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King Charles I (Phoenix Press) Paperback – June 30, 2001

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New edition edition (June 30, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842121995
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842121993
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,739,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Trunk on October 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
In this book, Pauline Gregg does a magnificent job of painting a multifaceted picture of the life of King Charles I, from his birth in Scotland in 1600 to his death on the scaffold in 1649 after losing the English Civil War. Gregg presents an evenhanded narrative of Charles's life, mostly sympathetic but not glossing over his faults. The changing political landscape in England over the course of Charles's reign is presented very well and in detail, including the financial and turbulent religious aspects that make his reign a most interesting one. Much treatment is also given to the English Civil War and its causes as well as to the life of Charles as a private family man. Whether you are interested in the English Civil War, English ecclesiastical history, the British Monarchy, or just history in general, you will find this book informative and entertaining. Far from being a ponderous historical tome, it maintians a steady pace throughout that keeps the reader well informed but never bored. I would recommend this book to any history buff, and it's a must-have for any enthusiast for English history!
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent and readable biography of Charles Stuart and his times. Gregg gives a clear and well-documented account of the man who tried to impose absolutism on England. It is common to view Charles as an arrogant and stubborn man who could not see what was happening around him. Gregg implies that there is some truth to that. But the neat thing about this biography is that it shows so much more about the man. He went from having an easy-going (if not always positive) relationship with Parliament as Prince of Wales and early in his reign to making an enemy of Parliament as his reign went on. He had a genuine care for his people but his way of understanding that - a deeply held paternalism - was not the way of a people who held to the Petition of Right. Taxation without Parliamentary representation did not cut it by this time. Charles deeply loved his wife but the evidence indicates that Henrietta-Maria may have had her own personal agenda. I came away from the book with a much broader and sympathetic view of Charles than I had been taught in school. It is always nice when an old stereotype is broken and fleshed out by reality. Charles became more and more arrogant as he got older but Gregg does what a good biographer should do. She leads the reader to understand her subject and, in Charles's case, to care about him. That does not mean that one admires him.

The book also details how Parliament went from being a uniquely English legislative body to becoming an executive power unto itself. Charles refused to compromise, sometimes out of pig-headedness and apparent stupidity and sometimes because the demands of Parliament and (later) the Army were way out of line. How Parliament evolved into the Parliament of Cromwell is part of the uniqueness of England in European history.
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