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17 Carnations: The Royals, the Nazis, and the Biggest Cover-Up in History (2015)

Tekijä: Andrew Morton

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
3852266,053 (3.07)9
"Morton tells the story of the feckless Edward VIII, later Duke of Windsor, his American wife Wallis Simpson, the bizarre wartime Nazi plot to make him a puppet king after the invasion of Britain, and the attempted cover-up by Churchill, General Eisenhower, and King George VI of the duke's relations with Hitler. From the alleged affair between Simpson and the German foreign minister to the discovery of top secret correspondence about the man dubbed 'the traitor king' and the Nazi high command, this is a saga of intrigue, betrayal, and deception suffused with a heady aroma of sex and suspicion"--Dust jacket flap.… (lisätietoja)
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 21) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
This is an episode and period of history that has always fascinated me. Some of my favourite fictional works (The King's Speech, The Remains of the Day) have dealt with this, and loaned it some drama and intrigue. It turns out, the real story is almost as interesting. The reluctant playboy king, in love with someone who would never be accepted by his people (family, government, or subjects), sympathetic to one of the coldest and most vicious regimes ever to gain power in the west. That is life imitating art. This book reveals much more than this part of the story, with hidden documents, complex diplomatic maneuvering, and political intrigue adding to the romantic tension. However, as I plowed through this, I found I was really only interested in the romantic part, and fascinated by the incredibly terrible things the Nazi regime did. But the former is covered in the very beginning of the book, and the latter is really a whole different book. I found myself skipping through the last few chapters, interested to discover what became of the ex-king after the war, but not much more. So, it was mostly enjoyable, but got bogged down in details toward the end. Still an interesting read. ( )
  karenchase | Jun 14, 2023 |
This is definitely not what I learned in history. But of course, my history classes were prior to when WWII information was declassified. I guess that dates me. I was told that the reason the Duke of Windsor abdicated the throne was for purely romantic reasons. This book paints an entirely different view and that view is well substantiated by the "hidden Windsor files" among other things.
This is the story of Edward VIII and how he came to be the Duke of Windsor. His behavior prior to when he became king was certainly unbecoming. The details of that behavior are given as if in a novel and thankfully without the unnecessary psycho-analytical stuff. Wallis Simpson's behavior is also accurately described and it is easy to see why the British Royals referred to her as "that woman."
The first third of the book describes their backgrounds and how these two self-centered people came to be together. From the read, they probably deserved each other. Their pettiness and concern for themselves is well-depicted in the recounting of how overly concerned they were with the retrieval of their precious linens in Paris while their countrymen feared for their lives. It is appalling! And that doesn't even compare with their views of Hitler and the Nazis.
The middle third of the book is about how this feckless duo ended up in the Bahamas. They wanted the prestige of being royalty without the responsibility. They wanted the wealth of royalty but they did not want to pay taxes or use any of their own money for travel. They acted like parasites!
The last part of the book is about the actual cover-up of the pair's behavior and the struggle between historians and governments in how to deal with all the incriminating evidence against them. I found it difficult to fathom how, when confronted with actual telegrams sent before and during the war, that the Duke and the British government declared them falsifications. A point is made that the war documents were used in the Nuremburg Trials, and yet they are stated to be inaccurate when revealing unbecoming behavior of a British royal.
Reading an account of something like this makes one appreciate how history is recorded and interpreted. I now have a totally different opinion of the House of Windsor. Just for starters, it was never told in my earlier history classes that the Duchess of Windsor was not just a divorcee - she was twice divorced with 2 living husbands when she married the Duke. AND she had her affair with the Duke while she was still married to her second husband.
I have one beef with the book: the 17 carnations as part of the title is a bit lame since that seems to be based on unsubstantiated information. I expected more from this than what was written.
( )
  Kimberlyhi | Apr 15, 2023 |
A little bait-and-switch. Author Andrew Morton goes through all the lurid rumors about Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII: that she was intersex, that she learned exotic sex techniques in Shanghai brothels, that she slept with all and sundry. And that he was bisexual, a show fetishist, and a traitor. There’s nothing but hearsay for any of this. Morton repeatedly mentions a “secret file” that British intelligence scrambled to recover from Germany after VE-Day to avoid embarrassing the Royals, but there’s no clue as to what might be in it. The best Morton can come up with is that Edward (as the Duke of Windsor and a major general in the British army) was tasked with inspecting French defenses in 1940, and somehow passed information on to the Nazis; I can’t see the German General Staff suddenly changing their war plans based on that. The Duke does come across as a grade-A jerk; a womanizer before his encounter with Wallis, childishly naïve, more concerned about his house in France than about the Blitz on London, and cluelessly entitled – but not a traitor; frankly, he doesn’t come across as smart enough to be treasonous. The Duchess, in turn, is supposed to have passed secrets she picked up by eavesdropping on to her “lover” von Ribbentrop – that’s where the title comes from, von Ribbentrop is supposed to have gifted her with a bouquet of carnations every time they slept together. Once again, Wallis comes across as hopelessly entitled and bitchy – but not treasonous. She did not, after all, ever pose in a Stahlhelm manning a FLAKvierling. ( )
  setnahkt | Mar 1, 2022 |
A good insight into the Windsor family and the royals in the first half of the 1900's.
  David-Block | Aug 9, 2021 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 21) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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He was the first royal sex symbol of the modern age, the wistful features of the Prince of Wales adorning the bedside tables and dormitory walls of thousands of schoolgirls and young women across Britain and the empire.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)

"Morton tells the story of the feckless Edward VIII, later Duke of Windsor, his American wife Wallis Simpson, the bizarre wartime Nazi plot to make him a puppet king after the invasion of Britain, and the attempted cover-up by Churchill, General Eisenhower, and King George VI of the duke's relations with Hitler. From the alleged affair between Simpson and the German foreign minister to the discovery of top secret correspondence about the man dubbed 'the traitor king' and the Nazi high command, this is a saga of intrigue, betrayal, and deception suffused with a heady aroma of sex and suspicion"--Dust jacket flap.

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