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The Windsors at War

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Member Reviews

I know more about the current Windsors, but I didn't know a lot about Queen Elizabeth's dad and her uncle besides the bare minimum. It was fun and interesting to see how they made it through the war and how they were able to hold the country together. While also dealing with the big messy family issue of her uncle abdicating the throne and dealing with Wallis and the other issues that came with them. It was a little precarious at times, but it helped me understand a little bit more about how the British Monarchy works currently and how they got to this point.
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I’m a big fan of the Netflix show The Crown and its storylines. One was about the role Prince Edward and his American wife Wallis Simpson played in WWII. The Windsors at War is a detailed, well-researched account of the couple from the time they left England after the abdication until the end of the war. It’s fascinating in its details and certainly kills the fairy tale of a romantic king giving it all up for love.
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I’ve read several books about Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, and the uproar brought on by his abdication in order to marry the woman he loved. So I was wondering if Alexander Larman’s book could tell me anything I hadn’t read before. And I’m happy to say that it could. The idea of telling the story as, basically, the story of a dysfunctional family during a time of crisis, was a new and welcome perspective. The book is wonderfully informative and readable, with lots of interesting details about the Royal Family and Britain during the war years. Definitely a book I’ll be recommending. Thanks so much to the publisher and NetGalley for giving me the chance to discover a new favorite author.
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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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