The Mountbattens By Andrew Lownie
Book/Novel Author: Andrew Lownie
Book/Novel Title: The Mountbattens
The intimate story of a unique marriage spanning the heights of British glamour and power that descends into infidelity, manipulation, and disaster through the heart of the twentieth century.DICKIE MOUNTBATTEN: A major figure behind his nephew Philip’s marriage to Queen Elizabeth II and instrumental in the royal family taking the Mountbatten name, he was Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia during World War II and the last Viceroy of India. EDWINA MOUNTBATTEN: Once the richest woman in Britain—and a playgirl who enjoyed numerous affairs—she emerged from World War II as a magnetic and talented humanitarian worker who was loved throughout the world. From British high society to the South of France, from the battlefields of Burma to the Viceroy’s House, The Mountbattens is a rich and filmic story of a powerful partnership, revealing the truth behind a carefully curated legend. Was Mountbatten one of the outstanding leaders of his generation, or a man over-promoted because of his royal birth, high-level connections, film-star looks and ruthless self-promotion? What is the true story behind controversies such as the Dieppe Raid and Indian Partition, the love affair between Edwina and Nehru, and Mountbatten’s assassination in 1979?Read more
A well balanced account of an amazing couple who could not possibly get by today with what they did then.There is still a lot of unproven details about their lives but enough fact to give one pause and regardless, their end is still as tragic and unnecessary now as it wasat the time.A lot of comparisons to the Windsors come to mind, the Mountbattens simply got away with more!Good reading.
An informative, well-researched and thought provoking addition to the literature of its subjects, especially Lady M, the public record of whom becomes more understandable.Sobering evidence of the strong potential for harm when hereditary privilege/proximity to a crown supersedes objective criteria, not to mention rule of law. It’s mystifying that the impressionable, impetuous Lord M remained in strategic command positions during WWII.His strengths, clearly, lay elsewhere; in PR, maintenance of morale, procurement & supply lines.His ego may have exceeded even MacArthur’s, albeit relatively unencumbered by similar intellect, a man who must have been exhausting to know.
A tale of two masterful show persons, Dickie and Edwina. Born privileged almost beyond comprehension. Mountbatten driven by passionate ambition to avenge the sacking his father, Prince Louis Of Battenberg, FirstSea Lord of the British Navy at the start of World War 1. Sacked because he was german. Family named changed from Battenberg to Mountbatten. Mountbatten was always protected by his royal blood and connections. Edwina, partly Jewish, the richest woman in England! The book lists to nauseam the men that Edwina slept with. One feels sorry for Edwina…that it took World War 2 to give her a magnificent validating career. The naval description of Mountbatten’s naval service with the HMS Kelly is confusing. Nowhere is it noted that Mounbatten commanded a flotilla of destroyers and not just the HMS Kelly. So the action of Mountbatten, playing Nelson, flashing messages while hunting german submarine only makes sense if to understand he was signaling his flotilla. Seeing the light the german submarine torpedoed the Kelly costing lives and high causalities. Mountbatten the showman would go to cost many more lives. One need only mention the Deippe Raid which wiped out the Royal Regiment of Canada.Mountbatten was never held to account for his screwups. He was given medals instead! One wonders why he went fishing in Ireland after warnings of IRA danger. HIs death at the hands of the IRA was the death of a showman who had planned his own funeral!
Louis Mountbatten was born in 1900. His father was the First Lord of the Admirality meaning he was the top sailor in His Majesty’s Royal Navy. The family’s real name was Battenberg which was changed at the behest of King George V during World War I to the more English sounding “Mountbatten.” Louis was born at Frogmore in Windsor Park and was the great-grandson of Queen Victoria (reign from 1837-1901).He was a brilliant boy attending Dartmouth the Royal Navy College as well as Cambridge. He served in the British Navy from 1917 and held such prestigious posts as Commander of the Combined Fleet of operations in World War II and later as First Lord of the Admiralty. He was in charge of the disastrous Dieppe Raid on the Nazi occupied French village in August 1942. Nevertheless, the failures of Dieppe also led to valuable lessons the Allies used in their later invasion of North Africa called Torch and the June 6,1944 Normandy Invasion. When the shiphe captained HMS Kelly was sunk in 1942 its sad story was turned into a famous patriotic wartime patriotic film by his friend Noel Coward. He loved films counting among his friend Douglas Fairbanks Sr and Jr; and others. He had a long affair with Shirley MacLaine.Mountbatten’s greatest achievement was to serve as the last Viceroy of colonial India until that nation and the newly formed Muslim dominated Pakistan gained independence from Britain on August 15, 1947.Mountbatten was and remains a controversial historical figure. He may or may not have been involved in the right wing coup to replace Prime Minister Harold Wilson. It is a fact that he was liberal in his personal beliefs and had little prejudice against persons of color. Mountbatten was the uncle and mentor of the young Prince Charles even fostering many of the heir’s love interests. He also was instrumental in bringing together Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth, He was an advisor and friend of many members of the Royal Family. He was assassinated in Ireland by being blown up by a bomb placed on his yacht in the summer of 1949. His Royal funeral was attended by thousands and he was mourned by millions.Mountbatten was a brilliant tinker with military gadgetry and could be warm and helpful to others. He did have major flaws such as a narcissistic and egocentric personality. He was vain and very ambitious for honors and glory. Mountbatten had countless affairs during his marriage to his also unfaithful wife Edwina whom he wed in 1922 lasting until her death in 1960.Edwina was a smart young lady who inherited a fortune from her grandfather Ernest Cassel. She was vain, lovely and self-centered. She like Louis had countless affairs including an intimate relationship with Nehru during her husband’s tenure as Viceroy and later Governor General of the newly independent India. She was a cold mother to her children Pat and Pam. She did much great work in medical care and refugee relief both during World War II and later in India. She traveled widely and died in Borneo of heart trouble. She and Louis had great flaws but also did an immense amount of good for others.Louis and Edwina Mountbatten are important figures in any history of Britain and World War II and Indian history. They led fascinating, colorful lives and their fame still beams brightly.This biography by Andrew Lownieis well worth your time and money. Recommended!
This book was excellent. I thought I had read enough about the Mountbattens to know their history well, but boy, after reading this biography was I mistaken!The author truly knew his subjects and wrote truthfully about them, warts and all. It gave a balanced biography that other authors could take a page from.
The book was full of historical facts; dates, time, relationship to other royalty. Facinating inside scoop! Very good read