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3.8 21
by Sarah Bradford

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Sarah Bradford's Diana is a complex and explosive study of the greatest icon of the twentieth century. Glamour. Duty. Tragedy: The Woman Behind the Princess. After more than a decade interviewing those closest to the Princess and her select circle, Sarah Bradford exposes the real Diana: the blighted childhood, the old-fashioned courtship which saw her capture


Sarah Bradford's Diana is a complex and explosive study of the greatest icon of the twentieth century. Glamour. Duty. Tragedy: The Woman Behind the Princess. After more than a decade interviewing those closest to the Princess and her select circle, Sarah Bradford exposes the real Diana: the blighted childhood, the old-fashioned courtship which saw her capture the Prince of Wales, the damage caused by the spectre of Camilla Parker Bowles, through to the collapse of the royal marriage and Diana's final and complicated year as single woman. Diana paints an honest portrait of a woman riddled with contradictions and whose vulnerability and unique empathy with the suffering made her one of the most extraordinary figures of the modern age. 'Bradford has a real grasp of history and the ability to make it spark into new life' Sunday Telegraph 'Bradford's forte, ever since she was a history-mad girl, is thinking herself into other lives' Daily Telegraph Sarah Bradford is a historian and biographer. Her books include Cesare Borgia (1976), Disraeli (1982), winner of the New York Times Book of the Year, Princess Grace (1984), Sacherevell Sitwell (1993), Elizabeth: A Biography of Her Majesty the Queen (1996), America's Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (2000), Lucrezia Borgia (2005) and Diana (2007). She frequently appears on television as an authority on her biographical subjects and as a commentator on notable royal events. She is currently working on a full scale biography of Queen Victoria. She lives in London.

Editorial Reviews

Oxford-educated historian Sarah Bradford might be called the royal family's ex officio biographer. Her lives of George VI and Elizabeth set a high standard; indeed, it said that the queen herself keeps a copy of Bradford's biography of her father on her desk. In Princess Diana (1961-97), Bradford encounters a subject even more controversial than the ruling monarch or her predecessor. This respectful, elegantly written study traces Diana Spencer's often-uneasy journey from nervous schoolgirl to world figure. Without tabloid speculation, the biography explores Diana's doomed marriage, personal problems, and postmarital life, discussing her deep commitment to her charitable activities.
Publishers Weekly
This biography of the doomed Princess of Wales by Bradford, an experienced British celebrity biographer, was published with far less fanfare, though also embargoed, than the concurrent one by Diana's former butler, Paul Burrell, it still purports to be the definitive look at what it was really like for Diana Spencer to become the princess of Wales. But even the most casual student of Diana mania will be hard pressed to find much that hasn't been told before. Bradford, the author of books about such disparate figures as Benjamin Disraeli and Princess Grace of Monaco, does offer up a more balanced portrait than some: Diana was not the brightest bulb, but her compassion for others was central and real; in spite of-or because of-this sensitivity, she was a master at playing people off each other (most notably her onetime lover James Hewitt). According to Bradford, Diana truly did love Charles and was "obsessed" with him until the end. More surprisingly, Bradford also insists that Charles genuinely loved Diana, even as he carried a torch for Camilla Parker Bowles, and that his apparent ill treatment of his wife came from ignorance more than hostility. The usual cast of famous characters appear, but two portraits particularly stand out: Sarah Ferguson and Dodi Fayed. As for Fayed, Bradford downplays it; Diana liked him, she says, but was far less interested in him, personally, than in what he could provide (private yachts, freedom from the press and-ironically, as it turned out-safety). Surely, Fayed's friends and family will not enjoy Bradford's take on him as a spoiled layabout with a cocaine problem, drug use being one the few weaknesses of which Diana disapproved. For those for whom there can never be enough said about the late princess, Bradford's book may provide some color and perspective; those looking for dish will likely be disappointed. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
From a biographer who has ranged from Cesare Borgia to Queen Elizabeth. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
5.49(w) x 8.36(h) x 1.05(d)
Age Range:
18 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Sarah Bradford is a historian and biographer. Previous books include biographies of Disraeli, George VI, Elizabeth II and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (America's Queen), as well as two previous accounts of the Borgia family. She lives in London.

