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King Charles I [Paperback]

Pauline Gregg
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

23 Nov 2000
"A fine book...so obviously the fruit of devoted labour...there is everything to enjoy in it."--The New York Times. A sympathetic biography of the man who was right at the heart of all the struggles in the 17th century--and a thoroughly researched history that reads like the thriller it is. Written in a bold and evocative style, this engrossing volume weaves an extraordinary story of a sickly child who became a king, and lived surrounded by rumor and intrigue and notorious friendships. The infamous tragedy unfolds with such sparkling insights and poignancy you'll feel as if you were right there when the axe fell upon this unfortunate king.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson; New edition edition (23 Nov 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842121995
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842121993
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 15.7 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 886,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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From the Publisher

Excellent: 'deserves to become the standard work' - Guardian
With a bold and evocative style Pauline Gregg weaves the extraordinary story of the sickly grandchild of Mary Queen of Scots who was to rule the kingdoms of England and Scotland. Born to James VI of Scotland (later James I of England) and his Danish wife Anne, from the start Charles I was surrounded by rumours and intrigue, and his youth as the heir apparent - part Puritan and part Renaissance Prince - was marked by his marriage to the French princess, Henrietta Maria, and his friendships with the notorious Duke of Buckingham and his circle - all recounted by Gregg with the telling detail and narrative control of the masterful historian.

With his accession the story gathers pace, and as the infamous tragedy unfolds with the King increasingly in conflict with all around him - the Church, the Scots, Parliament - Gregg surprises with sparkling insights, fairness, understanding and poignancy to such an extent that one feels one is actually there as the country collapses into civil war and the King falls under the shadow of the axe.

The Telegraph - 'the fullest and most carefully compiled biography that we are ever likely to have. She combines sympathetic understanding of his character with a dispassionate account of his career'.

The Times - 'a fine book...so obviously the fruit of devoted labour...there is everything to enjoy in it'.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bio of King Charles I 20 Mar 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a revelation to me and so well written. The author must have spent years researching such fine detail.

Although I'm 'on the fence' about the 'DIVINE RIGHT OF KINGS' I found this book by Pauline Gregg to be honest & sympathetic both to the king's faults and his MANY fine virtues. Even the feared Cromwell came over as not such a monster before he became Protector.

So many factions were to blame for this horrendous beheading of the king, a man known for his principles, kindness, love of family and religious beliefs. Perhaps the main contributing factor was his inheritance of his father's (James 1st) passionate & devoted friendship to Buckingham. Buckingham's eventual forced execution affected the king deeply-and thus hardened his resolve to the many other factions within his kingdom of Scotland, Ireland & England. There is never a 100% right or wrong where religious factors and ambitious men put power before all. However, to execute King Charles I was not only wrong on every count-it was a monstrous act.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic study of an iconic monarch 11 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book, bringing Charles to life and revealing his many qualities....which some historians shy away from. Superb and a worthy addition to anyone's Stuart collection.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and absorbing book 19 Oct 2008
By Gordon Trunk - Published on Amazon.com
In this book, Pauline Gregg does a magnificent job of painting a multifaceted picture of the life of King Charles I, from his birth in Scotland in 1600 to his death on the scaffold in 1649 after losing the English Civil War. Gregg presents an evenhanded narrative of Charles's life, mostly sympathetic but not glossing over his faults. The changing political landscape in England over the course of Charles's reign is presented very well and in detail, including the financial and turbulent religious aspects that make his reign a most interesting one. Much treatment is also given to the English Civil War and its causes as well as to the life of Charles as a private family man. Whether you are interested in the English Civil War, English ecclesiastical history, the British Monarchy, or just history in general, you will find this book informative and entertaining. Far from being a ponderous historical tome, it maintians a steady pace throughout that keeps the reader well informed but never bored. I would recommend this book to any history buff, and it's a must-have for any enthusiast for English history!
5.0 out of 5 stars The king who would be absolute ruler - and failed 1 Dec 2011
By Daniel Putman - Published on Amazon.com
This is an excellent and readable biography of Charles Stuart and his times. Gregg gives a clear and well-documented account of the man who tried to impose absolutism on England. It is common to view Charles as an arrogant and stubborn man who could not see what was happening around him. Gregg implies that there is some truth to that. But the neat thing about this biography is that it shows so much more about the man. He went from having an easy-going (if not always positive) relationship with Parliament as Prince of Wales and early in his reign to making an enemy of Parliament as his reign went on. He had a genuine care for his people but his way of understanding that - a deeply held paternalism - was not the way of a people who held to the Petition of Right. Taxation without Parliamentary representation did not cut it by this time. Charles deeply loved his wife but the evidence indicates that Henrietta-Maria may have had her own personal agenda. I came away from the book with a much broader and sympathetic view of Charles than I had been taught in school. It is always nice when an old stereotype is broken and fleshed out by reality. Charles became more and more arrogant as he got older but Gregg does what a good biographer should do. She leads the reader to understand her subject and, in Charles's case, to care about him. That does not mean that one admires him.

The book also details how Parliament went from being a uniquely English legislative body to becoming an executive power unto itself. Charles refused to compromise, sometimes out of pig-headedness and apparent stupidity and sometimes because the demands of Parliament and (later) the Army were way out of line. How Parliament evolved into the Parliament of Cromwell is part of the uniqueness of England in European history. (Consider what was happening on the continent at the same time.) This moment in history with its issues of religious freedom and the demands of individual conscience is central not just for the future of England but for much of North America as well. Gregg's biography of Charles spells out this time in English history in clear and fluid writing. I highly recommend it.
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