Thursday, August 21, 2008

Children's Living History Book Review: Queen Victoria, English Empress

We just finished reading Queen Victoria; English Empress by Sally Glendinning, 1970. My son is ten and easily read this to me, a few chapters a day. As are many books written for this age range of about 10 - 12, the book is written in dialogue between the characters, grasping interest right away. I've read many biographies about Queen Victoria's, and this book hit all the important high points, and low points. There were illustrations and photographs of Victoria and the royal family throughout. A well written book which is recommended for learning about this popular long reigning queen whose throne is linked to many of European monarchies by the marriages of her nine children. We found this book at our public library.

An excerpt:

Such lovely phrases! Queen Victoria cherished every pronouncement from Disraeli. He never argued with her, as others had done in the past. He charmed her, entertained her, and frequently through persuasion brought her around to his point of view.

Disraeli's goal was to enrich the power and prestige of the British Empire. Yet he managed each accomplishment as if it were intended solely for the glory of Queen Victoria.

In 1875 he arranged the financing for the purchase of controlling shares in the Suez Chanel, the great man-made waterway linking Europe and the Orient. It would be impossible to estimate the value of such an investment for the British Isles, always dependent on the commerce of the seas.

I also found two recommended books on Queen Victoria over at Mater Amabilis, Catholic Charlote Mason:

Queen Victoria (Noel Streatfeild) [World Landmark series] – excellent, but out of print
Victoria, May Blossom of Britannia, England 1829 (Anna Kirwan) [Royal Diaries series]

Interestingly enough, it was the American Quakers(my relatives) who gave significant help to the Irish during the famine. As well as Irish, I also have Philadelphia Quaker blood from my father's side. See the Irish Famine Memorial in County Clare. There is still a Quaker meeting house there. Makes me wonder if there is a connection there since both my Catholic and Quaker relatives are from Philadelphia. Even more ironic, my Catholic side of the family is originally from County Clare!

Older children's books have a traditional story based approach without modern analytical analysis. See more here.


Dorothy said...

LOL! And you do a great job, too!

Anyway, I think it's important to remember that Britain is/was a *constitutional* monarchy and Parliament had/has ultimate control, not the Monarch.

Dorothy, the great, great grand daughter of an Irish Catholic who managed to escape to Wales (as Human Balast in a cargo ship) during the Famine!

Alexandra said...

Thanks Dorothy(voice from Britain).

A human ballast, eh, LOL. Now that's a story for the grandchildren.

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