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Christina, Queen of Sweden: The Restless Life of a European Eccentric

3.27 of 5 stars 3.27  ·  rating details  ·  188 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Not unlike the elusive figure played by Greta Garbo, the real Queen Christina stood among the most flamboyant and controversial figures of the seventeenth century. All of Sweden could not contain her ambition or quench her thirst for adventure. Freed from her crown, she cut a breathtaking path across Europe -- spending madly, seeking out a more majestic throne, and stirrin ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published September 27th 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published 2004)
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Jo Walton
It's a lie that all biographers and in love with their subject, and I get the feeling that Buckley doesn't actually like Christina very much. But then it's difficult to write a biography of somebody who didn't achieve anything, who was a monarch and quit, and was then a dilletante. I read this because I came across Christina in an article on poisoning and thought she sounded fascinating -- the book left me feeling she's less fascinating and more pathetic.

I sometimes read biography as an introduc
Having known nothing about Christina at the start of reading this book it was indeed an interesting read in a sense. However, I was frustrated by the author's constant commentary and interpretation of events. Christina was very much the product of her environment but I felt that Buckley put far too much of her own perspective on why Christina said or did this or that without necessarily backing it up with specific documentation. In many sections the author spoke of what an individual like Azzoli ...more
Sonja Isaacson
Buckley is apparently negatively disposed towards Christina. She has obviously done quite a bit of research, but I would expect that if she has spent that much time researching, Buckley wouldn't write off every decision Christina makes as selfish, thoughtless and/or immature.

I am rather surprised on how it seems that nobles were all broke. Didn't anyone ever have to pay their bills? Why didn't the sellers ever say "show me the money"? Apparently accounting was not part of her practical educatio
Christina became Queen of Sweden as a child and abdicated as a young woman. I absolutely hate her. She was a terrible queen and a selfish, pompous, spoiled woman. I was so pleased when she abdicated the throne so she could pursue her Grand Artistic Future, and doubly pleased when it turned out she was no great genius, after all. She died alone, desitute, and despised by most of Europe, which I think fitting for such an annoying person.

The history itself is well-researched and well-written. I usu
Christina the Dabbler
Everyone knows of the great Virgin Queen of England, Elizabeth I. With the “heart and stomach of a king”, she was able to move England into the forefront of the European community. But what of the other Virgin Queen, Christina of Sweden? Born just a generation after Elizabeth, the young Christina succeeded to the throne as a child. Her seemingly great intellect promised the start of a epic age in Sweden, which had become a military power under her father and seemed poised to
Sara W
The three star rating isn't really a reflection on the book itself. It's written well, but Christina was entirely annoying. I just wanted to slap her. She gave up the Swedish crown just to turn around and chase after other crowns. She meddled when she should have been minding her own business, and she showed up in countries when no one wanted her around. I normally would feel sorry for someone like this, but she had no humility whatsoever.
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Haven't read much about her before so this was very interesting and well written. But I absolutely hated her. She was selfish and spoiled.
Lissa Notreallywolf
What I thought is what I am thinking-I am dragging myself through this book with rapt attention to costumes, and the authors repeated judgement that we are dealing with a petulant, perennial child, a typical 'arrested development" bias for viewing gender-different people, whether a matter of outward morphology or internal configuration. Christina's mother was apparently sunk deep in some sort of mental pathology, as were many of her royal relatives, and the fact that Christina, was not-male heir ...more
Christina, Queen of Sweden is doomed to forever be known as the cross-dressing queen who abdicated her Protestant throne and turned to Catholicism. Veronica Buckley explores the quirks of Christina’s personality in “Christina, Queen of Sweden: The Restless Life of a European Eccentric”.

Few books exist revolving around Queen Christina which puts a lot of pressure on Buckley’s writing skills. Luckily, Buckley’s language and flow are smooth, beautiful, and well-written. However, the beginning of “
Edward Podritske
Biography is a part of history but it is the historical context that makes a biographical treatment interesting, contrary to Emerson’s sentiment that all history is biography. Not all biography is so very interesting on its own. Properly, it examines the subject’s life in the context of challenges faced at a particular time and place.

Queen Christina was born to a life of status and privilege at a time when Europe was in tumult. The power nexus of state and religion was being challenged by more s
All too often we can be caught up in this history contained within our borders, particularly when it concerns royal families and other powerful figures. This sceptre isle contains a plethora of stories, myths, legends, heroics, skulduggery, cynicism and downright nastiness to keep anyone entertained for years. How refreshing then that on a whim I picked out Veronica Buckley’s wonderful biography of the 17th century Swedish monarch, Christina, Queen of Sweden. Christina Alexandra was the only sur ...more
Biografia dettagliata, ben scritta e ricca di aneddoti…Cristina, regina di Svezia per un decennio, ci viene presentata come una donna piuttosto bassa di statura, minuta, con un gran sedere ed un naso altrettanto notevole, eppure intelligente e molto colta, appassionata di musica, balletto e teatro, dotata di un fascino del tutto suo, capace di affascinare e suscitare passioni sincere e durature… Fu amata e vanamente richiesta in sposa dal cugino, suo successore, cosi’ come fu adorata dal cardina ...more
I have come to the conclusion that I do not like Queen Christina one bit.

However, this biography is hard to put down. It is full of details and little episodes that really make it come alive. Her life as well as the world she lived in are put into context, and you can't help but turn the next page in order to follow her story. The author obviously spent quite some time researching Christina's life, and I think she did a fine job.
Kaia Landelius
I love Kristina but I really hated this book. Somehow the author makes every single decision she ever made into something selfish and immature and seems unable to entertain the thought that she did ANYTHING good in her life. There are a lot of descriptions of how strange she looks, how people laugh at her clothing choices and so on, and it just made me mad as hell.

