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The Windsors at War

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Learned a lot about history I had not heard of before. Surprising me and got me interested in The Crown so I watched the series on Netflix
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By Alexander Larman

Alexander Larman writes an outstanding biography of the British Monarchy in this installment covering the time of the Second World War - at war with Germany and also within the family and its vast turmoil.

The writing was fascinating with incredible detail about the family during this tumultuous time. I’m a huge fan. One of the best biographies of the Royal Family
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thank you St Martins press and netgalley for an alc and arc in exchange for an honest review. 

This was an in-depth look at Britain's Royal Family in the middle of WW2. The stories were very intriguing, the deceit  and dysfunction. As well as being connected to Germany during that time as Nazi sympathies.
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The subject matter in this book is so intriguing to me. Unfortunately, it was a bit more difficult to read than I had hoped. I started reading it at the beginning of 2023 and still haven't finished, now in July. I think this is more of a book that you come back to every once in a while rather than read in one fell swoop of consecutive reading. I'll continue to read through it because it is so well researched and I'm still interested in the subject matter.
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The Duke of Windsor’s connections with the Nazis are no longer danced around but point blank discussed by pretty much everyone everywhere. However, few authors are quite as thorough as Larman. He examines the Windsors’ movements and actions beginning with the abdication and ending with the decade following the war. I very much appreciated that while David and Wallis are in focus, he also trains his lens on other key players, like The King, The Queen, and Churchill.

Prior to reading this, I would say that I had a fairly in depth knowledge of David and Wallis’ wartime escapades. However, what I did not know is the extent to which their aristocratic friends both strongly agreed and disagreed with them. There were several jaw-dropping moments while reading this book, and that is something that I did not expect.  

Larman’s previous book, The Crown in Crisis: Countdown to the Abdication, is also a must-read if you have not already. 

Larman is a journalist and not an historian, which does make for a different type of book. It also differs from the number of glowing royal biographies that have been released in the last year to mark the Platinum Jubilee and then the late Queen’s passing. All in all, a well-written, fascinating book.

I think that it is incredibly notable that in the weeks prior to the sovereign’s coronation, we have a book publishing on a former sovereign’s Nazi ties- the monarchy no longer holds the same position that it did in the 1950s during the last coronation. Obviously, King Edward VIII abdicated, but it still seems unthinkable that someone would have even conceived of a book like this in 1953.
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My actual rating for myself reading this is 3 stars - BUT I'm giving it 4 stars because the book itself was very interesting, but the style was just a little too boring for my taste. And because of that I found it so dry and relatively difficult to get through.
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I've enjoyed both of these books; both present a lot of very interesting material, some of it quite new to me, and they are written in a clear style that makes for easy reading. The British government and royalty from the early Prince o' Wales bistro world to George & Winston's WWII bravery, are well written and and informative; both are well worth reading IMO.
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4 stars

I don't read a lot of non-fiction though if I do it typically has something to do with a royal family or WWII well this has both. 

This book talks about the relationship between King George VI and his brother Edward who used to be the king. This book picks up with Edward and Wallis getting married and living in exile. No one will have anything to do with them so they chose to gravitate towards Hitler who figures he can use them to his advantage.

Edward didn't think he did anything wrong and thought he deserved better. This was written very much like Erik Larson's style of books. The flow of the book was great I enjoyed reading it and will probably read more from this author. 

