Queen and Country

The Fifty-Year Reign of Elizabeth II

By William Shawcross
(Simon & Schuster, Hardcover, 9780743226769, 224pp.)

Publication Date: April 2002

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Description
The year 2002 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Elizabeth II's accession to the British throne. To celebrate this occasion, William Shawcross, an award-winning writer and journalist, has written an intimate and revealing portrait of the Queen and an absorbing narrative of how the faces of the monarchy, Britain, and the world have changed over the past fifty years. Britain today bears little resemblance to the country the Queen inherited in 1952. There is more criticism than deference; the institution of the monarchy is no longer accepted unquestioningly. Yet, as Shawcross describes here, Elizabeth's long and valiant, sometimes difficult, always challenging reign shows us a monarch who has risen admirably to the occasion and has held the country and the commonwealth together.

Drawn from the BBC's landmark four-part television series, "Queen and Country" combines personal recollections, classic archive film, and contemporary footage, as it examines how the Queen has adapted and succeeded. Exploring several aspects of her public role -- including her relationships with successive prime ministers -- Shawcross shows how she has remained a fixed point in the storm, a reassuring bedrock of stability, calm, and good sense, who has earned the respect and affection of the world.

With more than one hundred photographs, this volume focuses on four parts of the Queen's life. The first explores the central relationship between the Queen and her subjects. Her private life is the subject of the second part as Shawcross describes how she enjoys horse racing, her dogs, shooting, and family life. He also discusses the turbulence of her children's marriages and lives. Part III focuses on theQueen's political role as head of state and explores how close she is to the center of decision making. The final part follows Elizabeth II as she travels the globe and strengthens the ties of the commonwealth.

Written with the cooperation of the Queen's family, friends, and her trusted aides, this unique portrait accompanies the celebration of her golden jubilee that will be one of the most televised and written-about events of 2002. "Queen and Country" is the most authoritative account of Elizabeth's reign that will appear during this year-long celebration.

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