Customer Review

20 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars flawed and selective, 30 Oct. 2012
This review is from: The King's Revenge: Charles II and the Greatest Manhunt in British History (Hardcover)
The attitude of the writers is summed up in the title: 'revenge'. Why not 'The King's Justice' ?
They portray Charles as wild,vengeful, lazy and autocratic which is a vast over simplification - see the much better book 'A Gambling Man' for a more measured picture of his talents and abilities.
Their sources seem to very old fashioned - they even quote Edmund Burke as an 'historian'.
They treat General Monck with no synmpathy never taking seriously the most obvious reasond for his actions: he knew that the people wanted a King again and that the stability of the country could only be secured by bringing Charles back.
They never deal with
a) the utter intolerance of the Cromwellian reign: 'tolerance' excluded Anglicans and Catholics who were after all the majority of the population
b) the reality of what Cromwell had done in killing the King against the wishes of the vast majority of the people
c) the very real threat that the Puritans and their allies continued to be to the stability of the constitution: they would have done the same to Charles as they had done to his father if they had the chance

Its all a bit breathless in style
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Nov 2012 14:23:26 GMT
It's interesting to see how, even in the 21st century, the Civil Wars still divide us into different camps, the point made by a recent BBC TV programme called 'Roundhead or Cavalier - Which One Are You', which is worth seeing if repeated. This reviewer seems to be of the Royalist persuasion. Yes, the Cromwellian Protectorate had strayed a long way from the idealism of people like the Levellers, but let us not forget that a primary cause of the Wars was the King's duplicity and stupidity. Charles was a fool who would have kept his head if he had been sensible, as most of the people just wanted a settlement with the King, not his death. However, his little games played into the hands of the Parliamentarian hardliners. Perhaps he did not deserve execution but he certainly deserved to be deposed.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Mar 2013 09:57:04 GMT
Grr says:
Yes, N Whitson-Jones, it is interesting that the reviewer should use the word "selective" rather than "biased" or "one-sided". Those would have been too close to home.

Posted on 7 May 2014 21:38:03 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 May 2014 21:42:16 BDT
Uncle Barbar says:
I have to agree with j.s.pullen - the book is very selective with its quotes and views - and yes I would use the words biased and one-sided. There is little to bring balance to this book. It is by no means a scholarly piece.

The first 1/3rd of the book is a naive summary of the civil wars and the king's execution. The authors appear to have just skimmed through a few titles to set the scene.

I've read a large number of Civil War books over the past thirty years - and own over 250 of them - and the assertion that Charles I was having an adulterous liaison whilst in captivity is laughable - just quoting someone else's half-baked book is no excuse!

And no I am NOT a royalist - I would like to think I'd have had the courage to have been a Leveller in the 1640s - I just like a bit of balance in my Non-Fiction! And there's none here.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 May 2014 10:41:50 BDT
Grr says:
I don't think that the book was meant to be a "scholarly piece", and as a work obviously intended for the general reader, see no reason why it should necessarily be so. Professional historians might get a bit "precious" about such work, but many enjoy them.

Also, the idea that a 17th century king would be more interested in justice than revenge in pursuit of those who signed his father's death warrant is strange. There can't be many who feel little emotion towards those responsible for the death of their father. This seems, even more so, in view of the vigour with which he pursued them, in some cases to a very nasty death. In most other things Charles seems to have been fairly tolerant.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Dec 2014 13:58:53 GMT
He had an affair with Lady Jane Horwood & possibly a "black maid" (i.e. black haired) at Carisbrooke.
Charles II sold the country to the French in 1670 & by rights he should have been executed for treason, but as he had terrorized everyone by his systematic revenge on the Regicides (& others) nobody had the stomach for it (but for the Rye House Plotters & possibly the Peyton Gang)
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