Shooting Victoria: Madness, Mayhem, and the Rebirth of the British Monarchy
A New York Times Notable Book for 2012. From a hunchbacked dwarf to a paranoid poet–assassin, a history of Victorian England as seen through the numerous assassination attempts on Queen Victoria. During Queen Victoria’s 64-year reign, no fewer than eight attempts were made on her life. Murphy... show more
A New York Times Notable Book for 2012. From a hunchbacked dwarf to a paranoid poet–assassin, a history of Victorian England as seen through the numerous assassination attempts on Queen Victoria. During Queen Victoria’s 64-year reign, no fewer than eight attempts were made on her life. Murphy follows each would-be assassin and the repercussions of their actions, illuminating daily life in Victorian England, the development of the monarchy under Queen Victoria and the evolution of the attacks in light of evolving social issues and technology.There was Edward Oxford, a bartender who dreamed of becoming an admiral, who was simply shocked when his attempt to shoot the pregnant Queen and Prince consort made him a madman in the world’s eyes. There was hunchbacked John Bean, who dreamed of historical notoriety in a publicized treason trial, and William Hamilton, forever scarred by the ravages of the Irish Potato Famine. Roderick MacLean enabled Victoria to successfully strike insanity pleas from Britain’s legal process. Most threatening of all were the “dynamitards” who targeted her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee—who signaled the advent of modern terrorism with their publicly focused attack.From these cloak-and-dagger plots to Victoria’s brilliant wit and steadfast courage, Shooting Victoria is historical narrative at its most thrilling, complete with astute insight into how these attacks actually revitalized the British crown at a time when monarchy was quickly becoming unpopular abroad. While thrones across Europe toppled, the Queen’s would-be assassins contributed greatly to the preservation of the monarchy and to the stability that it enjoys today. After all, as Victoria herself noted, “It is worth being shot at—to see how much one is loved.” A New York Times Notable Book for 2012 32 pages of black & white and color illustrations
Publish date: July 1st 2012
Pages no: 669
Edition language: English
, European Literature
, British Literature
, 19th Century
, Biography Memoir
, True Crime
, European History
, World History
The author's thesis boils down to "eight assassination attempts secured the preservation of the British monarchy". This thesis is not defended well enough to make the book worthy of its length. Also, there are over 100 pages of endnotes; 1/6 of the book is endnotes. No. An interesting thesis that go...
A very good collective biography that goes a step farther. The story deals with the people who tried to assassinate Queen Victoria, along with their stories, associated events, and how the British monarchy switched from the dislikable, excessive Hanoverans to what we know today. Very well written, e...