Birds Eye View

THE REIGN OF QUEEN VICTORIA (437 pp.) -Hector Bolitho -Macmillan ($5)

When Lytton Strachey's Queen Victoria appeared, at the dawn of the debunking '20s, many critics deplored its un-Victorian tone and sardonic bias. Now, time has so mellowed Strachey's lèse-majesté that his biography has been accepted both as a classic study of Victorianism and a human portrait of the great Queen.

This new biography of Victoria, which is Bolitho's ninth about this period, has nothing of Strachey's amused, amusing manner, nothing of his skepticism and silky grace. Above all, it does not contain a single...

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