by Alexandra Campbell
Warwick, Eng.: Helion / Philadelphia: Casemate, 2018. Pp. 382+.
Illus., map, notes, biblio., index. $49.95. ISBN: 1911628267
A King at War
Churchill, author of several earlier works on the Great War, who has also done podcasts and documentaries on the period, takes a look at the remarkably active role George V played in strengthening the national will during the Great War.
Churchill – not related to the late Prime Minister – opens with a chapter on the king’s early life. She reminds us the reader that he was a trained naval officer of some skill, with some 15 years active service. It was the death of his older brother in 1891 that made him royal heir and king. Churchill notes that the king’s naval service may have influenced his “common touch” when he came to oversee the then greatest war in history.
Churchill cover the king’s activities during the war with a chapter for each year, and ends with one on his role during the immediate post-war years as those who served were honored with rituals and monuments. George maintained an impressive schedule during the war, probably working harder than any other national leader, though Italy’s Victor Emmanuel III also spent much of the war at the Front.
Churchill rather skillfully weaves a lot of information on politics, military strategy, and organization into her account, and touches on the role of other members of the royal family in war work and combat, during which one royal kinsman was lost.
An interesting insight into war at the highest levels, the major flaw in this work is Churchill’s use of the present tense, and insists on referring to him as “His Majesty”, which makes her narrative rather stiff at times.
In the Eye of the Storm is a good read for anyone with an interest in the Great War or any royalty watcher.
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