A chronicle of the longest reigning dynasty in the world traces the rule of the Grimaldis of Monaco from the French Revolution to the present, including profiles of Caroline, Albert, and Stephanie. 100,000 first printing. $100,000 ad/promo. BOMC Alt.
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Veteran celebrity-biographer Edwards (Wallis, 1991, etc.) does her best with Prince Rainier and his ancestors, but the Grimaldis as a dynasty seem more bent on survival than on cutting a heroic figure. Europe's oldest dynasty was founded in 1215, when wealthy Genoese merchant Rainier Grimaldi established a fortress on the rock that was to become the heart of the principality. The place was soon under siege from a rebellious nephew; and during subsequent centuries the rulers of Monaco have had to contend with threats from family members, neighboring France and Italy, and magnates like Aristotle Onassis. The Grimaldis also once held the title of ``prince of France,'' which endowed the family with great prestige and proved especially useful during those centuries when marriage to a very rich woman was the only form of respectable entrepreneurship open to improvident aristocrats. As absentee landlords who preferred to live in Paris, the Grimaldis neglected Monaco itself--that ``sunny place for shady people,'' as it was once described by Somerset Maugham. Not until a Princess Caroline of the mid-1800's had the brilliant idea of building a casino did the principality become wealthy and self-supporting--though this solution wasn't exactly approved of by such people as Queen Victoria, who refused to visit the Grimaldis in their palace. Extravagant and apparently prone to making bad judgments (Prince Rainier's grandfather saved the family and his fortune by collaborating with the Nazis) and bad marriages (Edwards excepts the marriage to Grace Kelly), the family has lurched from one scandal and financial disaster to another, though Edwards feels that the present prince, decent and well-intentioned, is doing good things for his family and country. Competently written and researched, but, apart from the Grace Kelly years, the Grimaldis come off here as a rather shabby and dull lot. (B&w photos--48--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.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.
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Book Description William Morrow, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110002151952
Book Description William Morrow, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Photographs (illustrator). book. Bookseller Inventory # M0002151952