1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
an admirable biography of an intriguing man,
This review is from: King Charles II (Paperback)Having recently read Diane Purkiss' magnificent book on the English Civil War The English Civil War: A People's History sparked my interest in what happened next so - since the book had sat unread on my shelves for a couple of years already - I eagerly began reading Antonia Fraser's account of the life of Charles II. Admittedly, to fully respect the chronology of events I should perhaps first have read her book on Cromwell (Cromwell, Our Chief Of Men) which also sits on my shelves, unread and unopened but - I hesitate not to confess it - Charles II seemed a much more attractive and intriguing man to read about than Cromwell. It's of course mere ignorance, even prejudice, on my side that leads me to think of Cromwell as a somewhat forbidding, grumpy old man but there it is.
Anyway, I was very soon completely captivated by Charles II and Fraser's account of the man. True enough, I had the distinct feeling Fraser herself likes him a lot too (more than the Parliamentarians anyway) and is perhaps at times partial or even biased in her account and the construction she puts upon events but somehow that didn't bother me. There's quite frankly a lot to like too and judging by this book Charles seems to have been a very jovial and witty person, with a real zest for life (which, in anyone whose father was beheaded when he himself was 19 and then had to run for life, is no mean feat).
Charles had an eventful life to say the least: living in exile (and poverty) for years and then, once restored to the throne and having to balance precariously between Parliament and his royal prerogatives, he somehow still found the time to father a whole bunch of children with 7 different women and pursue his interest in sailing, science, horse-racing and a score of other things. There's a lot to tell, and at 609 pages (not counting the index and references) this is by no means a slim volume but I read it in a matter of days which is testimony not only to Charles' fascinating life but also to the very readable style of Antonia Fraser.
Perhaps the best compliment I can pay to this fine book is that I immediately decided I wanted to learn even more about Charles II and the Restoration and ordered A Gambling Man which I will be reading in the very near future!
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Initial post: 28 Nov 2011 01:53:01 GMT
Paul Magnussen says:
Further knowledge of of Cromwell will probably confirm your opinion. My favourite quotation:
"I am as much for government for consent as any man. But where shall we find consent?
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