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04 February 2013

Mark Black: Wallis Simpson: A Very Brief History

This useful brief history of Wallis Simpson is the first of the plethora of "Very Brief Histories" being released on Amazon by Mark Black. Basically they are >50 page Amazon Kindle "Readers' Digest" summaries of lives of key people and events in history.

Wallis Simpson was a key person in history because she nearly toppled the English Throne when Edward VIII (her David) wanted to marry her. The real issues were that Edward wanted to marry a twice divorced woman who was not only a commoner but a US citizen. I have watched a number of TV series covering the abdication but this small history told me a lot more, especially about Wallis (she "could no more stop flirting than she could stop breathing"). It also opened my eyes to David's personality - his staff referred to his "ethical impotence" and described him as "an anomalous abnormal being, half genius and half child". He really didn't appreciate the impact on his life when he decided to abdicate.

The fairy story had good and bad endings. After the abdication, David and Wallis lived extravagant and wealthy lives for many years throughout the world as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor but this life was always in exile from the UK. After David's death Wallis's health deteriorated badly and she was not able to protect her financial affairs from unscrupulous advisers.

I found this little history most interesting, but of course lacking in depth and analysis because of its length. As they are easy reading I will look at some of the other brief histories that take my interest.


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