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Charles I Paperback – 26 Jul 2007

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (26 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405859032
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405859035
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 3 x 22.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 464,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

'Richard Cust's new biography (is) by far the best to date... This is an outstanding piece of work: not only the best life of the king yet produced, but also the most subtle and balanced synthesis of current research on the politics and religion of the reign currently in print.'
John Adamson, BBC History

'Cust comes as close to producing a definitive account of the nature of Charles I's kingship as anyone is likely to do for a long time... We should be grateful....for this brilliantly conceived and deeply pondered work. It becomes a crucial point of reference, always trustworthy and enlightening.'
Anthony Fletcher, History Today, May 2006

'...the most impressive aspect of the book is the way that interwoven in the narrative is a consistent, novel and coherent view of Charles the politician. What is novel about Dr. Cust’s view is that he is not content to put Charles’s political failures down simply, as many recent historians have done, to the king’s lack of political ability. His explanations are more subtle and, thus, more convincing.'
Professor Barry Coward, Birkbeck College, London; author of The Stuart Age: England1603-1714 (Longman, 2003)

From the Back Cover

Charles I paperback

Cust

 

'Richard Cust's new biography (is) by far the best to date... This is an outstanding piece of work: not only the best life of the king yet produced, but also the most subtle and balanced synthesis of current research on the politics and religion of the reign currently in print.'

John Adamson, BBC History

               

'Cust comes as close to producing a definitive account of the nature of Charles I's kingship as anyone is likely to do for a long time. […] We should be grateful....for this brilliantly conceived and deeply pondered work. It becomes a crucial point of reference, always trustworthy and enlightening.'

Anthony Fletcher, History Today

 

Charles I has often been portrayed as unfit to rule, with historians blaming him for the events surrounding the Civil War. In this major biography Richard Cust examines and addresses their judgements of the king – that he was an uncounselled ruler, insufficiently popular, more effective as a party leader than as a monarch, or, most damning, a fatal combination of the obstinate, unrealistic and untruthful.

 

In reality, Charles I was a complex man whose career intersected with some of the most dramatic events in English history. He played a central role in provoking the English Civil War, and his execution led to the only republican government Britainhas ever known.

 

Although Cust shows convincingly that Charles I was not ‘unfit to be a king’, emphasising his strengths as a party leader and conviction politician, he concludes that, none the less, this monarch’s prejudices and attitudes, and his mishandling of political crises did much to bring about a civil war in Britain. He argues that ultimately, Charles pushed his enemies into a position where they had little choice but to execute him.

 

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Quite simply by far the best biography of Charles I with comprehensive and detailed coverage of all aspects of Charles's reign. This book is insightful throughout and reveals Cust's mastery of his subject. Very highly recommended reading for anyone studying the causes of the English Civil War or the war itself, or simply for the general reader wishing to know more about the seventeenth century.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is need for a first class biography of Charles I, but this is not it. While fairly comprehensive,some major aspects of the reign are passed over rather quickly, most obviously in the cursory treatment accorded the Petition of Right.

The main problem is style. The prose is leaden, and as a result the book is dull, extraordinary for so interesting a subject. No cliche is avoided, and some of the language is bizarre: to 'sweep[s] away ... middle ground' (p.144) seems an impossible task. It is also unnecessary to mention in the text the names of historians who take opposing views or who are the source of a particular opinion. These should have been consigned to the footnotes.

Irritations abound. The author repeatedly uses the phrase 'reversionary interest' for no apparent reason and without explaining what he means. Topics such as 'tonnage and poundage' are mentioned without explanation. The indexing is inadequate.There are several references to the Articles of Perth without ever explaining what they were and they do not occur in the index. Similarly, St Saviour's Case is mentioned on p.275 with no details of what it was and again without it being in the index. The Act of Revocation is first mentioned on page 212 but the explanation of what this is waits until the following page. In the index Alexander Leslie, the Scottish commander, seems to appear but once on pp.246f, yet he appears in the text on p.263 beating the forces of Charles I at the crucial battle of Newburn.Star Chamber is indexed as appearing on p.121, but it does not. This is sloppy writing and very poor editing.

The inclusion of a bibliography and a chronology is what one would expect in a book of this sort, but one looks in vain.
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