Christopher Hibbert was educated at Radley and Oriel College, Oxford. He served as an infantry officer during the war, was twice wounded and was awarded the MC in 1945. His books include The Destruction of Lord Raglan (which won the Heinemann Award for Literature in 1962); biographies of Mussolini, Garibaldi and Elizabeth I; Venice: The Biography of a City; The English: A Social History 1066-1945; Cavaliers and Roundheads; Nelson: A Personal History; and Wellington: A Personal History (HC 1997 hdbk & 1998 pbk).
Hibbert, a well-respected independent scholar and biographer (Wellington, George III ), has tapped most of the extant sources on Victoria's long life and reign. Using private correspondence, diaries, and official papers, he reveals a much more complex Queen Victoria than many readers have imagined. Indeed, one of the book's main strengths is the author's ability to present the paradoxical nature of Victoria's worldview. Although the queen had a seemingly advanced detestation of racism, she was reactionary enough to abhor modern education and the suffragette movement. Hibbert usually manages to balance detail and brevity, though some of the chapters, such as the one on the death of Prince Albert, bog down in minutiae. In addition, he does not give much information on the evolution of constitutional government, though scholars will learn a great deal about Victoria's opinion on major events and issues. These are, however, minor criticisms of a book that will likely become the standard. Recommended for all libraries.DFrederic Krome, Jacob Rader Marcus Ctr. of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
`This book is, I think, his masterpiece...he has portrayed her as physically and imaginatively passionate, a loveable monster who, for all her extreme oddness, came to embody the aspirations and character not only of a nation, but of an Empire which embraced half the globe.' A. N. Wilson, Daily Mail
`A splendid book in every respect.' Simon Heffer, Country Life
`[Hibbert] succeeds in weaving a vast tangle of sources into a driving story. It is a testimony to his skill that he manages to make his 557-page book feel, If anything, a tad too short... it meticulously fleshes out the little butterball of a woman who came to dominate not only her own time, but ours as well.' Kathryn Hughes, Daily Telegraph
`Full of scholarly references and splendidly produced.' Robert Blake, Sunday Telegraph
`A deliciously gossipy but thoughtful biography...an exceptional portrait of a homely, formidably strong-willed woman who used her power both admirably and abominably.' Miranda Seymour, Sunday Times
`A lively, episodic account of a remarkable woman's life...particularly strong on the stifling dullness of court life, Victoria's extraordinary relations with her Scottish and Indian servants, and her absolute domination of her children.' Evening Standard
`An unrivalled portrait of a marriage...she emerges from his compelling narrative a more real, complex and fascinating figure than ever before.' Financial Times
`This personal history provides as much food for thought as it does narrative energy and excitement.' Scotsman