Today, I saw a certain book about Wallis Simpson at Barnes and Noble. It was next to that book from the lady who claims she played hide the sausage with JFK.This is the first time in my life I’ve ever seen a book about Wallis or David at Barnes and Noble. Guess which book it was?
I skimmed through and found a whole chapter of bullshit speculation about Wallis’s vagina, or lack thereof. It’s insane, and made more ridiculous when you realize the woman writing this probably knows what she’s writing is untrue. Needless to say, I have no intention of buying this book. From my skimming it looks like the books is only about seventy pages of biography (hardly enough to get a decent overview of Wallis’s life) that veers off track every other chapter for some random baseless speculation. It also includes copious quoting from letters and diaries. Some of it is relevant, some of it seems totally pointless which makes me think the author went back and added stuff to pad the book to a respectable length.
There are pictures, 90% of which come from the first page of a google images search for Wallis Simpson. One of the pictures included was a photoshop creation from the AP forums back in 2004 or 2005. I remember when it was originally posted. I wonder how the author got permission for it or if she bothered to get permission at all.
I flipped through and read several sections at random and found quite a lot about Ernest Simpson and Mary Kirk, two people that I’m reasonably sure no one anywhere gives a fuck about. Apparently Mary thought Wallis was as bad as Hitler and really had it out for her. Probably jealous or something. It all goes back to my theory the book was heavily padded.
Either way the book (That Woman by Anne Sebba for those who don’t know) doesn’t even seem to be a real biography of any kind, so for the love of God don’t waste your money. I mean, entire decades are summed up in two or three pages. I didn’t check but I get the feeling there’s no mention of Wallis’s battle with ovarian cancer because that kind of pokes a hole in the book’s main theory.
It’s just really awful that this is the only book on Wallis that has gotten any kind of wide release in the last fifteen years or so. Perhaps it’s just me living in a less than glamorous part of the country, but all of the books I’ve ever gotten on Wallis (or David for that matter) I got used or off the internet. I bought a The People’s King new a few years back, but that was from an independent bookstore that carried a lot of history books outside of what the chains have. It’s like the stuff that gets published in America about the royals is 99% rubbish these days. My usual thought is that American authors tend to be much more lurid and trashy than British authors, but with Wallis the opposite is true and the British are always the ones spreading the trash.
I guess I feel like that in this day and age if someone actually wrote a detailed, completely true and verifiable book on Wallis’s life no one would want to publish it because trash sells. If I’m not mistaken that awful “Hey everyone I slept with President Kennedy!” book is actually on the bestseller list. I think Wallis is obscure enough this book won’t sell very well. Especially in my neck of the woods. Though I can just imagine those little old white-haired ladies who were in the theater when I saw The King’s Speech coming accross this book at the store, getting to the chapter on Wallis’s genitals, and quickly putting it down in horror.
As problematic as the whole thing was, I’d like to hope W.E. will increase interest in Wallis and lead to some well-researched books getting published like what happened after The Other Boleyn Girl with the Tudors. But considering W.E. isn’t even coming out in most of the country that seems unlikely. I still do think the Windsors are the new Tudors, but the focus will be more on Princess Diana (two different movies about her are coming out soon) and people interested in the earlier stuff will be more interested in Bertie and Elizabeth and the early years of the Queen’s reign. I wouldn’t be surprised if Princess Margaret became a popular topic in the next few years since her story hits all the marks for what Americans tend to find interesting.