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Charles II: The Last Rally Paperback – June 1, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0971828643 ISBN-10: 0971828644

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Ihs Press (June 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971828644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971828643
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #753,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Hilaire Belloc began his academic career with a lecture tour of the United States in 1892. He became a member of the Fabian Society in the early 1900s and met George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells, who helped him obtain work with newspapers such as the Daily News and The Speaker. Eventually he became literary editor of the Morning Post. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1906. He also wrote several novels, such as Mr. Clutterbuck's Election and A Change in the Cabinet, along with historical works such as The French Revolution and History of England. Belloc also published a series of historical biographies: Oliver Cromwell, James II, Richelieu, Wolsey, Napoleon, and Charles I.

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Customer Reviews

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stephen M. Kerwick on January 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
I've read several biographies of Charles II, the best of them Antonia Fraser's, with Stephen Coote's more recent Royal Survivor much less so. Almost all treat their subject as intelligent, but lazy, at best, feckless and disloyal at worst. Belloc takes the unique view that Charles had a strong and well developed set of principles that were reasonably adapted to a free and just society, but which were irreconcilable with the nouveau riche elements of his economy. This treatment was quite reasonable and fairly convincing, but most of all made good reading. As with much of Belloc's work, there is a strong institutional Roman Catholic orientation. Belloc does downplay the licentiousness of the Restoration Court in general and its monarch in particular, but those details can be readily found elsewhere.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael Tozer on November 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hilaire Belloc is truly without peer as a historian. His works are beautiful and riveting. One has the feeling in reading Belloc of having a long and deep conversation with an old and extremely wise friend. The mood of the discourse is intoxicating, and we don't want the interlude to end. But end it does, the good news being we can always find more of this prolific and insightful author to peruse.

In Charles II, Belloc tells the story of the restoration of the Stuart monarchy after the Cromwellian "Commonwealth". We heartily recommend reading Belloc's "Cromwell" first and then this excellent work. Simply by reading the last chapter of each respective work, the reader will grasp firmly one of the great truths that Belloc imparts, what it is to die in an unrepentent state, that of Cromwell, and what it is to leave this Earth, being reconciled in the Eucharist, as Charles II finally was. The story of the good English Priest who both introduced Charles to the Catholic faith, once saved his life, and finally gave his last rites, is far more powerful than any dramatic fiction I have ever read. His brother James, later to be James II of England, perfectly sums up this scene in saying,

"The man who saved your life has come to save your soul."

This is wonderful. Read it. And be richly blessed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kevin M. Derby VINE VOICE on January 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
Hilaire Belloc penned this biography of Charles II very late in his life--1939, only a handful of years before the stoke that incapacitated him. Belloc was still flourishing as a writer thought his work is more an extended essay on the course of history, as seen through the life of Charles II, instead of as a proper biography.

Belloc does not bother to hide his biases-he is a Catholic, a foe of the Whig historians and a partisan of the Stuarts. Not surprisingly, he treats the king's younger brother (who would become James II and was already the subject of a Belloc biography) well and he even has kind words for the likes of Cromwell and Milton. Belloc often condemns but also tries to rationalize the rather....sordid personal life of Charles which does seem a bit out of place for the Catholic writer and those parts rank as some of the weaker aspects of the book. This is a minor flaw and can be overlooked with no problem.

Be warned--Belloc is a writer and not a would be tenured bureaucrat looking to move up from adjunct to assistant to associate. While this means there are no footnotes, on the positive side Belloc actually writes to instruct, to entertain and to be read--not to impress a dissertation committee and bore legions of indentured servants...er, grad students...in the future.

There is an excellent introduction by Dr. John McCarthy. Belloc keeps arguing in the book that this is a sequel to his take on Louis XIV and it would be nice if IHS printed that work (as well as the aforementioned one on James II). Some of the editing seems a little off with strange errors ("bat" instead of "but" for example). Readers--especially those agreeing with Belloc--will enjoy the work but it is very useful and, best of all, accessible.
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By refq on July 12, 2014
Format: Paperback
THIS BOOK IS A MUST-READ FOR ALL HISTORIANS OF THE PERIOD, AND A GREAT HELP FOR THE REST OF US JUST TRYING TO GET AT THE TRUTH AND OVERCOME THE PROPAGANDA ABOUT POST-REFORMATION ENGLISH HISTORY. BELLOC, WITH HIS USUAL WELL-INFORMED PERSPICACITY, PIERCES THE FALSE HISTORY, AND GIVES US AN UNDERSTANDABLE, LIKABLE CHARLES THE SECOND. WE COME TO UNDERSTAND HIS ULTIMATE FAILURE IN TRYING TO PRESERVE TRUE KINGSHIP, AND HIS FINAL VICTORY AS AN INDIVIDUAL, OFFICIALLY RECEIVED INTO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON HIS DEATHBED.THE ENTIRE PERIOD FROM HENRY VIII TO CHARLES IS ILLUMINED IN SUCH A WAY AS TO MAKE SENSE OF MANY TROUBLING HISTORICAL QUESTIONS, NOT THE LEAST OF WHICH IS HOW A CATHOLIC COUNTRY BECAME PROTESTANT AND TURNED ON THOSE PRESERVING THE 'OLD' FAITH! EXCELLENT THROUGHOUT! ONE OF BELLOC'S BEST!
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