Mr. Roberts deftly traces the maneuvers that, soon enough, defeated Fox and brought William Pitt the Younger to power ... What about the king’s madness? Mr. Roberts persuasively describes his illness as bipolar depression triggered by stress and not the porphyria that is usually diagnosed ... The deft portraits and detailed episodes Mr. Roberts provides in The Last King of America—drawing on a vast trove of documents newly digitized by the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle—bring into clear view the man at the center of it all, whose personality, principles and proper reputation have been too long obscured.
Although The Last King of America effectively refutes Paine, Jefferson and, for that matter, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Roberts is asserting what 20th- and 21st-century historians already know: George III was not a tyrant who lost the American empire; he respected the British Constitution and deferred to Parliament ... is at its best when Roberts analyzes how George III navigated issues with personal as well as political implications.
Roberts’s narrative challenge is gigantic. George III reigned for six decades (1760-1820), during which his world exploded with revolutionary fervor, first in North America, then across Europe, followed by two decades of desperate war with revolutionary and Napoleonic France. With insight and aplomb, Roberts completes his mission, revealing the king to have been a conventional, conservative gentleman, uxorious husband and father of 15 ... he pays insufficient attention to the fact that those policies represented a sharp and intended hardening of the previously lax imperial regime and that American resistance was entirely foreseeable.
George III of England: cold-hearted, cruel, and villainous? Not so, posits historian Roberts...in his new biography, which while decidedly sympathetic to its subject—sometimes to excess—nevertheless presents a convincing case. This is not the first revisionist treatment of the monarch...but Roberts's extensive use of primary-source letters, essays, and other personal documents recently made available by the Georgian Papers Programme offers much fresh evidence that George III was not the arrogant and vindictive tyrant portrayed in popular culture, but rather an intelligent and conscientious king whose idealistic goals were stymied by political frictions and the misfortune of mental illness ... Roberts keeps the lengthy text vivid and engaging ... A deep, expansive study not only of George III but also of the political and social complexities of England and the United States during his reign.
... [a] meticulously researched revisionist biography ... Though Roberts occasionally forgoes nuance in favor of salvaging his subject’s reputation, this is an eye-opening portrait of the man and his times.
... a deeply textured portrait ... Vividly detailed, the author’s life of George is comfortably situated in the context of British, European, and Colonial history. A capacious, prodigiously researched biography from a top-shelf historian.