The Crown in Crisis: Countdown to the Abdication by Alexander Larman

The Crown in Crisis: Countdown to the Abdication by Alexander Larman
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Genre: Historical, Non-Fiction
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

The thrilling and definitive account of the Abdication Crisis of 1936

On December 10, 1936, King Edward VIII brought a great international drama to a close when he abdicated, renouncing the throne of the United Kingdom for himself and his heirs. The reason he gave when addressing his subjects was that he could not fulfill his duties without the woman he loved―the notorious American divorcee Wallis Simpson―by his side. His actions scandalized the establishment, who were desperate to avoid an international embarrassment at a time when war seemed imminent. That the King was rumored to have Nazi sympathies only strengthened their determination that he should be forced off the throne, by any means necessary.

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For the first time in a book about the abdication, readers will read an in-depth account of the assassination attempt on Edward’s life and its consequences, a first-person chronicle of Wallis Simpson’s scandalous divorce proceedings, information from the Royal Archives about the government’s worries about Edward’s relationship with Nazi high-command Ribbentrop and a boots-on-the-ground view of how the British people saw Edward as they watched the drama unfold. You won’t be able to put down The Crown in Crisis, a full panorama of the people and the times surrounding Edward and the woman he loved.

A complicated love and a complicated situation all the way around.

I had no idea how complicated and what a deal it was when Edward decided to abdicate. This was just simply history to me. Something that happened, but this book makes the situation come alive.

I will be the first to admit I didn’t know much about the abdication. I didn’t know much about the people involved beyond knowing their names. That was it. By reading this book, it brought the situation to life for me. Wallis was more than a name on a page. She’s complicated and cunning. She’s also in love with Edward–it seems sort of that she’s in love with his status and his position, but there also seemed like genuine love there. Edward was in love. He wanted Wallis because she seemed to be everything he loved in life–her freedom, her coolness and her ability to worm her way into situations. She knew how to be someone. She could be vain and snotty, though, too.

There were a lot of levers being pulled in this situation and so many players. It’s a complicated read, but it’s also worth the time. Pick this one up and go for the ride.

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