nicknames can be extremely confusing. Minny, for example, is actually Princess Dagmar of Denmark, later Empress Marie Feodorovna, wife of Alexander III. With such an enormous family tree to contend with, you might want to read a more simple book about Queen Victoria before embarking upon this particular voyage of discovery, but it's worth it in the end. Trust me. I've been doing it since I was thirteen. In my opinion, this book is up with my 'Big Four' of Queen Victoria biographies, which would be a compliment if I were a famous analytical historian with thousands of important publications to my name. However, as a slightly sad eighteen year old with a slight (!) QV obsession, I still love it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Corinne Apezteguia

    The subject matter in this book is very interesting, especially the material that includes her husband before his passing. I remember thinking her life would make a good movie, then someone said they had made a movie about Victoria's early life. (I found and really enjoyed the movie-- The Young Victoria) After her husband exits the scene, I found both the writing and the subject painfully boring. It did get better, but Weintraub tends to skip around a lot (which is confusing), his style is dry, a The subject matter in this book is very interesting, especially the material that includes her husband before his passing. I remember thinking her life would make a good movie, then someone said they had made a movie about Victoria's early life. (I found and really enjoyed the movie-- The Young Victoria) After her husband exits the scene, I found both the writing and the subject painfully boring. It did get better, but Weintraub tends to skip around a lot (which is confusing), his style is dry, and the book seems to go on forever (622 pages! whew!). That said, if one could find a better biography of Victoria, it would be worth it. Her early life is especially interesting. Or better yet, a biography about her husband, Prince Albert. One of the things I love about biographies is all the collateral history I absorb-- its so much easier to remember events in history when I can put them in the context of someone's life.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ilka

    I didn't know a lot about Queen Victoria herself before going into this book, although I'm fairly familiar with the time during which she reigned, so this book was very informative, if nothing else. Sadly, though, at times it also felt plodding. I don't expect biographies to be action-packed or suspenseful, but at times I wondered if I read sections more than once because it all seemed to be very repetitive. Sections of this book certainly could have been condensed to make it more enjoyable. Nev I didn't know a lot about Queen Victoria herself before going into this book, although I'm fairly familiar with the time during which she reigned, so this book was very informative, if nothing else. Sadly, though, at times it also felt plodding. I don't expect biographies to be action-packed or suspenseful, but at times I wondered if I read sections more than once because it all seemed to be very repetitive. Sections of this book certainly could have been condensed to make it more enjoyable. Nevertheless, I learned a lot about a woman fascinating especially in her contradictions and now really want to know more about her husband, Albert.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cece

    Queen Victoria is remembered as a little, round widow wreathed in black, and gave her name to an era now considered to be strait-laced and oppressively moral. However, Victoria was passionately in love with her husband and consort, Albert, and only after his death did she retreat into decades of mourning. Carefully marrying her nine children and several grandchildren into most of the major royal families in Europe, she influenced politics and morals all over the continent. This is a well-researc Queen Victoria is remembered as a little, round widow wreathed in black, and gave her name to an era now considered to be strait-laced and oppressively moral. However, Victoria was passionately in love with her husband and consort, Albert, and only after his death did she retreat into decades of mourning. Carefully marrying her nine children and several grandchildren into most of the major royal families in Europe, she influenced politics and morals all over the continent. This is a well-researched biography that often reads like a novel, and reveals Victoria as a multi-faceted woman at the pinnacle of her times.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    A very good biography, and the first substantive bio written by an American author. I had always heard about Queen Victoria and the Victorian era, but I had no idea! Victoria was the Queen for a long time (1937-2000) and weathered many challenges at home and abroad. Her husband, the Prince Consort Albert, gave her many children and great service until his untimely death in 1861. So, as a widow Queen for 40 years, Victoria had a hard time managing her grief and her duties as the Sovereign of Engl A very good biography, and the first substantive bio written by an American author. I had always heard about Queen Victoria and the Victorian era, but I had no idea! Victoria was the Queen for a long time (1937-2000) and weathered many challenges at home and abroad. Her husband, the Prince Consort Albert, gave her many children and great service until his untimely death in 1861. So, as a widow Queen for 40 years, Victoria had a hard time managing her grief and her duties as the Sovereign of England.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Eli