Thank you to Netgalley and St, Martin's Press for an eARC in exchange for an honest review
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My thanks to Net Galley for a copy of this book.
“The Windsors at War” , byAlexander Lackman is a very  readable and informative presentation of the strains the abdication of Edward as King put on the Royal Family in Great Britain and on the nation. When Edward’s younger brother “ Bertie” acceded to the throne , it was quite an undertaking to a man unprepared to lead his nation , especially as War loomed. He had little self-confidence which was reflected in the feelings of many Royal  retainers who wondered at Henry  V I capabilities. As most people know thanks to the film “ The King’s Speech”, he struggled mightily to master his stutter, shyness and feelings of inferiority, and succeeded. Having to deal with Edward ,  Duke of Windsor,  was an irritant that continued through the War. All this is thoroughly covered. 
 As the book demonstrated, Windsor was self-centered, haughty, careless of his choice of friends and waspish when thwarted in his calls for a better allowance. Furthermore, evidence is presented that he was more than a bit sympathetic to Hitler, speaking of his wishes for England and Germany as natural allies against communism. He had friends who literally conspired with the Reich . The Duke did make himself useful when shuffled off to the Bahamas as governor, but was ever the playboy dilettante , destaining the press coverage he attracted while moving in cafe society. 
“ The War of the Windsors” is a worthwhile book. The author is no fan of Edward, but does make an effort to keep an even hand , not always succeeding, though. It is not a long, deep history of Britain during the war years, but it does illustrate how the Duke of Windsor was an irritant, a thorne in the Royal family’s side. It is noted, re the current business with Harry and Megan, that once in the Family, always a member, a burden or a blessing carried forever.
 A pleasure to read, and recommended.
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I could not finish enough of this book to be able to leave a comprehensive review, but I hope it finds its audience and I am grateful to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an advance copy.
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Following "The Crown in Crisis", Alexander Larman gives us an extremely interesting fact-filled account of King George VI (Bertie) and his brother Edward (David), Duke of Windsor's strained relationship after Edward abdicated the throne and thru the turmoil of WWII. 
This book contains never before seen information, much of which comes in the form of personal letters written between the two brothers at this tumultuous time. 
What an eye-opener this book has proven to be!! While I had already formed my opinion on the abdication and on David himself from previous books I have read. This one just reinforced my opinion that David was a self-centered, whiney, narcissist whose actions were completely self-serving and dangerous. No wonder King George VI was on pins and needles over his strained relationship with his brother, he never knew what he would do or say next, it was like waiting for a volcano to erupt, not knowing when or how bad it would be. 
No matter how often David sang his own praises that the people of England wanted him back as king and that he made a better king than his brother, I believe he had not an ounce of loyalty in him, not to crown or country, certainly not to family, and his only loyalties lie unto himself and his own pleasure and comfort. That he was easily influenced by Hitler and the Nazi party is no real surprise, he mostly comes across as a weak-minded, immature, child-man who could easily be persuaded by sweet talk and glitz!! 
All in all this is a non-fiction book filled with facts that reads as easily as a fiction novel. If you like reading about the royal family, WWII and uneasy relationships, this is a book for you. I very much enjoyed both books by this author and recommend you read them both in order, although if you don't this one is filled with enough background detail that you won't be lost. 
Thank you to St. Martin's Press and to Net Galley for the free ARC, I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.
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An excellent follow-up to The Crown in Crisis, in which David and Wallis misbehave in ways that threaten Great Britain’s safety during World War II. Abdicating was the best thing he ever did for his country.
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I missed reading the first book about the Windsors by Alexander Larman, but this recent book was so full of details that I didn’t feel as if I came in in the middle of a story.  Having already read quite a bit about England and Winston Churchill and WWII, I recognized many of the names within the pages of this book.

Having said that, I was hoping for more writing about the two brothers and their relationship, but in this book it seemed their relationship mostly consisted of letters and their staff carrying messages to each brother from the other.

I can understand the problem Edward presented during the war, having abdicated and needing to step aside to let George lead the country.  Edward seemed blind to the fact that by abdicating he would lose his power and prestige.  It was hard not to feel as if he was the big whiner all through the book, and constantly straddling the fence as to where his true loyalty lay.  Personally, I feel he was loyal only to himself.

Reading this over 60 years later in history, it seems so silly that Wallis was treated so badly, yet now they are more willing to accept divorce and other scruples within the royal family.  I could not help feeling that had the family accepted the marriage, they could have let Edward remain in England and kept more control over his activities and immediately put an end to his questionable behavior.

Readers who love History and WWII will find this interesting.  I plan to read his first book at some point, just to get more background on the time when Edward abdicated.

Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to read an advance copy.
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This well-researched non-fiction includes information from newly released sources such as letters and previously sealed documents. It deals with primarily with the difficult relationship between David and the King in the years after the abdication through the war..
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This is an interesting book about the Royal Family just before and during WWII. All the major players are there with all their issues and problems. It’s a history book, not historical fiction, although some of the things that went on read like historical fiction.
What separates this book from other history books are all of the quotes the author puts gives us. 
They come from letters, telegrams, diaries, etc., and they give you a real glimpse into the real people on the page. 4 stars.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed as in this review are completely my own.
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The Windsors at War
The King, His Brother, and a Family Divided
by Alexander Larman
Pub Date 18 Apr 2023 
 St. Martins Press
 Biographies & Memoirs  |  History  |  Nonfiction (Adult) 

The Windsors At War has been provided to me by St. Martin's Press, in conjunction with Netgalley:

Alexander Larman continues his biographical account of the Windsor family as they struggle against Adolf Hitler and each other throughout World War II.

