George III

George III

The Life and Reign of Britain's Most Misunderstood Monarch

Summary

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George III, Britain's longest-reigning king, has gone down in history as 'the cruellest tyrant of this age' (Thomas Paine, eighteenth century), 'a sovereign who inflicted more profound and enduring injuries upon this country than any other modern English king' (WEH Lecky, nineteenth century), 'one of England's most disastrous kings' (JH Plumb, twentieth century) and as the pompous, camp and sinister monarch of the musical 'Hamilton' (twenty-first century).

Andrew Roberts's magnificent new biography takes entirely the opposite view. It convincingly portrays George as intelligent, benevolent, scrupulously devoted to the constitution of his country and (as head of government as well as head of state) navigating the turbulence of eighteenth-century politics with a strong sense of honour and duty. He was a devoted husband and family man, a great patron of the arts and sciences, keen ('Farmer George') to advance Britain's agricultural capacity and determined that her horizons should be global.

The book gives a detailed, revisionist account of the American War of Independence, amongst other things persuasively taking apart a significant proportion of the Declaration of Independence. In a later war, it shows how George's support for William Pitt was crucial to the battle against Napoleon. And it makes a credible, modern diagnosis of George's terrible malady which robbed him of his mind for the last 10 years of his life - his other main claim to the popular imagination.

Roberts argues that, far from being a tyrant or incompetent, George III was one of our most admirable monarchs. George III shows one of Britain's premier historians at his sparkling best.

© Andrew Roberts 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021

Reviews

  • George, Roberts writes, "more than filled the role of King of Great Britain worthily; he filled it nobly". After reading this mammoth, elegant and splendidly researched biography, no open-minded reader could possibly disagree - not even an American.

    Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times

About the author

Andrew Roberts

Andrew Roberts is a biographer and historian of international renown whose books include Salisbury: Victorian Titan (winner of the Wolfson Prize for History), Masters and Commanders (winner of the Emery Reves Award), The Storm of War (winner of the British Army Book Prize), Napoleon the Great (winner of the Grand Prix of the Fondation Napoléon and the Los Angeles Times Biography Prize) and Leadership in War. His Churchill: Walking with Destiny (2018) was acclaimed as 'undoubtedly the best single-volume life of Churchill ever written' (Sunday Times) and was a major bestseller in UK and USA. Roberts is a Fellow of the Royal Societies of Literature and the Royal Historical Society, and a Trustee of the International Churchill Society. He is currently Visiting Professor at the Department of War Studies at King's College, London, and the Roger and Martha Mertz Visiting Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His website is www.andrew-roberts.net.
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