I read about 90% of the book before I COULDN'T TAKE MORE.
This book is well written, but what a despicable character! Knowing little about Christina besides that she was eccentric, reputedly lesbian, and abdicated her throne, I expected to learn about someone, if not noble and distinguished, at least interesting. Instead, Christina was petty, arrogant, grasping and insufferable. To her credit, Buckley stays away from the more lascivious rumors about her subject, and writes a good bio of a thoroughly dislikable subject. Try as she might to humanize Chri ...more
The book is well researched and all and all I found it interesting. Christina was a deplorable person and I think the author caught that. While reading the book, it slowly dawned on me that Christina was way ahead of her time. She would have fit in better today with her selfishness and steadfast belief that her opinion was always correct.
The book was well-written and interesting, but it's hard to really get into it because Christina is just not likeable. She was a greedy, petulant, spiteful, immature waste of space and the author obviously feels the same way. It's strange to read a historical book where the historian has no respect at all for the subject. Not that I blame the author, it just makes for slightly more difficult reading. I finished it feeling that Christina didn't even deserve to have this book, or any, written abou ...more
Victoria Witthoff
The book was well-written and interesting, but it's hard to really get into it because Christina is just not likeable. She was a greedy, petulant, spiteful, immature waste of space and the author obviously feels the same way. It's strange to read a historical book where the historian has no respect at all for the subject. Not that I blame the author, it just makes for slightly more difficult reading. I finished it feeling that Christina didn't even deserve to have this book, or any, written abou ...more
On the surface, the story of Christina, the Queen of Sweden who abdicated in order to move to Rome and participate in intellectual and artistic life, sounds like it should make for great reading. Unfortunately, Christina makes for a highly unsympathetic character. She was deeply irresponsible with her considerable power. She acted like pre-teen, rebelling against her principal Chancellor just for rebellion's sake, priding herself on her ability to "dissimulate" while acting like an ass, etc. up ...more
I would have rated the book higher if it wasn't for the thinly veiled disdain the author felt for her subject - Christina. At least this is what I sensed throughout much of the book. I lost count how many times Christina and her actions were described as selfish, foolish, spoiled, petulant etc. All right, I got it the first time, let me make my own conclusions already. I'm glad I didn't end up hating Christina after that unsympathetic portrayal. She was a flawed human being born in a position of ...more
Donna Boultwood
This book was given to me and it's not one I would've bought myself. I struggled to get into Swedish royal history and the immense detail in this book. That said, I got the measure of Christina and felt sorry for her being thrust forward as a young queen. She didn't know who she was or what she wanted, no wonder she wanted to escape. I think she found peace right at the end of her life. Shame she hadn't known that peace, and perhaps met azzolino earlier, as she probably would've made a strong qu ...more
Jul 31, 2008 Christina rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one but the most devoted fans of Queen Christina
Recommended to Christina by: No one - but I wish I could blame someone for this
I have given up.

I spent more than a year trying to work my way through this book.

I really love story of Queen Christina (and not just because we share the same name).

It's a shame Buckley has to ruin it with overwrought, ugly prose.

I have another book about Christina at home that is much better, but out of print. I think it's called "A Psychological Biography of Queen Christina of Sweden." I picked it up at a yard sale more than 10 years ago. And I highly recommend it if you can find it.
Andrew Pessin
I read about half, since my interest was primarily in Christina up to the point of her famous abdication and conversion, not afterwards -- a very splendid book, easily and smoothly written, filled with just the right balance of quirky/titillating personal details, anecdotes, intrigues and more serious history and political analysis -- Christina is a very interesting case study, and Buckley studies her interestingly ....! definitely worth reading for anyone interested in 17th century history ....
Very good biography of an (almost) spectacular woman. I especially enjoyed this book because I've lived in Rome for over a year -- mostly for no longer than 5 weeks at a time -- in various neighborhoods. Much of what Christina saw and did there was very familiar to me.

More to come about René Descartes, her inclination to help persecuted Jews, her father, her abdication, and what kept her from being a really shining star.
Queen Christina was a very interesting woman and I had always wanted to know more about her. This book was somewhat satisfying, though it offers far too much in the way of details and the author judges Christina rather harshly. Despite the book's shortcomings I am glad I read it. Christina was an amazing woman and her life was truly stranger than fiction. (PS – I enjoyed the same author's book about the secret wife of Louis XIV.)
I didn't know anything about her except she was kind of mannish and never married or had children. This is a really good read even though she does not come across as a very likeable person. She killed Rene Descartes! She converted to Catholicism just for the hell of it! (This is kind of brilliant, actually). Very well-written and gives a good idea of the history around her.
I read the majority of this book in a day. I didn't know too much about Christina but Buckley does a good enough job of painting an exotic picture. It starts off quite slowly, giving a great deal of political background (I'm not entirely certain it was necessary). I also found her reptitive sometimes, and would use the same quote repeatedly.
Jun 09, 2009 Mara is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I've picked this up several times, used several sections of it in academic papers, but can't seem to read it cover to cover. I think its because the author doesn't appear to like her subject all that much. It is easier to read biographies when the author does like the subject.
Fascinating story about a complicated woman. Really well written, any frustrations I had seemed to be more because of Christina's personality than any fault of the author. It was interesting to read something from the time period that wasn't focused on England or France.
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