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King, Kaiser, Tsar : three royal cousins who led the world to war
Catrine Clay
Adult Nonfiction DA573 .C58 2007

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From Publishers' Weekly:

How did WWI happen? Was it the inevitable product of vast, impersonal forces colliding? Or was it a completely avoidable war that resulted from flawed decisions by individuals? Clay (Princess to Queen), a documentary producer for the BBC, inclines strongly to the latter explanation, and she brilliantly narrates how just three men led their nations to war. Forming a trade union of majesties, King George V (Britain), Kaiser Wilhelm II (Germany) and Czar Nicholas II (Russia) were cousins who together ruled more than half the world. They were a family, and thus subject to the same tensions and turmoil that afflict every family. They had "played together, celebrated each other's birthdays... and later attended each other's weddings," but still, while George and Nicholas were close, Wilhelm was something of an outsider--a feeling exacerbated by his paranoia and self-loathing. Over time, his sense of exclusion and humiliation would avenge itself on the family and eventually contributed strongly to the murder of Nicholas and the loss of his own throne. Clay's theory does have a hole--though not ruled by the "cousins," France and Austria-Hungary also played major roles in the outbreak of war--but that does not detract from the ingenuity and pleasure of her narrative. 35 b&w photos. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Clay (documentary producer, BBC: Princess to Queen) has written a truly ambitious biography of not one but three significant men. King George V of England, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (familiarly known as Georgie, Willy, and Nicky) were more than just the leaders of three of the most powerful countries in the world in the early 20th century-they were cousins who had grown up together, played together, and attended family functions together. Queen Victoria, as grandmother to Georgie and Willy and grandmother through marriage to Nicky, is here depicted as the strong matriarch linking the three together. Clay expertly weaves the story of the boys' lives up to World War I, using diary entries and letters written by members of this extended royal family and their acquaintances (many of these documents were made newly available for this publication). With remarkable expertise, she provides an intimate look inside the lives of these boys as they grew into manhood and became king, kaiser, and tsar, bringing new pleasures and details to a well-known subject. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.-Susanne Markgren, SUNY Purchase Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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