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The Grimaldis of Monaco Hardcover – Sep 1992

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From Publishers Weekly

Scandals outweight the grace notes in Edwards's (Queen Mary and the House of Windsor) utterly engrossing dynastic history of Monaco. A stronghold for warring armies from 200 B.C. onward, Portus Monachus became a possession of the Grimaldi family during the 12th century and the principality has survived against cataclysmic events in neighboring countries and greedy exploitation by Monaco's rulers as well as by outsiders. But in our own day, Edwards shows, Prince Rainier III has proved to be a wise governor, improving life for his subjects while guarding his Mediterranean rock from would-be marauders. The most recent plunderer, Aristotle Onassis, was bested by Rainier in a showdown in 1964, which Edwards describes as having all the elements of the shootout in the Hollywood Western. The bullet, however, was a check for $ 10 million which the principality dispatched to the Greek shipping tycoon as payment for his entire stock in the Societe de Bains de Mer, which controlled Monaco's major assets, including a gambling casino, two sporting clubs and a hotel. Exclaimed Onassis: I was robbed! Photos not seen by PW. BOMC alternate.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Unlike most popular works about the ruling dynasty of Monaco, this entertaining popular history starts with its origins. The first section, 1215-1795, suffers from oversimplification, as Edwards tries to condense complex political and social history into too little space. As the narrative moves into more recent times, the writing becomes more relaxed and clearer. Prince Rainier, Princess Grace, and their families dominate the last third of the book. As one would expect of Edwards, the author of numerous popular biographies of historical, political, and cinematic figures, the emphasis is on the social--marriages, divorces, affairs, feuds, and grievances. Political and economic events are given scant attention. There are some factual errors, but generally the history is accurate if superficial. Libraries already owning much of the large literature about Prince Rainier and Princess Grace probably don't need this book. However, the author's popularity and the substantial publicity planned may create demand. BOMC alternate.
- Barbara Walden, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Living History June 14 2009
By Jonathan Warren - Published on
Format: Hardcover
A great read, and an informative primer to the history of this 700+ years old dynasty. Having been to Monaco many times, I would strongly recommend this text before traveling there. Those who merely see the sites without knowing the story will only have half the experience.

The unlikely history of the per-capita wealthiest nation in the world, the oldest surviving European monarchy and one of oldest family dynasties on the planet, is sure to intrigue. The ongoing story unfolding before us today is certainly enlighted by this book.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Monte Carlo is more than a casino Aug. 1 2001
By Michael K. Smith - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The author has previously published works on Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret, and Countess Tolstoy -- but also on Judy Garland, Shirley Temple, Ronald Reagan, and P.T. Barnum, so the reader may be forgiven for unfounded suspicions of tabloidism. The second half of this workmanlike narrative does, in fact, concern itself mostly with the lively affairs of the current younger generation but the reader may ignore all that (or the reader may try).

For the first half details in sweeping prose the adventurous history of the Grimaldis, "an ambitious, hot-blooded, unscrupulous race, keen to plunder, swift to revenge, and furious in battle." The harbor at Monte Carlo has been strategically important since the Carthaginian fleet anchored there. The Lombards, Arabs, Guelfs, and Genoese all had their strongholds and the Grimaldi family arrived in 1162 as Genoese consuls. One night in 1297, Francesco Grimaldi (known as "the Spiteful") climbed the cliffs with his followers, disguised as monks, and overpowered the small garrison, and the family has ruled the Rock ever since. Edwards makes clear the necessary nerve and tenacity and the willingness to fight, as well as the diplomatic balancing act the princes of Monaco have had to perform in order to survive as a more or less independent state.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Good Book Nov. 16 2012
By Craig A Madurski - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Enjoyed this book very much. Love the 'historical' value and it is just very interesting. Good read for biographical fans too!