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The lives and impact on history of the various kings and queens of continental Europe are recounted, concentrating on the twentieth century, but including Victoria and Edward of England
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In exhaustive detail, Hindley (The Book of the Magna Carta) gives an overview of the state of the monarchy in 20th-century continental Europe. He first looks at the royal families--some of them in exile--of countries, such as Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Romania and France, where the monarchy's political duties have been assumed by other governmental bodies. Hindley espouses the view that today's hereditary monarchs are "above politics" and that, when functioning in their proper capacity as heads of state, they "embody values of public service and a sense of communal and national identity." Drawing on dozens of historical and contemporary sources, he traces the impact of WWI and II, and of the Communist Bloc, on various monarchies. The travails of the Bulgarian royals, for instance, began in 1939, when King Boris III was forced to cooperate with Germany but kept his commitment vague. When Hitler pressed him to formally declare war on the Soviet Union, he refused and died shortly thereafter under mysterious circumstances. The throne was left to six-year-old Simeon II, who in 1946 was exiled along with his mother and sister. King Simeon II still holds out for re-enthronement, maintaining active ties with expatriated Bulgarians, in part via a Web site where he posts letters to the Bulgarian people. Hindley, whose sympathies apparently lie with the mostly disempowered aristocracies, gives several examples of bad treatment received by deposed royal families, including the harassment of Constantine II of Greece when he cruised the Greek Islands. Hindley also covers monarchies currently on the throne--with varying degrees of executive power--in countries like Belgium, Monaco and Spain. This account's sentimental subjectivity may appeal to devotees of European monarchy despite the book's dry prose, but it will disappoint more serious scholars of the subject. Photos not seen by PW.
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Rumors to the contrary, the British monarchy is in no real danger of falling; most Britons prefer the institution to remain intact. In this survey of the contemporary monarchical scene in Europe, Hindley presents a fascinating, very knowledgeable "balance sheet" of the countries where monarchs still sit on thrones and a look back at the history of countries where monarchies were once in place but have since been replaced by a republican form of government. His focus is on the local traditions in which each monarchy flourished as well as the conditions that have either kept the monarchy alive or resulted in its overthrow. He introduces the reader to the important royal personalities of the twentieth century, citing the present Spanish king, Juan Carlos, as "twentieth-century Europe's most distinguished holder of the office of monarch." The author peers into the future of monarchy in Europe, sensing that "the challenge for monarchy is to survive in the present by adapting to the future," which he credits the institution of having considerable ability to do. Brad Hooper
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Book Description Chartwell Books, 1984. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0711100055
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