[[ books ]] An Uncommon Woman - The Empress Frederick: Daughter of Queen Victoria, Wife of the Crown Prince of Prussia, Mother of Kaiser WilhelmAuthor Hannah Pakula – Kairafanan.co

I thought this was well researched I can t believe how she was treated for so long I understand why the author included all the history and so much info about Bismarck but it got a little boring. When I picked up this book, I knew almost nothing about Vicky aka the Empress Frederick I never intended to read the entire book, but it was so well written and compelling that I could not stop myself Queen Victoria and Prince Albert raised their firstborn child to play a role that she was never allowed to perform She was brilliant and well educated a woman of many gifts Raised to admire the British values of a constitutional monarchy and the rule of law, Vicky was expected to transmit those values to Germany and the next generation Vicky s royal parents arranged her marriage to a future German monarch while she was still a child From the beginning, Vicky and Prince Frederick Wilhelm had a loving and companionable marriage which seemed to be unusual, and even suspect, in the German royal court Other members of the royal family were suspicious of the die Englanderin and her foreign values Chancellor Bismarck cruelly used this xenophobia for his own nefarious purposes, though Vicky was often too trusting and lacking in guile to perceive it Related to virtually every royal family member in Europe, Vicky and her family were at the center of many of the great events of the day This book includes both the sweep of the history of the age and many fascinating anecdotes as well Vicky and Frederick s firstborn son, Wilhelm II, was a very troubled individual and probably not fit to rule a nation He was forced to abdicate at the end of the first world war. This was a very interesting book with a lot of detail It was time consuming because of the incredible amount of historical information I enjoyed a different angle of the unification of Germany by seeing it through Vicky s eyes Victoria was the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria of England who married the heir to the Prussian throne at the age of 17 She was the mother of Kaiser Wilhem II. Rarely has a book made me wonder what if quite this much The research that went into this biography of Queen Victoria s oldest daughter is amazing Not only do you get an enjoyable read about an interesting royal personage, you get a detailed look at Bismarck and the creation of the German empire Without getting too far into the politics of it all, let s just say the world would have been a very different place if Fritz Vicky s husband and heir to the Prussian throne hadn t died when he did It s not a stretch to say that one, if not two, world wars might have been averted.This book also got me thinking about choices and fate How much of our destinies do we really control One reviewer called Vicky s life a tragedy, and at first, I was hesitant to accept that word She wasn t assassinated, like Empress Elizabeth of Austria She didn t lose her crown or her life in a revolution, like the Romanovs But the tragedy here isn t kinetic, like it was for Elizabeth or Nicholas II It s potential Vicky s life and Fritz s, too reminded me of the Henry James novella The Beast in the Jungle If you ve read it, you know what I mean Pakula is a balanced writer she ll tell you when Vicky was right and she ll tell you when Vicky couldn t see the forest for the trees You ll probably want to shake Vicky for doing so little to combat the vicious rumor mongering that pretty much destroyed her reputation Pakula does a good job of ferreting out the times when Bismarck was telling the truth versus the seemingly incalculable number of times he lied to Vicky He may have accomplished great things, but he sacrificed Fritz and Vicky to do it They were too earnest to fight fire with fire Part of me wonders what might have happened if they did I wish Pakula had included a little detail on Vicky s kids When she dies, the book ends abruptly We get a few wrap up sentences that encapsulate Wilhelm s role in World War I, and simple notations on what happened to the rest of the kids after the war But since so many of her kids seemed like jerks, I think there s a lot of room for analysis why Did any of their behavior change after her death How did two compassionate, loving, and intelligent people end up with kids like Wilhelm, Charlotte, and Henry There s to this story, I think, but since the book is already 600 pages, that s probably a question for a different book entirely.Highly recommended. Quite simply a brilliant biography of a complex and highly imperfect woman with perfect and noble intentions in an impossible time, place and world A liberal , reformist, constitutional monarchist from England thrown into the gestation of the unified German state where nationalism became an anti reform movement Crown Princess Victoria met with skepticism and antipathy from the moment she set foot on German soil The daughter of Victoria and Albert, wife of Frederick and mother of Wilhelm she was set upon and set for herself a path of impossible contradictions, conflicting agendas and sorely tested loyalties The writing is accomplished and compelling and the characters seem cut from the best cloth of fiction The priggish, moralistic and intense father as tutor, mentor and beatified god The distant but oppressive, often conditional and undoubtedly loving mother the great Queen The loving and seemingly perfect if somewhat weak though handsome husband The Grimmsian in laws who s personal acrimony took hostages on a familial and political plane Willie, the heir to it all physically and mentally damaged, doomed to disappoint his brilliant mother and principled father and wreak revenge on them mercilessly for his weaknesses and their awareness of them Bismarck, Machiavelli s Prince writ large with the exquisite amorality of Talleyrand With impeccable fact research, well reasoned behavioral theses and reliance on the treasure trove of letters between Vicki and Victoria Pakula has delivered a highly satisfying and heart wrenching account of the life and times of Empress Frederick. I feel I ve come through a great trial with an old friend This very long, very detailed book captivated me at the start I d never read about the monarchy before lost and punished me through 350 pages of German politics, and then held me for the last 200 pages, throughout which I was mostly rapt as the Crown Prince spoiler dies and leaves the Empress Dowager behind Except where we lapsed back into