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King Charles II [Paperback]

Antonia Fraser
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug 1990
A popular biography of the "Merry Monarch" by the author of "Mary Queen of Scots", "The Weaker Vessel" and "Cromwell, Our Chief of Men". Fraser sees Charles as the epitome of the Restoration era, and captures all the vitality of the man and the expansiveness of the age.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd; New edition edition (Aug 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749303174
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749303174
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.4 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,921,523 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

Hardback reissue of a classic work of biography - part of THE SIX LIVES OF ANTONIA FRASER promotion --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Lady Antonia Fraser has been writing bestselling history for more than 30 years. She is one of a family of writers led by her mother, Elizabeth Longford. Lady Antonia has six children, two of whom are writers. She is married to the playwright Harold Pinter. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best monarchical biography I have read 12 Sep 2009
I do not profess to have any great all-consuming interest in history, let alone the period of the Restoration; I read solely for pleasure on a wide range of topics and will quickly drop any book that does not sustain my interest.

I did not come close to wishing to put down this excellent work. Unlike other 'scholarly biographies', Fraser's book is anything but dry, or difficult for a non-expert to follow. It paints a very clear picture not only of Charles, but of his family members, court and acolytes such that by the end I really felt that I had an understanding of the man - his personality, his sense of humour, his temperament and the events that shaped him as a king. The events of his reign are consistently presented with humour and verve, with even the internecine events of the Commonwealth and post-restoration Dutch Wars, and Charles' struggles with parliament easy to follow, and made entertaining. The early part of the book, regarding Charles' flight after the battle of Worcester even reads like an adventure story, without losing authenticity, accuracy or scholarship.

My sole criticism is that in writing the book Fraser seems to have become rather attached to the figure of Charles (who does admittedly seem, on the whole, an attractive and witty personality) to the point where she appears to make excuses for his mistakes, and perhaps defends his corner a little too vigorously. Nonetheless, I would thoroughly recommend this as an entertaining and enlightening book for the general reader.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, but too one-sided in tone 17 Dec 2008
A colourful, well written and comprehensive biography. However, the author comes across as very pro-Charles and pro-Royalist, sometimes to the point of sycophancy. That said, I understand that she is also quite sympathetic to Cromwell in her biography of him (though not here), so maybe in part at least her attitude reflects a close identification with a subject she must spend a lot of time focusing on, given the length and thoroughness of her works.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Colourful, vivid, sympathetic 6 Jun 2013
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
This is a well-written biography of Charles II, first published in 1979. Like Fraser's other historical works, this is intelligent, sympathetic and absorbing - and gives us a very colourful picture of Charles II. Only partially the `merry monarch', this traces his life from his birth, exile, the execution of his father and the restoration of the monarchy.

Anyone who's a little shaky on seventeenth-century history and politics might want to read this alongside Fraser's Cromwell, as this barely sketches in the civil wars, and then only in terms of the effect they have on Charles and his mother.

This is a long book, but Fraser keeps our attention well, and her character sketches are vivid and memorable. As other reviewers have said, this does take an unquestioning and positive view towards inherited monarchy and is `on the side' of Charles throughout - perhaps it's difficult as a biographer not to be?

So this isn't a scholarly book but for a wonderfully readable account of the life and personality of Charles II, this is hard to beat.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars King Charles II 24 Oct 2011
The authoress sets out to inform and entertain, she never bores. She clearly had great sympathy for her subject and treats him in a humane way. The book gripped me from start to finish. She explains much of the second half of his life by reference to the first half, the war years and years of exile. I am convinced that this particular biography will still be in print for decades to come. I recommend it.
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Antonia Fraser' s King Charles II. is one of the best ever books written on this King.
This king went down in history as the merry monarch with all this mistresses and bastards children, a barren but not discarded Queen, a fast live with many entertainments.
Well, if one would stop here, one would never understand Charles II..
Antonia Fraser unfolds the life to Charles step by step, guides the reader through the ups and downs, the nightmares of the civil war, the lonely and poor days of a king-in-exile, the restoration and his actual reign. She looks behind the facade: the reader will discover a man following his way, his principles, a man who learned to survive, a man who believed in himself, a man who never gave up, a man with a great zest for life, a very clever man. But there are dark sides too: it was very hard to trust him. There was a very ruthless streak in him.
Antonia Fraser' s fascinating and elegantly written book makes the reader to understand the merry monarch. This book is one of my all time favourite biographies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good read 10 July 2014
By Nikki
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Interesting read worth buying
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5.0 out of 5 stars wow! 24 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
i love history and my favorite king now is him my mum is the queen yeah queen and she is like me wow er i don't know what to say
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5.0 out of 5 stars a reformation classic !!! 17 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
king Charles arrived on time and in very good condition , the description was very accurate and you can look forward to more orders from me in the future , cheers !
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Merry Monarch? Perhaps!
He was a relief to many after Cromwell and his puritans and he loved life and women - there again what man wouldn't in his position?
Published 10 months ago by merle kerr
4.0 out of 5 stars very good!
The book arrived in very good conditions. It seems almost like new. I'm looking forward to reading it as King Charles II is one of my favourite historical figures.
Published 10 months ago by Giovanna Locatelli
5.0 out of 5 stars King Charles 11 by Lady Antonia Fraser
Well written and researched as always by Antonia Fraser. A very interesting and complex book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thankyou.
Published 13 months ago by Michael Renshaw
2.0 out of 5 stars review
the condition of this book is very poor. There has been some liquid spilled onto it and it looks rather unappetising.
Published 14 months ago by Elisabeth Szilagyi
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting subject
Well written
But a bit over long too many French phrases that I didn't understand. If uoy are writing in English it 's not that clever to add foreign phrases.
Published 15 months ago by Bill Hodges
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good book.
Antonia Fraser again gives an excellent account of England before and after the Restoration. Also she gets into the character of Charles the Second, hie early life and years in... Read more
Published 16 months ago by annamarie
3.0 out of 5 stars A very good book
Very good. The way it was written was great, tell the story of Charles II very well. The copy was also in very good condition.
Published 17 months ago by Bethany Whitaker
3.0 out of 5 stars I dont't know English history well enough to fully enjoy this book
This book is not for beginners in 17th century English history, but at least I learned a lot. A good portrait of a prince leading a diffucult life, and the rather severe style... Read more
Published 17 months ago by tricoteuse
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read
One of the best historical biographies I have read. Antonia Fraser somehow manages to get to the heart of the matter and makes you think you really know Charles 11. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Annabelle
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