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Download Victoria: A Life Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Victoria: A Life Audiobook, by A. N. Wilson Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: A. N. Wilson Narrator: Clive Chafer Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2014 ISBN: 9781483027760
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Acclaimed historian A. N. Wilson gives a sweeping, definitive biography of one of the most recognizable yet enigmatic monarchs of all time.

The longest reigning British monarch and female sovereign in history, Queen Victoria was a figure of profound paradox who has mystified historians for over a century. Now in this magisterial biography, A. N. Wilson rebukes the conventional wisdom about her life—that she was merely a “funny little woman in a bonnet” who did next to nothing—to show she was in fact intensely involved in state affairs despite a public façade of inaction. More than just the stock image of a stuffy, unsmiling widow in mourning, Wilson’s complete immersion in Victoria’s countless letters and journals reveals a carefully nuanced portrait of a monarch possessed by family immigrant insecurities, a reluctant public figure who learned to exploit public display, a mother who hated pregnancy, and above all, a political luminary who created and controlled the story of her life, true or otherwise.

Victoria brings to life its subject in all her many moods and phases: her so-called miserable childhood, her early years of political inexperience as a pawn to advisers and statesmen, her passionate marriage to Prince Albert and the incessant public criticism, her famed mourning period after Albert’s early death, and finally, the captivating last decades of her rule as Empress of India. After nearly two decades as an eccentric, reclusive mourner, she emerged, self-confident and robust, as an out-and-out imperialist who harnessed royalty with British foreign policy and as the figurehead of military and economic world domination.

Wilson tells a story of victory against painful odds and gives the portrait of a woman battling with demons and overcoming them, largely alone. Despite everything, she came to embody the British people’s experience of their own lives. For those hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world, Queen Victoria transcended autocracy; she became the model for all future constitutional monarchies, a beloved leader who reflected back to the people their own experiences of passing time, their own values, and their own sense of the world. With dramatic sweep and novelistic style, Victoria: A Life is an accomplished work from one of our greatest biographers.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An assured, affectionate portrait written in accessible prose.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Survey[s] the political history of the world’s most powerful empire while also doing justice to the inner life of a short, stout mother and grandmother.”

    New York Times

  • “[A] shimmering and rather wonderful biography.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “Wilson’s [biography of Queen Victoria] may be the best I have read.”

    Washington Post

  • “A critical biography—funny, insightful, original, and authoritative. At last Victoria has been rescuedfrom her widow’s weeds.”

    Spectator (UK)

  • “Masterful…A thoughtful…often deliciously entertaining tale of a unique monarch.”

    Seattle Times

  • “[Wilson is] a superb biographer…He has liberated Victoria from the protective raiment of her family and the British establishment.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “Admiration for the long-reigning female monarch is evident in this comprehensive, highly accessible work…Highly recommended.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Few if any previous biographers have viewed her as incisively and absorbingly as Wilson does.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Wilson…lends a lively expertise to his portrayal…A robust, immensely entertaining portrait from a master biographer.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “More than a Victoria biography, Wilson skillfully weaves the vast narrative of the Victorian landscape.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “British narrator Clive Chafer unfolds the story of Victoria’s lonely childhood and apprenticeship as a ruler…Chafer’s narration elegantly captures Victoria’s sixty-four-year reign as well as her personal triumphs and struggles. This is storytelling fit for a queen.”


  • Longlisted for the 2015 PEN Literary Award
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About the Author

A. N. Wilson is a renowned British journalist and author. He has written several acclaimed biographies, including Tolstoy, C. S. Lewis, Jesus, and Paul. He taught for seven years at Oxford before becoming a journalist. He has won numerous awards, including the E. M. Forster Award, the Whitbread Biography Award, and the Somerset Maugham Award. A frequent contributor to the Daily Mail, Times Literary Supplement, New Statesman, Spectator, and Observer, he lives in London.

About the Narrator

Clive Chafer is a professional actor, director, producer, and theater instructor. Originally from England and educated at Leeds and Exeter universities, he has performed and directed at many theaters in the San Francisco area, where he makes his home, and elsewhere in the US. In 1993 he founded TheatreFIRST, Oakland’s professional theater company, where he served as artistic director until 2008.