Bismarck speak, and then I d hate it I gather he was a pretty important player, but man, what a meaningless read in his sections, and not related in a direct way to the biography we are promised It s like the author s schtick is to write about famous women, but what she really pines to do is write elaborate histories, so she cloaks one within the other I could ve eliminated most of the book and substituted it with a couple paragraphs letting me know Bismarck and the Empress did not get along Additionally, much of the history read in a very unclear way, even though I was really paying attention I just couldn t wrap my mind around the way she wrote in those sections However, the beginning and the end of the book were redeeming, and I was moved by her story The love affair between Vicky and Fritz was very inspiring What a man, and what a master of words he was swoon I ve never gone in much for proclamations of love and admiration, but maybe that s because Crown Prince Friedrich wasn t wooing me He sure loved his wife. I plunged into this book after completing what could be considered a primer on Queen Victoria Empress Frederick was her name amongst German royalty Her previous title among English Royalty was Princess Victoria To her mother, Queen Victoria of England, she was simply Vickie Who raised a bratty child who grew up to plunge his country into WWI Bad Kaiser I was not prepared for the complex web of detail, but found myself challenged to understand and keep up with the writer.More often than not, the book seemed like of a biography of Otto von Bismark and late 19th century Germany than of the woman herself She and her mother wrote each other nearly everyday These letters are referenced, but the story does not primarily focus on Vickie This book could very easily have been divided into two completely different books I simply wish there had been insight into her life and that of her family.I do have a much greater sense of how the world could have been spared WWI Bad Kaiser. This book was a big surprise for me, since I was not familiar with the author and am relatively well read in the subject matter However, it was fascinating and one of the most enjoyable works of history Ive tackled in a long time The author uses letters and primary source materials very effectively here Also, she provides great historical perspective on the Empress Frederick, so much so that this hefty 600 page book also serves as a good primer on Queen Victoria and Prince Albert the founding the German Empire the Franco Prussian War the life and work of Prince Bismarck some of the thorny and complicated European diplomatic disputes of the late 19th century such as the Schleswig Holstein question and the life of Kaiser Wilhelm II.My only caveat might be that this work could be a bit overwhelming if the reader does not have at least some grounding in and familiarity with the players in this drama from the outset Otherwise, it is a rich and detailed tome which is mercifully broken up into short chapters for easy digestion. The title of this book lies This is not, as one might think, a biography This is three biographies and a history in one Obstenisbly, this is a biography of Queen Victoria s eldest child, the Princess Royal of England and eventual Empress of Germany, Victoria, or Vicky , as she is referred to throughout the book However, this is also a biography of Otto von Bismarck or as I ve taken to calling him The Worst Jerk Who Ever Jerked In the History of Ever, as well as her son, the mad Kaiser Wilhelm II And in necessary parallel to all three of these lives, we get the story of the unification of Germany and all the different influences that brought it about.I think Pakula does a fairly good job of keeping the book as narrowly focused as possible, given the scope that she s set for herself If anything, because her statements require the fullest possible knowledge of these people and everything they did, it seems like we do not get enough information She does have a tendancy to also do things out of order, which can be somewhat confusing for example, at times she has just finished explaining a major bill in the Reichstag, and then goes back three years to talk about the royal family s marriages I understand that it is difficult to keep everything linear when it feels like you have to cover everything that happens with all the major figures that might shed any light on your main character, though.I did have difficulty finishing the book but that s not a reflection of its quality it was very well written, informative without being dry It was just so so hard watching a constant series of clusterfucks form and knowing it was heading, incredibly unnecssarily and unintentionally, to WWI Not even the evil people who set up the climates of chauvanism, militarism, and suspicion in Germany would have wanted it to end where it was going Not even Bismarck Jerky Jerk Jerkface On the plus side, I thought this book was probably the best argument against absolute monarchy I ve ever read not that thats a hard argument to make Wilhelm II s Willy s utter insanity and the inability of anyone to stop him, despite the obvious evidence of his ridiculousness, cruelty sometimes utterly chilling and general ludicrous unsuitablity to lead a country Vicky, on the other hand, comes off as a liberal, open minded woman who was constantly constantly constantly put upon in the most vicious ways possible her husband as well If occasionally they gave into the establishment, and eventually gave up hope of reform well, the book definitely shows you why, and stamps out any questions you might have about why the way Germany was the way it was at the time and why there was no revolution and no change, long after pretty much every other country had moved on I felt so painfully bad for her her unbelievable patience in the face of being constantly maligned for things she could not help, ie, being born English, or you know, not believing that the King was a God on Earth It is an interesting what if to contemplate what if her liberal, reform minded husband had survived long enough to make his rule felt Yeah, mostly I just felt like a five year old screaming BUT ITS NOT FAIR in my corner most of this book Sometimes life really sucks and then you die That s about what I got out of this book. An Epic Story Of Wars And Revolutions, Of The Rise And Fall Of Royal Families, And Of The Birth Of Modern Germany Is Brilliantly Told Through The Lives Of The Couple In The Eye Of The Storm Queen Victoria S Eldest Daughter, And Her Handsome, Idealistic Husband, Crown Prince Frederick Of Prussia Of Photos