Books: Beautiful Warts Prince Albert

by Robert Rhodes James Knopf; 299 pages; $17.95

In recent years, many biographers learned their art in the School of Debunking. But accounts of past lives have yielded to a more generous and appreciative discipline, which has led to opposite excesses. For declaring Prince Albert "comparable to Thomas Jefferson" and for insisting that Queen Victoria's Prince Consort "merits a volume as architect, designer, farmer, and naturalist," Robert Rhodes James earns highest marks in the Warts Can Be Beautiful School of Biography.

Even so, it is useful to have this work as a long-overdue antidote to Lytton Strachey's sneering, unfair attack in Queen Victoria (1921). Prince Francis Charles Augustus Albert...

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