HISTORY

The Crown in Crisis: Countdown to the Abdication

St. Martin’s Press. Jan. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9781250274847. $27.99. HIST
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The abdication of Edward VIII (1894–1972) in 1936 plunged the British monarchy into a crisis unseen since the English Civil Wars. The abdication had many root causes but is primarily remembered for Edward’s desire to marry twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson. Many within the Royal family and Parliament hoped Edward would take his new role seriously and rise to the occasion; however, he was unwilling to give up his private, carefree lifestyle and take on the more public and demanding role of the monarch. Once it became clear Edward would be forbidden from marrying Simpson, he intended to abdicate. Journalist and historian Larman (Byron’s Women), who gained unprecedented access to previously classified letters, memoirs, and files in the Royal Archives and British National Archives, paints an uncompromising portrait of Edward’s brief and tumultuous reign, including a thorough look at his complicated relationship with Simpson and the extent of Edward’s Nazi sympathies. Larman does an excellent job weaving together all the strands of the events and personalities of that unprecedented time.
VERDICT Readers who enjoy British and royal history as well as fans of the Netflix series The Crown will greatly enjoy this insightful book.

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