George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I Discount.

George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I. George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I

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In the years before the First World War, the great European powers were ruled by three first cousins: King George V of Britain, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Together, they presided over the last years of dynastic Europe and the outbreak of the most destructive war the world had ever seen, a war that set twentieth-century Europe on course to be the most violent continent in the history of the world.

Miranda Carter uses the cousins’ correspondence and a host of historical sources to tell the tragicomic story of a tiny, glittering, solipsistic world that was often preposterously out of kilter with its times, struggling to stay in command of politics and world events as history overtook it. George, Nicholas and Wilhelm is a brilliant and sometimes darkly hilarious portrait of these men—damaged, egotistical Wilhelm; quiet, stubborn Nicholas; and anxious, dutiful George—and their lives, foibles and obsessions, from tantrums to uniforms to stamp collecting. It is also alive with fresh, subtle portraits of other familiar figures: Queen Victoria—grandmother to two of them, grandmother-in-law to the third—whose conservatism and bullying obsession with family left a dangerous legacy; and Edward VII, the playboy “arch-vulgarian” who turned out to have a remarkable gift for international relations and the theatrics of mass politics. At the same time, Carter weaves through their stories a riveting account of the events that led to World War I, showing how the personal and the political interacted, sometimes to devastating effect.

For all three men the war would be a disaster that destroyed forever the illusion of their close family relationships, with any sense of peace and harmony shattered in a final coda of murder, betrayal and abdication.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #490 in Books
  • Published on: 2010-03-23
  • Released on: 2010-03-23
  • Format: Deckle Edge
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 528 pages

Features

  • ISBN13: 9781400043637
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

A Fascinating Blend Of Personal And Political History5
Miranda Carter has produced an excellent biography of three prominent men of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. King George V of Great Britain, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany were the rulers of three of the most powerful states in the world. George and Wilhelm were first cousins as grandsons of Queen Victoria, while Nicholas II was George’s first cousin (their mothers were sisters), married to another of Victoria’s grandchildren, and a more distant blood relation of Wilhelm’s. Their tangled family trees meant the three men, who were all about the same age, grew up knowing but not necessarily liking each other, and their personal feelings affected their nations’ political and foreign policies during their reigns.

The biographies of all three men have been written many times, but Carter’s comparative approach allows for many new psychological and other insights to be made. There are many anecdotes, including many that I, though I have enjoyed reading about that time period for many years, had not previously come across. Some of the stories are hilarious, particularly those dealing with the Kaiser’s madcap efforts to make and unmake alliances and wars. In the end Wilhelm seems to have been the most intelligent (but also most erratic) of the three, while Nicholas, although more perceptive than he’s generally assumed to have been, was still far too passive and ignorant of his country’s troubles. George was the most enigmatic to my mind, primarily because as a constitutional monarch he took care not to make his opinions (if he had any) well known.

While this book primarily deals with the three monarchs and their families, there is also a wealth of information about the many politicians and advisors who guided (or at least attempted to guide) their rulers safely through the minefields of European diplomacy. The finest sections deal with the outbreak and conduct of World War I, which led to the collapse of the German and Russian monarchies and the execution of Nicholas and his family.

I’ve read many biographies and histories dealing with these three monarchs over the years, but I found much that was new and interesting in Miranda Carter’s new work. I believe it will become one of the standard references for the period. I certainly intend to reread and enjoy it many times.

This review is just as valid as the reviews below5
I am a librarian who depends on professional journal reviews AS WELL AS general reader reviews and I almost did not purchase this book for the library based on the “reviews” below.” I understand the frustration about the cost of the Kindle books, but your 1 star reviews show up on all versions of the book and this harms the author - who doesn’t have control over pricing.

Well-Written and Descriptive- A Fine Book.5
This book is a most interesting description and viewpoint of the era preceeding and leading up to WWI. The perspective taken is one seen through the eyes of the 3 main hereditary rulers of the time ( The rulers of Great Britain, Russia and Germany). This gives an interesting insight into the bungling and lunacy which delivered WWI to the world.

The premise of hereditary right to rule is completely destroyed by this book. One is appalled that the system ever existed to begin with. There have been many books written about each of the 3 monarchs, as well as the times before and during WWI. This is the first book that I have read that takes one behind the scenes of the personal rivalries of the rulers of Russia, Great Britain and Germany and allows one to view their stilted and limited capabilities, along with the “enabling” of the royal courts and the politicians .

At times, the feeble workings of the mind of Kaiser Wilhelm lead to utter disbelief that such an unfit individual was allowed anywhere close to the seat of power. His cousin, the equally clueless Tsar Nicholas of Russia, was equally well-endowed in the area of brain power. The British royal family demonstrated a complete lack of ability and came across as childishly as their cousins abroad. But,as they had no real power, they were easier to regard as mere performers of an ancient ritual. The royal family served to amuse and entertain the people,their ridiculous antics filled the gossip papers of the time, they were the equivalent of the “stars” of the reality shows which are so esteemed by some today.

Do read this book for a most interesting perspective of just how the vanities and falsehoods of relatively few individuals, led to the disaster that was World War I

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