Cover Image: The Windsors at War

The Windsors at War

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Member Reviews

The Windsors at War, by Alexander Larman is an exhaustively researched, thoroughly detailed account of the events in Great Britain from 1937 to 1945, a period which includes World War II. The book focuses on the dysfunction of the ruling Windsor family of Great Britain and its effect on wartime politics. At the end of 1936, Edward VIII abdicated his throne because, “I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.” Edward was considered the nominal head of the Church of England, which would not allow him to marry a divorced woman whose former spouse was still alive. The Church, the British government, and the public were all against the marriage. Edward’s younger brother, Prince Albert, assumed the throne following the abdication. Although he had served in the in the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force during World War I, Albert was rather shy and had suffered from a serious stammer since childhood, a malady that caused him extreme embarrassment. Because he was the second son, he never anticipated becoming king and worried about replacing his well-spoken and popular (until the abdication) older brother. 

Edward’s abdication was an embarrassment for the crown and he and his wife, the former Wallis Simpson, were not welcome in Great Britain. There were hard feelings all around. Adding to the poor situation was Edward’s interest in Hitler and his expansionist plans. His visits to Germany at a time when the rest of Europe, including his homeland, were contemplating war against Hitler caused a large media sensation. As Edward’s brother, now King George VI, and his counselors tried assiduously to come up with ways to deal with Edward, Edward became more and more bitter at what he considered his unacceptable treatment by his family. 
Larman did an astounding amount of research for the book, and it shows in his attention to detail, his explanations of each personage, and the background information given regarding many circumstances. The treatise reads easily but is dense with detail. At over 400 pages, it may not be suitable for the casual reader. I enjoyed it tremendously, but I have a substantial interest in European and American history of this time period. 

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and Alexander Larman for the ARC of this book.
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The Windsors at War by Alexander Larman was very interesting. 
This book, so well researched and written, did not disappoint!
An interesting story of World War Two in Britain and America with a fresh focus on the royal family.
This provides a vivid picture of the life, politics, crisis and the monarchy during WWII, 
History has always been a favorite of mine. And this was a fascinating read. 

"I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."

St. Martin's Press,
Thank You for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this eARC!
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This is a fascinating look at the behaviour of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor during WWII.
Spoiled, entitled and ignorant are the nicest things I can say.
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.
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An enthralling look at the Windsor family during World War 2. The author conveys the complex relationships, the lackluster economy, and the endurance of a family that is not always united.  Interesting, wonderfully descriptive and intriguing.
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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.

The book is a fascinating and well-researched insight into the dysfunctional royal family and world politics during World War II.

I’ll admit my motivation for reading this was Wallis Simpson.  When I was much younger and learned that a king abdicated his throne for her, I thought how romantic!  Turns out, it was perhaps a less than happily-ever-after ending.  Wallis felt contempt for Edward who was never able to convince the royal family to accept her, much less provide her with the title of Her Royal Highness.  They began their life together as pariahs in the royal family as well as much of society.  While Edward still loved her deeply and remained loyal to her, she held him in disdain.  Perhaps it was a match made in heaven as the two certainly deserved each other.  They were totally obsessed with only themselves and had no compassion for what England was going through during World War II.  Edward constantly squabbled with his brother, the king, over money and royal titles while London and Buckingham Palace were under siege and being bombed.  

The book moves into Edward and Wallis’ Nazi sympathies, touches on the Marburg File and describes Hitler’s plots to perhaps reinstate Edward on the throne.  The book conveys multiple facets of the story as it details conversations and correspondence between the royals, their staff, friends and politicians, giving more than one side of the story.

In the end, Edward was a despicable man driven by his loss of power and greediness, who most likely betrayed his country.  Wallis’ illusions of grandeur were the flames that ignited Edward.

