Thursday, 6 January 2011

Book news: Some books of 2011

The book harvest of 2010 was in my opinion unusually good and now that 2011 has dawned we might use the opportunity to take a look at some of the books expected this year.
In Sweden, Britt Dahlström, whose latest book was about the books of the queens in the Bernadotte Library, is writing a book on Prince Wilhelm as an author. Bo Eriksson has written Svenska adelns historia, a history of the Swedish nobility, which will be published by Norstedts in the spring.
Dianne Rauscher, one of the authors behind the biography of King Carl XVI Gustaf which caused such an outcry two months ago, is at work on a biography of Queen Silvia, whose title is intended to be Silvia – Drottning till varje pris (“Silvia: Queen at Any Price”). A critical approach to the Danish monarchy can also be expected in Kim Bach’s book Frederik den sidste (“Frederik the Last”), due in April.
That month’s British royal wedding can surely be counted on to lead to a flood of commemorative books, while Hugo Vickers, whose best book is in my opinion his biography of Princess Alice of Greece, has written a book on the Duchess of Windsor, Behind Closed Doors, which is expected in April. With Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee in 2012 in mind, BBC’s former political editor Andrew Marr is writing a biography of her, but I am not sure if it will be published this autumn or in the jubilee year itself.
The Norwegian biographer Ingar Sletten Kolloen, perhaps best known for his two volumes on Knut Hamsun, is writing the authorised biography of Queen Sonja, which is due to be published by Gyldendal in the autumn. The fifth of Tor Bomann-Larsen’s six volumes on King Haakon VII and Queen Maud is also expected towards the end of this year.
2011 has been declared the official “Polar Year” in Norway, marking the centenary of Roald Amundsen’s reaching the South Pole and the 150th anniversary of Fridtjof Nansen’s birth. This will occasion two biographies of Nansen, one by Carl Emil Vogt and one by Harald Dag Jølle. Edvard Hoem is also expected to complete the third and final volume of his biography of the author and hyperactive activist Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson.
In politics, the Norwegian Socialist Left Party’s 50th anniversary will be marked by a book on its history by Frank Rossavik, whose biography of former Labour politician and TV boss Einar Førde drew much acclaim some years ago. Former US Vice President Dick Cheney will publish his memoirs.
Julia Gelardi, who seems to have made collective biographies of royal ladies her speciality, will in March release her third such book, From Splendour to Revolution, this time about four Russian imperial ladies – Empress Maria Fyodorovna, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna (the elder), Queen Olga of the Hellenes and Duchess Marie of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
A Danish art historian, Thyge Christian Fønss, will release a book on the iconography of Queen Margrethe II, due out in the autumn ahead of her 40th anniversary on the throne in January next year. This might be an interesting book as Queen Margrethe is not only artistically conscious but, alongside Queen Elizabeth II of Britain, she is probably the most frequently painted monarch of our age.
The increasingly confused Swedish tabloid journalist and self-proclaimed “historian” Herman Lindqvist will of course release at least one book, this time a biography of Louis XIV, Ludvig XIV – Solkungen, which will be published by Bonniers in April. Judging by the standards of his latest works, this book will probably bring surprising, new revelations such as that although commonly called “Ludvig” in Swedish, the Sun King’s name was actually Louis and that Louis was in fact the first man on the moon.
Some books which were expected in 2010 but did after all not appear might perhaps do so in 2011. Among them are Jane Ridley’s Bertie: A Biography of Edward VII, Rene Brus’s Crown Jewellery and Regalia of the World, Adam Zamoyski’s The War on Terror, 1815-1848 and Ilana Miller’s The Four Graces: Queen Victoria’s Hessian Granddaughters, which keeps getting postponed every time the publication date gets near.


  1. Ilana Miller's book is printing. We expect it finished very very soon!


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