17 Carnations

ISBN: 978-1478959151
Review Date:

Full Title: 17 Carnations: The Royals, the Nazis, and the Biggest Cover-Up in History

The Duke of Windsor, at one time known as Prince Edward and then briefly King Edward VIII, was surrounded by controversy throughout his life. His many romances, his short reign, his connections with Nazis, and the rift with the rest of his family all generated attention not necessarily in his favor. His spouse, Wallis Simpson, with her own involvement with Nazis and her twice-divorced past, contributed her share of drama to the relationship. Journalist Andrew Morton's 17 Carnations told of the life of the former king and his spouse. The book was very well written. I particularly enjoyed the final chapters detailing the Allies capturing German documents in the final days of the war, the realization of what the documents might do to the Royal Family's image, and the great efforts to cover up certain facts. While the author cited from authoritative and wide-ranging sources, there was still a feel of sensationalism to the book; the title that he had chosen did not help that fact, for "17 carnations" referred to the unproven, though possibly consequential if true, romantic affair between Simpson and German diplomat Joachim von Ribbentrop. I thought I could safely say that the "biggest cover-up" bit in the sub-title was quite a stretch on the part of the author, too. All that put a bad taste in my mouth, but nevertheless, for the negatives that sensationalism might bring, it also provided readers great drama and excitement, something I rather appreciate.

I had reviewed this title in its audio book format. I thought James Langton did an excellent job with the reading, and certainly would look forward to his other performances, hopefully in topics involving the WW2 era.

17 Carnations was an enjoyable read. Some passages surely needed to be taken with a grain of salt, but it might just be the right complement to other biographies of the former king.

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Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, at Guadalcanal