The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor
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|Format:||Hardback, 368 pages|
|Other Information: ||Illustrations|
|Published In: ||United Kingdom, 18 August 2011|
One of Britain's most distinguished biographers turns her focus on one of the most vilified woman of the last century. Historian Anne Sebba has written the first full biography of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, by a woman which attempts to understand this fascinating and enigmatic American divorcee who nearly became Queen of England. 'That woman', as she was referred to by the Queen Mother, became a hate figure for allegedly ensnaring a British king. Born in 1896 in Baltimore, Bessiewallis Warfield endured an impoverished and comparatively obscure childhood which inflamed a burning desire to rise above her circumstances. Neither beautiful nor brilliant, and no longer young, she nevertheless became one of the most talked about women of her generation, and inspired such deep love and adoration in Edward VIII that even giving up a throne and an empire for her was not enough to prove his total devotion. Wallis lived by her wit and her wits, while both her apparent and alleged moral transgressions added to her aura and dazzle. Accused of Fascist sympathies, having Nazi lovers and learning bizarre sexual techniques in China, she was the subject of widespread gossip and fascination that has only increased with the years. In death, the Duchess became a symbol of empowerment and a style icon, a woman whose unequivocal aim was to win in the game of life. Based on new archives and material recently made available, this scrupulously researched biography re evaluates the role of politicians in the 1930s, sheds new light on the character and motivations of this powerful, charismatic and complex woman, and questions was this really the romantic love story of the century?
About the Author
Anne Sebba read History at King's College London then joined Reuters as a foreign correspondent based in London and Rome. She has written eight works of non-fiction, mostly about iconic women, presented BBC radio documentaries, and is an accredited Nadfas lecturer. She is married with three children. www.annesebba.com http://www.facebook.com/anne.sebba https://twitter.com/annesebba
The first serious yet sympathetic biography by a woman of the Duchess of Windsor, the former Mrs Simpson.
A historical biography that doesn't get dull or confusing, this new look at the life of Wallis Simpson is a fascinating insight into the not-too-distant history of the Royals WOMAN MAGAZINE
"I hope to humanize rather than demonize" the woman for whose sake King Edward VIII abdicated the British throne, writes Sebba (Jennie Churchill: Winston's American Mother) in this controversial biography that was a bestseller in Britain. The author, using interviews, previously unavailable letters, and media accounts, explores how Simpson, a spunky Southern belle, changed her life after two divorces and numerous love affairs on two continents, seized the heart of then prince of Wales, and weathered the wrath of the royals and the hostile British press. Two startling speculations concerning Simpson's medical and psychological state attribute her sexual fierceness and flirtatiousness to a possible form of hermaphroditism and the need to emphasize her femininity. Sebba discloses the tremendous pressure from the royal family and high society on the new king to place English tradition above his bond to the American divorcee with her dubious background. Sebba details the life after the abdication, in which the duchess proved herself a resourceful survivor. This accomplished biography is smart, eloquent, and unafraid to go beyond the myth of the duchess of Windsor Agent: Clare Alexander, Aitken Alexander Associates (U.K.). (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
While the allure of Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII's story has lasted over 70 years, Sebba (former foreign correspondent, Reuters; American Jennie: The Remarkable Life of Lady Randolph Churchill) presents the complex woman behind that relationship, who was not merely a social climber/seductress. Sebba's research reveals that although Wallis was drawn to the life that Edward could provide, she also cared for her second husband, Ernest Simpson, and in fact hoped to maintain both relationships: she did not want to be queen and pleaded with the infatuated Edward not to abdicate. Thus this is a more balanced portrait of Wallis than readers may be used to, extending from birth to death and keeping the focus on her, rather than simply on her marriage to Edward and their long lives as Duke and Duchess of Windsor. VERDICT Sebba dispels the myths that surround the pair (such as that theirs was a love story for the ages). Charles Higham's The Duchess of Windsor: The Secret Life spends more time on their alleged Nazi sympathies. Greg King's The Duchess of Windsor: The Uncommon Life of Wallis Simpson supports the love story and defends Wallis Simpson. Sebba's more nuanced biography should be included in any collection covering this subject. Madonna's forthcoming movie on Wallis Simpson, W.E., will increase interest.-Maria Bagshaw, West Dundee, IL (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
|Publisher: ||Weidenfeld & Nicolson|
|Dimensions: ||24.0 x 15.0 x 3.0 centimeters (0.68 kg)|