George III: The Life and Reign of Britain's Most Misunderstood Monarch (Paperback)Andrew Roberts (author)
Roberts' magisterial, revisionist biography of the controversial George III debunks much of the popular discourse about the monarch's incompetence and the nature of his mental state, painting a persuasive portrait of a shrewd and courageous leader.
Andrew Roberts, one of Britain's premier historians, overturns the received wisdom on George III.
George III, Britain's longest-reigning king, has gone down in history as 'the cruellest tyrant of this age' (Thomas Paine, eighteenth century), 'a sovereign who inflicted more profound and enduring injuries upon this country than any other modern English king' (W.E.H. Lecky, nineteenth century), 'one of England's most disastrous kings' (J.H. Plumb, twentieth century) and as the pompous monarch of the musical Hamilton (twenty-first century).
Andrew Roberts's magnificent new biography takes entirely the opposite view. It portrays George as intelligent, benevolent, scrupulously devoted to the constitution of his country and (as head of government as well as head of state) navigating the turbulence of eighteenth-century politics with a strong sense of honour and duty. He was a devoted husband and family man, a great patron of the arts and sciences, keen to advance Britain's agricultural capacity ('Farmer George') and determined that her horizons should be global.
He could be stubborn and self-righteous, but he was also brave, brushing aside numerous assassination attempts, galvanising his ministers and generals at moments of crisis and stoical in the face of his descent - five times during his life - into a horrifying loss of mind.
The book gives a detailed, revisionist account of the American Revolutionary War, persuasively taking apart a significant proportion of the Declaration of Independence, which Roberts shows to be largely Jeffersonian propaganda. In a later war, he describes how George's support for William Pitt was crucial in the battle against Napoleon. And he makes a convincing, modern diagnosis of George's terrible malady, very different to the widely accepted medical view and to popular portrayals.
Roberts writes, 'the people who knew George III best loved him the most', and that far from being a tyrant or incompetent, George III was one of our most admirable monarchs. The diarist Fanny Burney, who spent four years at his court and saw him often, wrote 'A noble sovereign this is, and when justice is done to him, he will be as such acknowledged'. In presenting this fresh view of Britain's most misunderstood monarch, George III shows one of Britain's premier historians at his sparkling best.
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 784
Weight: 560 g
Dimensions: 198 x 128 x 34 mm
'George, Roberts writes, "more than filled the role of King of Great Britain worthily; he filled it nobly". After reading this mammoth, elegant and splendidly researched biography, no open-minded reader could possibly disagree - not even an American.' - Dominic Sandbrook, The Sunday Times
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“Another great read”
Andrew Roberts has again benefitted by being given access to hitherto classified archives held by the Queen. He has also ably mined the diaries of Frances Burney "Keeper of the Queen's Robes". His... More
“George III: mad but not bad?”
A very long read but mainly enjoyable as Roberts writes clearly and avoids academic terminology. A lot of characters to remember and a long reign to encompass but the style of writing makes it possible to read for... More
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