Read A Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert, and the Death That Changed the British Monarchy by Helen Rappaport Free Online
Book Title: A Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert, and the Death That Changed the British Monarchy|
The author of the book: Helen Rappaport
Edition: St. Martin's Press
Date of issue: March 13th 2012
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ISBN 13: No data
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Format files: PDF
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As she did in her critically acclaimed The Last Days of the Romanovs, Helen Rappaport brings a compelling documentary feel to the story of this royal marriage and of the queen’s obsessive love for her husband – a story that began as fairy tale and ended in tragedy.
After the untimely death of Prince Albert, the queen and her nation were plunged into a state of grief so profound that this one event would dramatically alter the shape of the British monarchy. For Britain had not just lost a prince: during his twenty year marriage to Queen Victoria, Prince Albert had increasingly performed the function of King in all but name. The outpouring of grief after Albert’s death was so extreme, that its like would not be seen again until the death of Princess Diana 136 years later.
Drawing on many letters, diaries and memoirs from the Royal Archives and other neglected sources, as well as the newspapers of the day, Rappaport offers a new perspective on this compelling historical psychodrama--the crucial final months of the prince’s life and the first long, dark ten years of the Queen’s retreat from public view. She draws a portrait of a queen obsessed with her living husband and – after his death – with his enduring place in history. Magnificent Obsession will also throw new light on the true nature of the prince’s chronic physical condition, overturning for good the 150-year old myth that he died of typhoid fever.
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Read information about the authorBorn in Bromley, England, Helen Rappaport studied Russian at Leeds University but ill-advisedly rejected suggestions of a career in the Foreign Office and opted for the acting profession. After appearing on British TV and in films until the early 1990s she abandoned acting and embraced her second love - history and with it the insecurities of a writer’s life.
She started out contributing to biographical and historical reference works for publishers such as Cassell, Reader’s Digest, and Oxford University Press. Between 1999 and 2003 she wrote three books back-to-back for a leading US reference publisher: Joseph Stalin: A Biographical Companion, the award-winning An Encyclopedia of Women Social Reformers and Queen Victoria: A Biographical Companion. Her first trade title was No Place for Ladies: The Untold Story of Women in the Crimean War ( Aurum press, 2007 ). She followed this with Ekaterinburg: The Last Days of the Romanovs (Hutchinson 2008), which became a best seller in the USA, published by St.Martin’s Press as The Last days of the Romanovs: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg. She then followed with Conspirator: Lenin in Exile, (Hutchinson, 2009; Basic Books USA, 2010).Helen’s next title was a new departure - a Victorian true-crime story: Beautiful for Ever: Madame Rachel of Bond Street - Cosmetician, Con-Artist and Blackmailer published by novelist Susan Hill’s imprint, Long Barn Books, 2010. A paperback edition will be published by Vintage on 3 May 2012.
Helen's newest title, published by Hutchinson in the UK, is Magnificent Obsession; Victoria, Albert and the Death that Changed the Monarchy a study of the impact of the Prince Consort’s premature death in 1861 on England, the monarchy, and Queen Victoria, and covering the first terrible ten years of her retreat from public view. The book will be published in the USA on 13 March 2012 by St Martin’s Press.
Helen is currently working on two forthcoming titles: Capturing the Light - a collaboration with Roger Watson on the birth of photography, to be published in the UK by PanMacmillan in 2013 and in the USA by St Martin's Press (date TBC); and Four Sisters, about the tragic lives of the daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra, to be published in the USA by St Martin's Press 2014; UK details to follow.
Helen’s only foray into fiction, so far, has been a collaboration with William Horwood on a historical thriller, Dark Hearts of Chicago published by Hutchinson in April 2007.
Helen is a fluent Russian speaker and a specialist in Russian history and 19th century women’s history, her great passion being to winkle out lost stories from the footnotes and to breathe new life and new perspectives into old subjects. In 2005 she was historical consultant and talking head on a Channel 4 documentary The Real Angel of the Crimea about the Jamaican nurse, Mary Seacole. In 2010 she was talking head on a Mystery Files documentary about the Murder of the Romanovs for National Geographic channel.
Helen has had considerable radio experience talking on Victorian and Russian history for: BBC Radio Oxford and Radio Berkshire; Radio 4: Woman's Hour, Start the Week and the Today programme. In December 2011 she appeared on a Radio 2 programme on the history of the Royal Albert Hall and on Peter Snow's Random Edition about the death of Prince Albert. In 2012 she is a talking head on the major 8-part Radio 4 series The Art of Monarchy.
Since the mid -70s Helen has also become well-known as a Russian translator in the theatre, working with British playwrights on new versions of Russian plays. She has translated all seven of Chekhov’s plays, including Ivanov for Tom Stoppard’s new version that was a huge critical success at the Donmar Season at Wyndham’s in 2008. In 2002 she was Russian consultant to the National Theatre’s Tom Stoppard trilogy, The Coast of Utopia.
A passionate Victorianist and Russianist, Helen is a member of Equity, the Victorian Society, the Society of Gen