Saturday, September 27, 2008

Edward VII & Theodore Roosevelt

Continuing our Anglo-American theme....

For some reason the New York Times chose to assign the review of David Fromkin's The King and the Cowboy: Theodore Roosevelt and Edward the Seventh, Secret Partners to the notorious republican Johann Hari. Mr. Hari may have a legitimate point in questioning whether this alleged "friendship" between two men who never met was all that important, but unsurprisingly for a Brit who despises his own country's greatest institution, there is much that is sloppy and haphazard in the review.

Mr. Hari claims that upon Edward VII's accession, "[a] relative of the king, Princess May of Teck, summarized the public mood in Britain when she howled, 'God help us all!'" Princess May of Teck (who by that time would have been known as Mary, Princess of Wales) was not just a "relative," she was his daughter-in-law (would it have been so difficult to say so?), and it is difficult to imagine anyone less likely to express herself by "howling," nor am I aware of any evidence of horror at her father-in-law's accession. The remark, if made, was more likely to have been an expression of grief and shock at the loss of a beloved queen and grandmother-in-law without whom many who grew up during her reign could not imagine Britain. Mr. Hari also flippantly refers to the much-maligned Kaiser Wilhelm II as "half-mad," as is this were an incontestable statement of fact, conveniently ignoring that the very newspaper in which he is writing, the New York Times, lavished praised on the Kaiser in 1913 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his accession for having maintained the peace in Europe.

The next time the New York Times wishes to review a book on the British monarchy, perhaps they could assign the review to someone with more credentials to his name than adolescent pseudo-rebellious contempt for it.

1 comment:

elena maria vidal said...

What an ignorant and disgusting review!