    This is an epic book, a representation not only of Queen Victoria, but of the rapidly-changing England she ruled. Apart from falling prey to the classic biographer's blunders of 1) including too much detail (just because Lady So-and-so's diary tells you what the Queen had for dinner every night doesn't mean you need to tell us about it) and 2) assuming that everyone reading the book knows as much about British royalty and their various titles and duties as he does, Weintraub does a good job of p This is an epic book, a representation not only of Queen Victoria, but of the rapidly-changing England she ruled. Apart from falling prey to the classic biographer's blunders of 1) including too much detail (just because Lady So-and-so's diary tells you what the Queen had for dinner every night doesn't mean you need to tell us about it) and 2) assuming that everyone reading the book knows as much about British royalty and their various titles and duties as he does, Weintraub does a good job of portraying this legendary monarch.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    After seeing The Young Victoria on a plane, I decided I wanted to read a biography. The book was too long and too confusing for someone who doesn't know all the details of how the government was run in 19th century England. Plus, I found Victoria to be somewhat annoying. After seeing The Young Victoria on a plane, I decided I wanted to read a biography. The book was too long and too confusing for someone who doesn't know all the details of how the government was run in 19th century England. Plus, I found Victoria to be somewhat annoying.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I thought the beginning of this book was good, Victoria struggling to become Queen. I thought the rest of the book was very boring and I found myself skipping pages and even whole chapters just to get it over with, cause I knew I had better books to read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Justine

    A dutiful biography but neither compelling nor clear. Lots of detail but too frustrating trying to keep all the dukes straight. I put it down a few chapters in and went to We Two instead.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel

    I thought this was a fairly pedestrian biography - quite detailed without being very interesting or exciting. I liked some of the information, but wouldn't recommend it as a fun read. I thought this was a fairly pedestrian biography - quite detailed without being very interesting or exciting. I liked some of the information, but wouldn't recommend it as a fun read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Janelle

    At times, this book lagged on a bit more than I would like, but given the subject matter (i.e. a 60+ year reign), perhaps that was inevitable. I sometimes felt sympathy for the subject was a bit lacking and that names were being called without much evidence as to why they should be. I am willing to believe claims the Queen was demanding and histronic, and that such behavior strained not only her authority over the nation, but also her personal relationships...but I would like to see more account At times, this book lagged on a bit more than I would like, but given the subject matter (i.e. a 60+ year reign), perhaps that was inevitable. I sometimes felt sympathy for the subject was a bit lacking and that names were being called without much evidence as to why they should be. I am willing to believe claims the Queen was demanding and histronic, and that such behavior strained not only her authority over the nation, but also her personal relationships...but I would like to see more accounts of her actual behavior as opposed to criticism without description. On the other hand, about the time I got tired of both Victoria as a subject and Weintraub as a biographer, one of Victoria's shining moments (usually related to the Britain at war) would emerge to make both far more interesting. I think perhaps a book that focuses on this aspect of her reign while less true to the overall subject might make for more enjoyable reading. This book also convinced me that of the royal pair, Albert is far less visible and far more interesting as both a biographical subject and a ruler. I have a bit of a feeling that he may well be an unsung national treasure, in spite of the tedium of Victoria constantly forwarding him as such. I also learned that anyone reading a lengthy history of the monarchy is prone to Merck Manual Disorder. There are a LOT of unpleasant diseases to be gone through in little time. That will probably be the impression of this book that lingers with me longest, unfortunately. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this book was an excellent source of insight not only into the history of Great Britain in general and England in particular, but into the history of European monarchy as a whole. It shed new and unexpected light over the first and second World Wars and the relations between nations. That is why this book will remain on my shelves as a resource in spite of the unlikelihood it will be reached for during hours of leisure.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Vincent Lombardo

