Bookmarks: Rumpy-pumpy between the royal sheets

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Bookmarks: Rumpy-pumpy between the royal sheets

A fortnightly look at books, writers and reviews

Andrew Donaldson

Among the critics who lined up to put the boot into MP and arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg’s recently published The Victorians: Twelve Titans Who Forged Britain (WH Allen) was the popular historian AN Wilson, one of the more respected chroniclers of Britain’s 19th century imperial heyday. 

Writing in the Times of London, Wilson described the book, published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth, as “anathema to anyone with an ounce of historical, or simply common, sense” and a collection of “a dozen clumsily written pompous schoolboy compositions”. It claimed to be a work of history, he added, but was in fact “yet another bit of self-promotion by a highly motivated modern politician”.

This is nowhere near as withering as some of the other notices for The Victorians – in the Guardian, its author was was described as “the stupid kind of Tory’s idea of what a clever kind of Tory ought to sound like” – but there may have been an element of self-promotion in Wilson’s dismissal of a work that, by all accounts, should never have been published...

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