Thomas's Reviews > Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch

Elizabeth the Queen by Sally Bedell Smith
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's review
Jun 17, 2012

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bookshelves: nonfiction-biography, nonfiction-history
Read in June, 2012

I can report only a modest, muted endorsement for "Elizabeth the Queen." At 537 pages, it is probably 100 pages too long because of the author's penchant for obscure, irrelevant detail. Moreover, the first ten or eleven of its twenty-one chapters are anodyne, even borderline insipid. It could also have benefited from better editing, as successive paragraphs are often jarring. Still, as the first biography (of probably four, eventually) of Elizabeth II that I am reading, it gave me a much better understanding of the value and workings of the British monarchy, and a much greater appreciation of Elizabeth as queen, as a woman, and as the surprising and surprised inheritor of the crown. Besides which, I finally know whether there's any chance Prince William will succeed his grandmother directly, and I also know what's inside that ever-present black handbag she carries!

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