Tag Archives: political

The Mystery of Princess Louise, by Lucinda Hawksley

Published 2013, 349 pages.

An excellent read which covers the relatively unknown life of Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s second youngest daughter.

  • Was an accomplished sculptor, although some say she didn’t do the time consuming finishing off work of her sculptures.
  • Didn’t like being under Queen Victoria’s thumb and was rebellious
  • Argumentative with her younger sister Beatrice until they were both elderly
  • Compassionate to others through Albert’s guidance during childhood. She was a nurse and helped with many charities.
  • Excellent cook and didn’t mind helping out
  • Controversially had a lover (fellow sculptor)
  • Spent a lot of time in Canada with husband John Douglas Sutherland Campbell,
  • Suffered many deaths of her friends and family
  • Ate little to stay thin (had three brussel sprouts at one dinner) as she wanted to avoid the “Hanoverian” figure of her mother. Louise was in better health than younger sister Beatrice who was overweight
  • The author paints a bad image of Queen Victoria as an over authoritative controller of her off-spring, even more so when they were adults.
  • Louise had a very progressive view of women’s role in society, should be able to become professionals.
  • attractive and popular with public, appeared often in public.

Conclusion

It’s good to read a few books on the same subject and get a different view of the history that is covered, and this book gives a perspective of someone else in the royal family besides Queen Victoria.

 

Animal Farm, by George Orwell

Published 1945, 119 pages.

I first read this in high school way back in 1978, and as my son had to study if for Year 10 it was a good time to read it again.

For this edition I read the notes and it’s interesting to get the background story. The book was controversial and getting it published was a difficult process. A shortage of paper after World War II didn’t help.

Orwell with the book wished to make the point that revolution wasn’t bad, but  success relies on the leaders serving the common good and not themselves. Leaders can get greedy, especially once they cement themselves into the position of power. The common people need to be able to expel leaders that no longer serve them.

British Press

In Appendix 1 Orwell laments that the British Press (especially the “high brow” end) are reluctant to offend Russia. This may be so as not to make political negotiations difficult for the British government. He says that one publisher started to accept the book until they consulted with the Ministry of Information. It’s hard to imagine a government censoring such a book, but talk of censoring the internet now is becoming less imagination and more reality.

Conclusion

A classic book to read, which must be on a number of “bucket” lists by now. The parts where Squealer uses “facts” to keep the other animals ignorant about what is really going on reminds me of the current political situation in the United States. Dangerous times indeed.