Fri October 1, 2010
"Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I" (Encore presentation.)
By Rich Fisher
Tulsa, Oklahoma – (Please note: This show originally aired earlier this year.) On our show today, a discussion with the award-winning British author Miranda Carter, whose latest book is an equally sweeping and impressive work of history called "George, Nicholas, and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I" (Knopf). In this rather massive yet page-turning volume, Carter employs family correspondence as well as various historical sources and scholarly works to depict a small, solipsistic, and super-lavish world that was often dramatically out of kilter with its era. The three cousins of the title are, of course, the story's three main players --- namely, George V, Wilhelm II, and Nicholas II. But another fascinating personality emerges in these pages: Queen Victoria --- grandmother to two of these men, grandmother-in-law to the third --- whose conservatism, stubbornness, and obsession with family and tradition left a dangerous legacy for all involved. As Dwight Garner has written in The New York Times: "Ms. Carter . . . relates history on a large canvas here, and it's a story she mostly tells with vigor and parched wit. . . . [This] is an impressive book. Ms. Carter has clearly not bitten off more than she can chew, for she --- as John Updike once wrote about Gunter Grass --- 'chews it enthusiastically before our eyes.'"