The British monarchy was in turmoil at the beginning of 1937. Edward VIII abdicated the throne, leaving his frightened and unprepared brother Bertie to become George VI, surrounded by a gaggle of courtiers and politicians who barely considered him capable. As the now-Duke of Windsor awaited the decree that would permit him to marry his mistress Wallis Simpson, he became increasingly concerned with Adolf Hitler's expansionist plans. Perhaps he even went so far as to betray his country. As double agents and Nazi spies thronged the corridors of Buckingham Palace, Winston Churchill was the only man the King could trust. Their adversary, however, was formidable, perhaps even unbeatable: his own brother.

With a fresh focus on the royal family, their conflicted relationships, and the events which rocked the international press, The Windsors at War reveals the never-before-told story of World War Two in Britain and America. What led this dysfunctional, squabbling family to put aside their differences in order to unite to help win the greatest war of their lives? The Crown in Crisis author Alexander Larman now chronicles the Windsor family's conflict with Germany and their relationship with one another.

I give The Windsors At War five out of five Stars!

Happy Reading!
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An interesting and informative read. As someone who enjoys both biographies and historical nonfiction, this was a great mix of both. A more detailed review will be coming soon.
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Title:  The Windsors at War
Author: Alexander Larman
Release Date: April 19th, 2023
Page Count: 660
Format: Netgalley and Audiobook
Start Date: April 8th, 2023
Finish Date: April 16th, 2023

Rating: 4 Stars


There was a lot of things in this book that I wasn't aware of before. Some things that were referenced I'd learned from other methods. I wasn't aware that this was a "sequel" until I'd already started the book. It doesn't really affect anything. I did however buy the other book in audiobook so that I can go back and listen to it when I'm able to. Especially with all of the references to that book that were made in this one. Definitely a history book that's worth the read. 

Important to Note: Nonfiction book about WW2
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Well, alrighty then. 
This book picks up where the first book leaves off and WHOOSH, what a wild ride. I learned so much [much of it NOT good in regards to the the Duke of Windsor {COULD he have been a bigger whiner? I highly doubt it}, which really shouldn't be a surprise to ANYONE] and with the way the book ends, I am hoping for a book 3. ;-) 

If you love history [including British history], are interested in the Monarchy [especially before and during WW2], and want to learn things that have never really been talked about, this book is for you [I highly recommend that you read the author's first book "The Crown in Crisis" before diving into this book]. I highly recommend it. 

I was lucky enough to have my audiobook request granted and WOW, what a great narrator. I would have loved this book regardless, but the great narration was just icing on the cake. Sophie Roberts does an amazing job and I can only hope that I find other books to read that she narrates. 

Thank you to NetGalley, Alexander Larman, Sophie Roberts - Narrator, St. Martin's Press and Macmillan Audio for providing both the book and audiobook ARCS in exchange for an honest review.
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As a young and impressionable teenager back at the dawn of time or the 1960s, I, like so many others, was held under the thrall of the terribly romantic story about a King who gave up his throne for the woman he loved.  It was only as I learned more throughout my years and as more information leaked out, I became aware at how erroneous that image was.  This was a man whose hubris and ego was unmatched.  Not unlike his Great-Great Nephew today, he wanted his cake and to eat it too.  Anyone who dared to suggest he make a decision and stand by it was at best a fool and at worst an enemy.  He was a thoroughly despicable man.

He was also a very dangerous man.  And when George VI took the throne, it was the best thing that could have happened to the world.  The thought of Edward as King in WWII is unthinkable.  He was a Nazi friend and sympathizer from the mid 1930s and he became a willing pawn of theirs as war approached and while the author does not state without any doubt that he was a traitor, there is some solid evidence to indicate that is not out the realm of possibility.

This is a “tell it like it is” book that pulls few punches.  By the time war was declared even his most ardent supporters at the time of his abdication realized what sort of man he was.  Vitriolic, narcissistic, self serving and vile.  Any lingering remnants of empathy for the Duke and Duchess that might have emerged from The Crown will be dashed forever.  Too bad history has to repeat itself.  Five purrs and two paws up.
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