Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Book news: Some books due this autumn

With autumn approaching it seems this year’s book harvest will be a rather rich one. Among the most interesting titles expected in the coming months is Dynastiet Glücksburg - En danmarkshistorie (“The Glücksburg Dynasty: A History of Denmark”) by the historian Jes Fabricius Møller, a political history of the current Danish royal house which is due to be published by Gad at the end of September. The history of the Danish monarchy will also be covered in a new work on the tombs of Danish kings, Danske kongegrave, which is also due this autumn.
The King of Sweden is celebrating his fortieth anniversary on the throne in September, which is the occasion for the book Mina 40 år för Sverige (“My Forty Year for Sweden”), which consists of some 300 photos from the past four decades to which the King has added his comments.
Queen Silvia is probably not looking forward to the publication later this month of Erik Åsard’s book Drottningens hemlighet (“The Queen’s Secret”), which again addresses the issue of her father’s membership of the German Nazi party and his actions during the Second World War.
That war will also be at the centre of the sixth volume of Tor Bomann-Larsen’s biography of King Haakon VII of Norway, which will be published in mid-October and which will take the story from June to September 1940. The events of that crucial year will obviously also be addressed in Halvdan Koht - Veien mot framtiden (“Halvdan Koht: The Road to the Future”), the historian Åsmund Svendsen’s biography of the eminent historian Halvdan Koht, who served as foreign minister in Johan Nygaardsvold’s government and consequently had to accept some of the blame for Norway’s being poorly prepared for the German invasion on 9 April 1940.
The upcoming centenary of the outbreak of the First World War has already led to a number of books. One which seems particularly promising is The War that Ended Peace: How Europe Abandoned Peace for the First World War by the historian Margaret MacMillan, who is perhaps best known for her book on the Paris peace conference of 1919. That book will be out at the middle of October. The military historian Max Hastings will give his version of those events in Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914, to be published in September.
The First World War was unleashed by the assassination in Sarajevo of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian thrones, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife, Duchess Sophie of Hohenberg. Their story is told by Greg King and Sue Woolmans in The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Murder that Changed the World, which is due to be published in September.
The lead-up to the Second World War sets the stage for Peter Conradi’s Hot Dogs and Cocktails: When FDR Met King George VI at Hyde Park on Hudson, which relates the story of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of Britain’s visit to the United States and its president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1939. Peter Conradi, a journalist at Sunday Times, is best known as the author of The King’s Speech, the book behind the Academy Award-winning film, but has also written The Great Survivors: How Monarchy Made it into the Twenty-First Century, an interesting book (so far published in English, French, Swedish and Dutch) on the European monarchies of today.
The long-awaited second volume of Philip G. Dwyer’s biography of Emperor Napoléon I of France, Citizen Emperor: Napoleon in Power, 1799-1815, will be published in early November.
This week will see the publication of a new biography of Mary Queen of Scots, Crown of Thistles: The Fatal Inheritance of Mary Queen of Scots, by Linda Porter, who has earlier written acclaimed biographies of Queen Mary I of England and Katherine Parr, the last of Henry VIII’s six queens.
Also out this week is Axel & Margaretha: A Royal Couple, written by the Danish journalist Randi Buchwaldt and published by Rosvall Royal Books. This richly illustrated book tells the story of Prince Axel and Princess Margaretha of Denmark, who played more significant parts in the lives of the Scandinavian royal families than their fairly remote genealogical positions would suggest.
The life of Queen Christina after her abdication in 1654 is the topic of Drottning utan land - Kristina i Rom by the historian Erik Petersson, which will be published in September. The book, which is the 28-year-old author’s fourth, is the sequel to his earlier book on Queen Christina’s reign, Maktspelerskan (2011).
November will see the publication of a biography of Princess Louise of Britain, Duchess of Argyll, the somewhat unconventional daughter of Queen Victoria of Britain. The Mystery of Princess Louise: Queen Victoria’s Rebellious Daughter is written by Lucinda Hawksley.

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