Too vulgar

Gabriele Annan

  • The Last Empress: The Life and Times of Zita of Austria-Hungary by Gordon Brook-Shepherd
    HarperCollins, 364 pp, £20.00, November 1991, ISBN 0 00 215861 2

Queen consorts usually have their lives written by the Barbara Cartlands of biography, romantics like Joan Haslip whose life of the famous fascinator Elizabeth of Austria, the last empress but one, was as spirited as its subject. Gordon Brook-Shepherd is not that kind of writer at all (nor was his empress that kind of empress). A former foreign correspondent and deputy editor of the Sunday Telegraph, he is a specialist in modern Central European history who munches informatively through the events on his plate. No dramatics for him, and no psychologising either.

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