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The Lion and the Throne; the Life and Times of Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634) Paperback – 1957

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 658 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.; Unknown edition (1957)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SET69E
  • Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 7.6 x 2.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #725,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R on July 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The Anglosaxon/anglophone world, and indirectly, most of Europe and the "free world" circa 2006, owe the unquestioned primacy of ordered liberty more to Coke than to any other single individual. For, he was not only a mere academic proponent, interpreter and "codifier" of the "ancient" liberties of the realm, but stood his ground against the crown - against Elizabeth or against her successors, at great peril to his own estate and person. From the petition of right in 1628, arose the English Bill of Rights and eventually, the American Bill of Rights. Coke's majesty as an oracle of the law, lent awe and credence (to put it mildly) to his brazenly specious yet effective claims of many "ancient" liberties pre-dating the norman invasion itself. (i.e to the days of "ordeals").

From a layman's perspective ( I have no formal legal training) this is "popular" history rather than a scholarly narrative, though great research has obviously gone into this effort to keep it flowing effortlessly and simple/"popular".

If there is a complaint, its about the jarring theme running throughout the book - the relentless character assassination of Bacon. I wonder if recent research has somehwat alleviated his perceived treachery to Essex and his allegedly ingratiating, insinuating courtly ways to gain influence and power. This is no paen for Coke either; we get to see the shortcomings of Coke's own character, for e.g his outbursts during Raleigh's trial for treason.

Overall, a must-read for any lover of liberty; and a treat if you're an Anglophile.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The subtitle of this book is "The Life and Times of Sir Edward Coke", pronounced Cook, it is just that. Catherine Drinker Bowen allows his life to speak for itself. He faithfully served Queen Elizabeth. Then under James I he served the his countrymen (and us) by standing against the oath ex officio. This oath was an instrument of the High Commission, an ecclesiastical court, which was used convict men of 'thought crimes'. Under it they were required to swear before God, after they had sworn they were required to confess their secret thoughts, if any of these were deemed heretical to Church of England doctrine they were subject to punishment. It was used against Dissenters and Catholics.
Quoting now from "The Lion and the Throne", "Coke's reply seems startling, considering his past loyalty to monarchism and the Church of England: "No man ecclesiastical or temporal shall be examined upon secret thoughts of his heart or of his secret opinion. And the defendant must have, as in Star Chamber and Chancery, the bill (of charges) delivered unto him, or otherwise he need not answer to it. Laymen for the most part are not lettered, wherefore they may easily be inveigled and intrapped and principally in heresy and errors of faith."
He was a great defender of the Common Law and a contributor to the development of the principle that kings and all who hold positions of authority are under the law. He served time in the Tower of London for this principle.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a biography of Sir Edward Coke, an English lawyer and Parliamentarian during the turbulent reigns of Elizabeth I and James I of England. Coke's struggles to limit the power of the King and increase the power of Parliament culminated in the Petition of Right in 1628. This historic document became a model for the "separation of powers" in our Constitution.
The book has been out of print for many years, but it is the only good biography of Coke (pronounced "Cook") that I know of.
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