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Diana 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have read on Diana. I was only 17 when she died, and at that point, the only side of her I was aware of, if I was aware of her at all, was the glamorous humanitarian who was splashed over just about every magazine out there on a regular basis. Reading about this other side of her, the behind the scenes tantrums, the scheming, manipulating, sometimes immature and maybe even emotionally stunted reactions or decisions she would make, left a lot to be desired. And one of the most disturbing things to me was the author's repeated reference to her lack of intelligence and education.  And even though I am not sure the author meant for Diana to come off this way, I just couldn't get "Diana is stupid" out of my head, which I don't think she was. Overall though, while it was what I thought to be, a well written biography, I would say this book did not leave a very favorable impression on me concerning Diana or the Royal Family in general. This is not to say that I do not believe that she had an incredible impact on many people and brought a lot of awareness to very crucial humanitarian issues, such as AIDS and landmines, but I definitely did not get the 100% pro Diana here that many other readers seem to get from it. The author absolutely did present a two faced character in Diana. One being the glamorous, sophisticated, compassionate people person we saw in public and the other a very flawed human being struggling to survive in an antiquated, archaic, family and institution. So an interesting read for me and I may have to find another book or two just to compare and to be able to come to a better conclusion of who Diana was.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This biography about Princess Diana written by Sarah Bradford illustrates the life of Diana Spencer from the beginning to the end. From telling how Diana¿s mother leaving them at such a young age affected her to her marriage to Prince Charles. It goes into detail about Diana and Charles¿s marriage and how the Princess dealt with her husband having an affair. This does not only focus on the horrible times of their marriage, but also all the positive things too. In addition, it goes into detail about how she tried to protect her children from the press. The major message that Bradford is trying to portray is to demonstrate the real life of Princess Diana, to show the truth about her and what a great person she really was. I really enjoyed reading this book because I felt that it was the most accurate book to read. Instead of just using sources Bradford went to the people that were closets to Diana and interview them about her life. I liked how the author went into detail about how Diana felt in every situation. My dislikes were that in the beginning of the book I did not understand who the people were that were either related to the Spencer family or just family friends. I had to go back through some of the pages to re-read who they were so I could get a better understanding of them, but other than that, I thought this was a great biography. I recommend reading this book if you are interested in learning more about the life of Princess Diana and what she went through. The source I felt was the most reliable since it was coming from the people who lived around her, but if you want to get the basics about Diana, I recommend reading something different since this book does go into a lot of detail about her life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read a number of books on Princess Diana and found they were either extremely pro or anti Diana. This book was well researched and paints a clear picture of what life with Diana and Charles was like. It isn't lopsided in favor or one or the other but gives the reader enough information that one could conclude that Diana was not mentally ill and that although Charles cared for her, he never stopped loving Camilla. I would recomend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sarah Bradford once again shows that she can write a truthful biography. She covers the incident of Diana 'throwing herself down the stairs' as it really happened, and does not say Diana is totally not at fault in all cases. She also does not condemm Charles in all cases although she does show that he is extremely rigid and self-pitying. She also erases the idea that the Duke of Edinburgh had no use for Diana during the separation difficulties. My one problem is that she refused to name some sources. Some of her sources are listed as 'private information.' One wonders who she talked to and if they were actually close to the Princess. I have read her other books 'America's Queen', 'Queen Elizabeth II' and 'The Reluctant King' and so I feel this is as unbiased an account of the Princess of Wales as will ever be written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although this is my first time to read a biography on Princess Di, I've read many other biographies on high profile characters as well as many books on the British Royals. I found this book to be informative, but not entertaining. It was not a "light read" by any means, so those of you who are interested in reading this get ready for some hard core history! It contained many quotes and references (making it difficult to follow at times) and did not always follow chronological order (jumping back and forth to different times in Diana's life). Other than those few issues, it was fine. However, I might recommend one to fully research before picking this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure how an author can take such a beautiful and colorful subject matter as Diana and write such a boring book, but this author managed to do so. I found this book to be very dry and difficult to read. I couldn't even finish it. It didn't hold my interest. If I had to describe this book in one word, I would call this the STARCHED version of Diana's biography. I think there are better books about Diana out there. I cannot recommend this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very detailed account of the "private life" of Princess Diana and I understand the author's need to give the both sides of the story. However, I did NOT appreciate how almost everything Diana was known to have said or done was disregarded by sources that were obviously in Prince Charles' camp. The negativity towards Diana throughout the entire book made this a very unpleasant read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a surprise because I had read a review that said it was the same boring material that had been written repeatedly. Not so. Although, I have read lots and lots of books concerning Diana, there was still information in this book that I had never read before. Another strong point is unlike some authors did not state what someone did in private but acknowledged that 'we do not know' what the Queen was thinking, etc. Weak points were the opposition to the Paranama interview. Naturally, the Prince of Wales would object and the Palace. But I fail to see why writers condemn it so. Also, the Tiggy issue. Medical records are private, yet Robert Fellowes checked out Tiggy's medical files completely and found Diana was mistaken. Sorry folks that is highly unlikely to happen. Overall, very good reading with a few flaws that I mentioned and some I did not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author is so obviously prejudiced against her subject that her agenda is clear within the first 100 pages. When a writer can't even allow a child to be distraught at having been abandonned as a child by her mother, criticizing her for how those feelings were displayed, there is no point, in my mind, in continuing the character assasination. I had my own opinions about Diana's behaviours, but I am able to sympathize with the life events that formed her character. I was just grateful that the on-sale purchase price made it less of a loss.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
As others have described, this book was written in a very unbiased fashion. It highlights both the strengths and weaknesses of Charles and Diana as individuals and as a couple. The book sifts through the years of gossip and tabloid rumors and presents the facts. Wonderful read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I felt this book portrayed both Diana and Charles honestly. It was well written and a must read for anyone intrested in trying to understand Diana.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey diana.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey! Can you please tell the readers at pol that more chapters might not be out for a while cuz my grandpa is visiting and I'm sick? Thanks a thousand times! ~Diana
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*fuqs you in the azz*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ya go to tire 4 res