Thursday, April 21, 2011

The King's Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi

The King’s Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi (Rated: C)
ISBN: 978-0143178545
Penguin Group
Published 2010
Trade Paperback, 242 pages

Reviewed by Sandra

The idea for this book came after the movie was in progress. In 2009 the producer approached Mark Logue, one of Lionel Logue’s (the therapist) grandchildren, because he wanted his film to be as historically accurate as possible. Who better to consult than a relative? As it turned out, the grandson knew very little about his grandfather’s past. Lionel Logue died 12 years before the author was born.

Mark Logue soon came to understand the significant role played by his grandfather, however, as he began examining Lionel’s papers, including vividly written diaries wherein he recorded in great detail meetings with the King (the present Queen’s father). Mark Logue soon learned about how his grandfather had helped the Duke of York, subsequently the King of England, in his lifelong battle against a debilitating stammer that turned every speech and radio broadcast into a horrible experience. He read the warm and friendly correspondence between his grandfather and George VI, starting in 1926. They shared a lifelong friendship or as much of a friendship that can exist between a member of royalty and a commoner, often exchanging gifts.

Inspired by the movie, Mark Logue wanted to tell the complete story of his grandfather’s life. Therefore this book is written from the standpoint of Lionel Logue and focuses on him rather than the King. It is a biography of his life and times, starting from his childhood in Australia in the 1880’s until this death in England in 1953. Documents running to hundreds of pages were read, diaries perused, newspaper clippings examined, scrapbooks consulted. The result is a very readable story of an out-going, personable individual who both by his self-taught techniques and particularly his warm friendship, effectively helped a king “rally the troops” at a crucial time in history. Extra gems are to be found in the considerable number of historical details of the years between the late 1920’s and the 1950’s to which the reader is treated. Highlighted also is the supportive role the then Queen (known to us as the Queen Mother) played in saving her husband’s reputation.

The book was written by Mark Logue who is a filmmaker and custodian of the Logue Archive and Peter Conradi, an author and newspaper journalist. It comes across as a labor of love.

I highly recommend this book.

Disclosure: I bought this book through and was not compensated in any way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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  1. I bet this is fabulous! I loved the movie but had trouble with the accents a few times. It would be great to read things from Lionel's perspective.

  2. Unusual to see a book inspired by a movie, rather than the other way around. This sounds good. Thanks for your review!

  3. I loved The King's Speech and most certainly want to read this book. Particularly in light of some of the articles I read in the press that parts of the movie were exaggerated (the friendship & the stutter).

    Thanks for spotlighting this bio!

  4. e are going to be watching this movie this afternoon; can't wait. I do want to read the book as well.


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