A royalist apologia for America’s last king, or a correction for centuries of political shade? You choose, after reading Andrew Roberts’s gloriously well-researched biography of (Mad) King George III. Neither the pompous idiot of Hamilton nor the tragicomic figure of The Madness of King George, Roberts’s King George is a talented leader beset by mental illness and the machinations of the 18th-century court. An absolutely riveting read, no matter which conclusion you come to. Recommended By Rhianna W., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
The last king of America, George III, has been ridiculed as a complete disaster who frittered away the colonies and went mad in his old age. The truth is much more nuanced and fascinating — and will completely change the way readers and historians view his reign and legacy.
Most Americans dismiss George III as a buffoon — a heartless and terrible monarch with few, if any, redeeming qualities. The best-known modern interpretation of him is Jonathan Groff's preening, spitting, and pompous take in Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda's Broadway masterpiece. But this deeply unflattering characterization is rooted in the prejudiced and brilliantly persuasive opinions of eighteenth-century revolutionaries like Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson, who needed to make the king appear evil in order to achieve their own political aims. After combing through hundreds of thousands of pages of never-before-published correspondence, award-winning historian Andrew Roberts has uncovered the truth: George III was in fact a wise, humane, and even enlightened monarch who was beset by talented enemies, debilitating mental illness, incompetent ministers, and disastrous luck.
In The Last King of America, Roberts paints a deft and nuanced portrait of the much-maligned monarch and outlines his accomplishments, which have been almost universally forgotten. Two hundred and forty-five years after the end of George III's American rule, it is time for Americans to look back on their last king with greater understanding: to see him as he was and to come to terms with the last time they were ruled by a monarch.
"Vividly detailed... A capacious, prodigiously researched biography from a top-shelf historian." Kirkus Reviews, starred review
About the Author
Andrew Roberts is the bestselling author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny; Leadership in War; The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War; Masters and Commanders: How Four Titans Won the War in the West, 1941-1945; Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Gamble; and Napoleon: A Life, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for biography and a finalist for the Plutarch Award. He has won many other prizes, including the Wolfson History Prize and the British Army Military Book of the Year. He is the Roger and Martha Mertz Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, chair of the judges of the Gilder Lehrman Military History Prize, and a visiting professor in the Department of War Studies at King's College, London.