- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
The Awful End of Prince William the Silent: The First Assassination of a Head of State with a Hand-Gun Paperback – 19 Jun 2006
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
‘Jardine’s book is masterly, because she captures in a snapshot the mood or ethos of the era. She draws on archives, literature, science and art to paint images as richly evocative as a Rembrandt. This is very much a book for our time.’ Sunday Times
‘Ingenious…a refreshing foray into an area often neglected by historians.’ Independent
‘An enthralling train ride of a book, light, swift and perfectly prepared…An engrossing spritely read.’ Observer
‘Lisa Jardine has written with her typical flair, the prehistory of our haunted obsession with the handgun.’ Scotland on Sunday
‘Recounts the events leading up to [Prince William’s] death with concision and clarity.’ Financial Times
‘Lively and thought-provoking; the perfect length for an evening read.’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Nobody can explain factual history more clearly than Jardine.’ The Times
This is a brilliantly detailed and gripping account of the assassination in 1584 of Prince William of Orange, and the shockwaves it sent through an age. The illustrious "Making History Series", edited by Lisa Jardine and Amanda Foreman, explores an eclectic mix of history's tipping points. In "The Awful End of Prince William the Silent", series editor Lisa Jardine explores the historical ramifications of just such a instance, the first assassination of a head of state with a hand-held gun. The shooting of Prince William of Orange in the hallway of his Delft residence in July 1584 by a French Catholic - the second attempt on his life - had immediate political consequences: it was a serious setback for the Protestant cause in the Netherlands, as its forces fought for independence from the Catholic rule of the Hapsburg empire. But, as Jardine brilliantly illustrates, its implications for those in positions of power were even more far-reaching, as the assassination heralded the arrival of a lethal new threat to the security of nations - a pistol that could be concealed and used to deadly effect at point-blank range.Queen Elizabeth I, William's close Protestant ally, was devastated by his death and thrown into panic; in the aftermath of William's death, legislation was enacted in the English parliament making it an offence to bring a pistol anywhere near a royal palace. Elizabeth's terror was not misplaced - as Jardine observes, this assassination was the first in a long and bloody line including those of Abraham Lincoln in 1865 and Archduke Ferdinand in 1914 and is all too relevant today. See all Product description
Showing 1-5 of 5 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The book has six chapters, a map, a family tree, five appendices and fifteen illustrations. The titles of the chapters speak for themselves in terms of their content. The first relates ‘How the Prince of Orange Came to Have a Price on His Head’, whilst ‘Murder Most Foul’ is the title of the second, which details the act itself and the life, torture, and execution of the assassin.
The third chapter details how William had a survived a very similar attempt two years earlier in Antwerp, whilst the fourth explains how the wheel-lock pistol could kill so conveniently. Jardine writes, “In terms of its transformative impact on developments reaching far beyond its immediate military context, it matches the pocket watch, which uses a closely similar system.”
Jardine remarks that, “The crowned heads of Europe … reeled at the idea that their security was now threatened by a lethal weapon of hitherto unimaginable effectiveness which could kill from a distance, and which could be carried concealed and undetected by the murderer into the presence of the unsuspecting victim.” The scene shifts to Elizabethan England in chapter five, where “The murder of the Prince of Orange intensified the sense of something close to panic in England over the possibility of a successful assassination attempt against the queen.”
Chapter six stays in England where the war party – and the Dutch – attempted to persuade her to become ruler of Holland too. She steadfastly refused this role but instead subsidised the anti-Spanish forces.
The five appendices provide translations of important original sources: (i) Philip of Spain’s 1580 public proclamation authorising the assassination of William; (ii) William the Silent’s public letter in response; (iii) a couple of contemporary reports of the assassination; (iv) a contemporary English testimony concerning similar possible attacks against Elizabeth; and (v) Elizabeth’s proclamation against the use of firearms.
Notes and an index end the book, which is written in Jardine’s clear and engaging style.
The three holes provide evidence that, although the balls were fired from the same barrel, probably they were not placed directly one on top of the other. Instead it is possible that the pistol fired three superimposed bullets loaded on the Roman Candle principle. This hypothesis can be found in D. R. Baxter excellent book Superimposed Load Firearms 1360-1860 (Hong Kong, 1966, pages 24-25).
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.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?