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ROYAL CHILDHOODS <i> by Charles Carlton (Routledge: $14.50, illustrated) </i>

Charles Carlton offers brief, pedestrian recaps of the careers of nine British monarchs, from William the Conquerer to the future Charles III, adding bits of Little League psychology as a sort of coda. His conclusions are highly speculative at best, as the childhood experiences of most his subjects aren’t sufficiently documented. Even for more recent figures, there’s no way to verify such statements as “Because he (Edward VIII) had never resolved his feelings towards his own mother, he repeatedly fell for older married women.” The reader must either take them on faith or reject them out of hand. Given the superficial tone of the book, rejection seems the preferable alternative.


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