A quick but delighted post to say that the book has been reviewed glowingly by Nicola Shulman in the August issue of The Oldie and Kathryn Hughes in this week’s Guardian Saturday Review. Shulman called it ‘this great and well-told story’, and Hughes, acknowledging that I have ‘big shoes to fill’, writes ‘Larman shows a delicate touch too in not banging home the obvious contemporary resonances.’ The Guardian have also made it their Book of the Day. I am very, very happy.
Usually, by this stage in the publicity process, I am desperately casting about to find some item of interest about one of my books. However, with The Crown in Crisis, my cup runneth over, thanks to the kind way in which people have continued to respond to it and asked me to discuss it. Here are a few of the recent highlights.
I sat down with my good friend Dan Jones a couple of weeks ago in his sitting room, amidst a truly phenomenal rain shower, and we had a splendidly entertaining hour’s chat about all things abdication-related for the BBC History podcast. You can have a listen to it here. I’ve also recorded a podcast for the Daily Mirror’s Pod Save The Queen series, and will put a link up to it soon.
As ever with a book like mine, there are articles to be written, and I have enjoyed writing them. I looked at the murky circumstances of the George McMahon assassination attempt in July 1936 for The Critic, tried to give an insight into the behind-the-scenes creation of the book for The Arbuturian and wrote about Edward VIII’s disastrous trip to Scotland in September 1936 for Scotland magazine. I also gave an interview to Italian TV station RAI about potential Italian involvement in the assassination attempt, which you can watch here. The blustery weather made it more eventful than I might have expected.
Reader’s Digest magazine have very kindly made my book their ‘Recommended Read’ for their August issue, and have called it an ‘absorbing new book, [which] takes us through the whole. tangled story with great clarity’. It’s a three-page story, and well worth a read, which you can have here.
More reviews are coming over the next few weeks – fingers crossed – and I’m also thinking about some forthcoming events. I’m doing a couple of private talks in August for members of the Royal Over-Seas League and the Oxford and Cambridge Club – via the medium of Zoom, of course – but my first (and probably only) live event of 2020 will be in September at the Appledore Book Festival in Devon. You can book tickets here – it promises to be the first drive-in literary festival I’ve ever done, and probably quite the unique experience for us all.
As ever, thanks to everyone who has bought the book and enjoyed reading it. It is for all of you that I spend the hours, weeks and months researching and writing, and your continued support is hugely welcome. I am deeply grateful.
Another week, another round of publicity. I’ve never before been involved with a book that has so excited people, and that is testament, I think, to its endlessly fascinating subject. Though I hope that it’s also that rare but wonderful thing- a good read.
Anyway, I very much enjoyed chatting to the marvellous people between History Hack, Alex and Alina – you can hear our conversation (without the really outrageous parts) here, and I’ve also done another Mail Plus video, this time focusing on the assassination attempt on Edward VIII by George McMahon, in which you can see me trying to sound and look knowledgeable while speaking into an iPhone here. I’m hoping that another podcast that I’ve done with a very special guest interviewer will be appearing very soon, too, and will flag it up when it appears.
The reviews continue to appear, which is very pleasing. I was thrilled that BBC History Revealed called the book ‘an enthralling look at the abdication of Edward VIII’ and that I apparently chart ‘the events of 1936 with a dynamic sense of drama’. And The Times included the book in their round-up of the best books of summer 2020, calling me a ‘lively historian’ and talking of my ‘entertaining tales and stern things to say about Edward VIII’. Have a read here, not least because there are lots of excellent books on it that are well worth buying and reading.
Lastly if you’ve bought the book from an online shop such as Amazon, Waterstones or Audible, do leave a review if you’ve enjoyed the book, as it makes a vast difference.
As publication date approaches tomorrow, I’ve been exceptionally busy promoting and publicising the new book. It has been an honour to chat to so many people about the abdication crisis, the near-miss assassination attempt by George McMahon in July 1936 and much more besides. The conversations have been edifying, surprising and often made me rethink some of my assumptions and ideas. You can hear some of them as podcasts: it was a particular treat to talk to the great Dan Snow for his History Hit podcast, which you can listen to here. I’ll put the links up to the others when they appear.
I’m making a couple of radio appearances, too. I’m on Dan Wootton’s show on TalkRadio tonight at 6.30 and appearing on Matt Chorley’s morning show tomorrow at 11.30 on Times Radio. Very much looking forward to both appearances.
I’ve also done some filming, which has been exciting. I’ve talked to MailPlus’ programme Palace Confidential about all things Edward and Wallis, which can be seen here – I appear from about 16 minutes in.
And, of course, the reviews have started appearing, and I imagine will continue. I was delighted by a perceptive and engaged review by David Aaronovitch in The Times, and even more pleased by the paper not only making it their Book of the Week, but also listing it as one of their Best Books of 2020, which is extraordinarily flattering.
I’m sorry that I’m not going to be holding a physical book launch for the book, or a virtual one (I looked into it but it was too complicated and potentially embarrasing). And the dread coronavirus has meant that physical appearances are a good deal trickier than they once were. That said, I’ve signed a few copies in Hatchard’s – run, don’t walk to get one, as they’re the only signed copies in the shops at the moment anywhere – and there will be some virtual appearances coming up over the summer and autumn, all of which I’ll be letting you know about here in due course.