George V: Never a Dull Moment

HarperAudio. Jan. 2022. 2:26 hrs. ISBN 9780063216532. $42.99. BIOG
This extremely detailed biography of George V and his consort, Queen Mary, posits that his 25-year reign has been historically undervalued. Historian Ridley (Buckingham Univ.; The Heir Apparent) writes that George appears to have had no real interior life, dedicating himself almost entirely to bullying his children and hunting, but he did reign during a period of intense activity where his moderation helped keep Britain on a steady course. Ridley also emphasizes the critical importance of Queen Mary; she was far more popular than her husband, both with the public and with politicians. The king and queen grew to love each other but could express feelings only in letters. Ridley uses previously unreleased archival material to shed new light on the king’s activities during World War I, the crisis involving the Russian royal family, and more. Joanna David narrates in an appropriate BBC English accent, with a knack for emphasizing key points.
VERDICT The narration is lively and keeps the pace brisk and interesting; however, the sheer amount of detail might become fatiguing to all but the most dedicated followers of British politics.
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