Author(s): Miranda Carter
Three cousins. Three Emperors. And the road to ruin. As cousins, George V, Kaiser Wilhelm II and the last Tsar Nicholas II should have been friends - but they happened also to rule Europe's three most powerful states. This potent combination together with their own destructive personalities - petty, insecure, bullying, absurdly obsessive (stamp collecting, uniforms) - led not only to their own dramatic fallouts and falls from grace, but also to the outbreak of the First World War. Miranda Carter's riveting account of how three men who should have known better helped bring down an entire world is a gripping story of abdication, betrayal and murder.
Fascinating. A wonderfully fresh and beautifully choreographed work of history -- Craig Brown Mail on Sunday Carter draws masterful portraits of her subjects and tells the complicated story of Europe's failing international relations well...a highly readable and well-documented account Spectator Absorbing. Carter has a good eye for a quote and an ability to bring various personalities to life. A convincing and considerable achievement -- Sarah Bradford Literary Review Carter's account of how an already dysfunctional family turned toxic is fresh and enjoyable...timely and welcome Guardian Miranda Carter's story is full of vivid quotations...a romp though the palaces of Europe in their last decades before Armageddon Sunday Times Well-paced, a thoroughly polished, professional piece of work. A macabre family saga -- A. N. Wilson Evening Standard An entertaining study of power and personality portrays the strutting absurdity and grotesque glamour of the last emperors on the eve of catastrophe -- Simon Sebag Montefiore Financial Times Fascinating. Carter is a gifted storyteller and has written a very readable account Independent Carter's intelligent, entertainging and informative book folds dynastic and political narratives into a panoramic account of Europe's road to war London Review of Books In her group biography of three monarchs, Carter has succeeded in painting their personalities in vivid colours...she brings an excellent biographer's eye for the telling detail...the great appeal of this book lies in it narration and comparative analysis of the life and personality of her imperial subjects...well-researched and expertly written...an engaging and remarkably even-handed portrayal The Times Literary Supplement That these three absurd men could ever have held the fate of Europe in their hands is a fact as hilarious as it is terrifying. I haven't enjoyed a historical biography this much since Lytton Strachey's Victoria -- Zadie Smith Miranda Carter writes with lusty humour, has a fresh clarifying intelligence, and a sharp eye for telling details. This is traditional narrative history with a 21st-century zing. A real corker of a book History Today A highly original way of looking at the years that led up to 1914 -- Antonia Fraser Sunday Telegraph Books of the Year Carter deftly interpolates history with psychobiography to provide a damning indictment of monarchy in all its forms -- Will Self New Statesmen Books of the Year A depiction of bloated power and outsize personalities in which Carter picks apart the strutting absurdity of the last emperors on the eve of catastrophe Financial Times Books of the Year Takes what should have been a daunting subject and through sheer wit and narrative elan turns it into engaging drama. Carter has a notable gift for characterisation -- Jonathan Coe Guardian Books of the Year
Miranda Carter's first book, Anthony Blunt: His Lives, won the Royal Society of Literature Award and the Orwell Prize and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Biography Prize, the Guardian First Book Award, the Duff Cooper Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. The book was named as one of the New York Times Book Review's seven best books of 2002. Miranda lives in London with her husband and two sons.