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The Awful End of Prince William the Silent: The First Assassination of a Head of State with a Handgun (Making History) Hardcover – Feb 2006

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 175 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (Feb 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060838353
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060838355
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 14.1 x 2.3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,654,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
THE PROTESTANT PRINCE who fell victim to a Catholic assassin's three bullets in July 1584 had not been destined from birth to lead a nation. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 7 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
William "the Silenced" 19 Sep 2006
By Nikolai G. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A small, but eloquently written study, dealing with the assassination of William of Nassau, Prince of Orange. Some will expect to read about the birth and evolution of the wheel-lock pistol here, others - extremely detailed information about the deed announced in the title. Don't want to spoil it for you, but on the evolution of the "dag" the information is not very detailed. There are a few paragraphs speaking about the pistoleers and the change of tactics, but its mostly about the diplomatic background and the diplomatic gains and losses of the potentates of the period. A large part of the book deals with the impact of the Prince's violent death on English society and diplomacy, and also gives an overview of the English intervention in the Netherlands. The account of the killing itself is not very extended, yet it doesn't seem to lack anything important to the common reader. A small part is dedicated to the assassin himself, but personally I would like to read a more detailed analysis of the man's character, psychology, ideology, of his connections, political, religious. The book remains silent on this, providing little information about any subsequent investigation, no depositions of the various witnesses, etc. The general impression is that this book is more about the diplomatic "game" around the the Prince's assassination and especially its aftermath and its results on the English policies in the Netherlands. Not a lot of information on the Spanish though, nor indeed on the French. The pistol (the wheel-lock "dag" specifically) is treated more as a revolutionary new tool of the potential assassin than a new weapon which played a part in the transformation of warfare.

In all a pleasant read, generally educative, not boring, in some ways very informative. However it lacks some details which would be very useful and interesting. In two words: not bad. In another three: could be better.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
starting a new trend in assassination 30 April 2006
By lordhoot - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Book of a very unusual title, the author Lisa Jardine make her case in her short but informative study of the assassination of Prince William the Silent of Orange, one of the moving leaders of the Dutch Protestant rebellion against Imperial Catholic Spain. The book covers both the major events of William's life that led up to his death as well as the development of the wheel lock pistol which made such an assassination so easy. Influence of wheel lock pistol went beyond the military uses and civilians began to used themselves for protection as well as for other uses.

It was interesting to note that this was the second effort on William's life by a pistol but considering how rare such an event was the first time, I don't think William took proper precaution against a second effort. In some way, this would make a great movie, a Spanish double agent worming his way into William's trust and confidence before blowing him away. Of course, the assassin's fate wasn't too pleasant but he seem to to bear it well.

The author states that now that one of the leaders of Europe can be assassinated by a pistol, this make all leaders equally vulunerable. This was especially true for William's close ally, Queen Elizabeth of England which had her own Cold War with Spain going at that time and she herself, victim of many assassination plots.

Book proves to be well researched and well written. Its a short book but it don't waste any pages. I did wish there was a good photo or a drawing of type of wheel lock pistol that the assassin used to killed William as well as Spanish reaction to his murder which was strangely absent.

You would think that no matter who the enemies may be, foreign head of states would refained from using assassins on other foreign head of states since this will lead to copycat policies. But obviously, Hapsburgs leadership weren't thinking that way.

The book come well recommended to anyone interested in the tidbit of history that had a long lasting impact. A new trend of assassination was born when William the Silent was murdered, it will be replayed in history as the author stated, in murders of Lincoln or Archduke Ferdinand (which launched the murderous World War I).
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Great Bit of History 6 Mar 2006
By Robert M. Lurie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lisa Jardine has another home run! Her histories are the most readable and clear and obviously very well researched. The wheel-lock pistol had a very great influence on warfare and weapons development. And the influence and interaction of French, Dutch, English, German and Spanish interests is clearly depicted.

If weapons history is of interest try "Of Arms and Men" by Robert L. O'Connell.
Easy Read - Amazing Story 21 April 2014
By Feather A. Tippetts - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this in one sitting -- and it was fascinating to discover the story behind the death of the Prince of Orange. I bought a 2nd copy for a friend who is a history professor as I intend to read it again and didn't want to give my copy away.
Very Good Read 22 Feb 2013
By John R. Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This well-written little book is a real education in clarifying the relationship between England, Spain, and France during the Elizabethan period in England. It explains why Elizabeth finally lent reluctant English help to the Dutch and why the Spanish Armada planned to use what is now Holland to stage its attack on England. A lot of history was affected by this killing, which was the first time a ruling monarch had been killed by a hand gun.
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