As a complete side note, Edward was fond of gifting Wallis with exquisite one-of-a-kind jewelry.  Take a look at her collection:
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Absolutely absorbing and hard to put down nonfiction look at the Duke and Duchess of Windsor during WWII. While Charles III may have feet of clay, this book shows a man and woman completely absorbed with themselves, their lifestyle, and rank during one of the most terrible conflicts of the 20th century.
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I found this book to contain a lot of information I had read about before, but it also contained a lot of new--to me--information as well.  It was rather depressing to read this book, about a man who had had the world as his oyster, but didn't have the internal fortitude and resolution to do the job he had been groomed for, for decades!  He was so wishy-washy, wanting the acclaim of being the Prince of Wales, and then King/Emperor, but frittered away his time and money on selfish whims, and later on, being enamored of various married women, one of whom eventually became his wife, after he had abdicated his throne to be with her.  They were a rather sad pair of immature socialites, and drifted aimlessly most of their lives together.  Windsor didn't want the work of being King, but he did like the adulation afforded his rank, and missed that forever.  All in all, he did the British empire a huge favor by abdicating in favor of his younger brother, who, despite NOT being trained for the job, learned as he went on, and made a great King for his country and empire.  That didn't sit well with the former king either!

My thanks to NetGalley for sending me an ARC of this ebook for review; all opinions expressed are my own.
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What a super read. Well researched and written. It brought the personalities of all of the Windsors, good and bad, into a believable story. We all have heard about Edward and Wallaces relationship and how he abdicated. But what we don't know is their involvement with Facism and Hitler. A really great book.
This copy was provided by NetGalley the opinion expressed here is solely my own,
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I have not read the first volume of Larman's work but I was excited to have the opportunity to read this volume. Thank you to St. Martin's Press. As someone who is pretty interested in the Royal Family, I appreciated Larman's addition to the narrative. I felt that this was helpful in clarifying some of the interpersonal relationships without it overpowering the actual facts or job of the royals. 

I didn't feel as though King George VI got as much attention as Edward VIII did, or even as much as Churchill, but overall I enjoyed this work.
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The Windsors at War: The King, His Brother, and a Family Divided by Alexander Larman is a great nonfiction and historical account of the complicated and fascinating look into the royal family and their differed beliefs during WWII. 

I really enjoyed Mr. Larman’s previous book, The Crown in Crisis, so of course I wanted to delve further. I love anything involving the current English Monarchy, but also anything from the past lineages as well, so this was a great combination. 

I already knew quite a bit about the personal beliefs and actions between the two brothers and their respective camps, but this definitely delves even deeper. Drawing on historical documents, interviews, journals, and additional archives and research, we can really get a more-rounded look at Edward VIII ( Duke of Windsor) and King George VI, their own beliefs, and how their families and individual relationship faired in respect to these controversial subjects. 


5/5 stars 

Thank you NG and St Martin’s Press for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 4/18/23.
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I absolutely loved this book.  I've read about the Windsors extensively, and the there were things revealed I never read about.  I always knew there was extreme tension between King George and the Duke of Windsor, however I didn't realize the Germans were hoping to use Edward to overthrow the King.  It also gave a look into the relationship and sympathy Edward had with Germany and Adolf Hitler.  If you are interested about WWII, this is a great read.
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The Windsors at War by Alexander Larman is a meticulously researched book drawing on letters, government papers, diaries, memoirs, and news reports.  George VI and his Queen had to deal with a government that at first determined appeasement of Hitler’s European expansion would satisfy him, while also still dealing with the ongoing machinations of George’s brother, formerly Edward VII, now Duke of Windsor.  Was the Duke a true Nazi believer or simply a pawn? The general outline of how the war years played out is mostly common knowledge.  This volume goes deeply into how the things that occurred were processed and dealt with.  The back and forth communication between the brothers is fascinating as are the quoted comments from other government sources.  In other words, readers often are aware of the what, the when and the where.  They now get to delve deeply into the why that was concealed from the general public for years.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance copy of this book from NetGalley.  Most highly recommend.
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