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 1895 in Baltimore, Bessiewallis Warfield endured an impoverished and comparatively obscure childhood which inflamed a burning desire to rise above her circumstances.
©2011 Anne Sebba (P)2011 Orion Publishing Group Ltd
A compelling download, well read and very interesting. The author doesn't champion WS, nor attack her, so the general neutrality makes it even more enjoyable. I was ready to dislike WS, I suppose - and at the end of the book I did dislike her quite a lot, but I certainly felt I understood more about what drove this extraordinary woman. I also felt great pity for her and Edward who seems to have been weak, deluded and baffled. The international turmoil that served as the backdrop to this bizarre story is very well woven. Living history.
One weak point (not weak enough to lose a star though) was a persistent theory advanced by the author about the sexuality of WS. The author believes - but presents no actual evidence for this - that WS was born with both male and female sexual characteristics. There is no proof, so it's nothing more than an interesting but probably flawed theory.
Beautiful read. Very interesting and fullif unknown historical facts . Still can't say I have any sympathy for Wallis or the fate that befell them.
I couldn't put it down. This reads more like a novel than a biography, except it contains a wealth of detail about the young Wallis. There are no holds barred, Wallis Simpson is not whitewashed in this book, but I think it's almost impossible to finish it without a great deal of sympathy for her. To a large extent trapped in her own time,and subject to the mores and limitations of what was expected of a woman in the early part of the twentieth century, she navigates with ambition and style to the top of the tree, and then finds herself trapped.
"Scandal of the Century"
You have to wonder if Wallis Simpson had been more conventionally pretty would she have attracted such scorn. I found this book fascinating account of the Edward and Wallis Simpson saga. Very detailed and not judgemental. This story still fascinates today, you wonder how a man could have turned his back on all he was trained to be, to be with this woman. That they were self involved is unquestionable, sad that they were forever manacled together throughout their life, for how ridiculous would they have looked if they divorced. An interesting book which I will follow up with Behind Closed Doors, the untold story of the Duchess.
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