    This book is indeed an INTIMATE biography of Queen Victoria! Weintraub focuses relentlessly and obsessively on Queen Victoria the person, but gives short shrift to the times and events surrounding her. He frequently mentions a law or crisis, but never provides any detail or context; he assumes that the reader knows the history of that period (1817-1901). Many times I went to other sources to find out what he was talking about. He also does something I absolutely HATE: he often uses a German or This book is indeed an INTIMATE biography of Queen Victoria! Weintraub focuses relentlessly and obsessively on Queen Victoria the person, but gives short shrift to the times and events surrounding her. He frequently mentions a law or crisis, but never provides any detail or context; he assumes that the reader knows the history of that period (1817-1901). Many times I went to other sources to find out what he was talking about. He also does something I absolutely HATE: he often uses a German or French word or expression, but never translates. The first half of the book deals mainly with Victoria and her relationship with Prince Albert, the love of her life, and ends with his death (1840-1861). I read the first half carefully and enjoyed it. (I guess I am just a romantic.) The second half is devoted to the rest of her life, without Albert,(1861-1901), and deals with her relationships with her children, grandchildren, Disraeli, Gladstone, and John Brown. Weintraub toggles between the private Victoria and the public Victoria, and the narrative is choppy and flat. I did not find the second half as interesting and skimmed much of it. If you want to know EVERYTHING about Queen Victoria the Woman, read this book. If not, look elsewhere.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joyce M. Tice

    Thorougly enjoyed this detailed account of the life of Victoria.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    An excellent modern biography of the Queen—although reading about her as an adult I did not like her nearly as much as I did when I was younger. She was a lousy mother, for instance, and she could be very selfish. On the other hand, I learned a great deal more about her—how difficult her childhood was for instance, and this biography dealt more fully with post-Albert years, which consisted of most of her reign, whereas many biographies tend to gloss over that and lump it as one unchanging period An excellent modern biography of the Queen—although reading about her as an adult I did not like her nearly as much as I did when I was younger. She was a lousy mother, for instance, and she could be very selfish. On the other hand, I learned a great deal more about her—how difficult her childhood was for instance, and this biography dealt more fully with post-Albert years, which consisted of most of her reign, whereas many biographies tend to gloss over that and lump it as one unchanging period.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gayle

    I really enjoyed this biography, written in a narrative style, focusing on Queen Victoria's personal & family life. It was a bit tedious in places and tended to be a bit confusing in places, due to run on sentences and a bit of bouncing back and forward between time periods. All this considered, it was well worth the read. Because of the length, I read it in sections, interspersed with other books. I really enjoyed this biography, written in a narrative style, focusing on Queen Victoria's personal & family life. It was a bit tedious in places and tended to be a bit confusing in places, due to run on sentences and a bit of bouncing back and forward between time periods. All this considered, it was well worth the read. Because of the length, I read it in sections, interspersed with other books.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    Read for some more background on how Kaiser Wilhelm II and his grandmother interacted and got along, or didn't as the case may be, during their reigns. Read for a German history paper. An older book on the life of Queen Victoria. It has the basics of any other book on the Queen and her reign. This author does try to describe more of how she lived and interacted with her husband, children, government, and other family members. Parts of it seemed to go on forever, while others didn't have enough in Read for some more background on how Kaiser Wilhelm II and his grandmother interacted and got along, or didn't as the case may be, during their reigns. Read for a German history paper. An older book on the life of Queen Victoria. It has the basics of any other book on the Queen and her reign. This author does try to describe more of how she lived and interacted with her husband, children, government, and other family members. Parts of it seemed to go on forever, while others didn't have enough information for me. This is definitely not a good book to start with when wanting to know more about Queen Victoria but parts of it are informative and a good read to add more to the life of this popular British ruler.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lora

    Reading this book really blew my 25 book challenge, and I even skipped a couple chapters, but I really enjoyed learning more about Victoria and the relation between the monarchy and the political system and the people. Some of it was way over my head, and I think a less detailed account of her life probably would have been better for me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rhode

    I admit, I got bored. Part was the writing,but part was the subject who became so stiff, isolated and prudish. However it was useful to learn how unpopular she was during many parts of her reign. She was not a universally beloved home run by any means.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jeannine

    Overly long and detailed biography about a not-so-interesting person. Gave up around page 300.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Helen

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kris

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mary Morevna

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Huston

  24. 5 out of 5

    Megan

  25. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

  26. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  27. 5 out of 5

    Selene

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  29. 5 out of 5

    Karen

  30. 4 out of 5

    Briana Maritte

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