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A Monarchy Transformed: Britain, 1603-1714 11.1.1997 Edition
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In pursuit of this goal, Kishlansky avoids examining the contradictory interpretations which he believes necessitate this work. His prefatory remarks fully acknowledge the limited nature of his discussion. Apologizing to his colleagues, he explains that any effort to conflate the conflicting opinions into one coherent narrative would prove futile. Therefore, he claims to have used his discretion in writing a flowing account.
Still, an author's discretion is seldom neutral. Correlating with Kishlansky's past contributions to British historiography, this book contains definite revisionist undertones. Focusing on the impact of individuals, he emphasizes the contingency of each event he describes. Accident and circumstance drive his story. This perspective does not accommodate the vital component of progressive interpretations: inevitability. Furthermore, Kishlansky's story is essentially a political narrative. He frequently dismisses the social and economic factors which progressives view as so influential in governmental development.
The work itself is a combination of three stylistic techniques.Read more ›
Not all of this is adequately covered by Kishlansky. He eulogizes the century in his introduction, but the book focuses primarily on politics. This necessarily introduces religion too, and Kishlansky covers Arminianism, dissenters, the struggles over Presbyterianism and Catholicism, and the final restrictive Test Acts. The political background is done concisely and well, with good portraits of the key characters and clearly laid out ideologicial conflicts -- no mean achievement given the bewildering complex and contradictory positions most of the players adopted.
Kishlansky is excellent on the monarchs, their finances and rule, and their relationships with their governments. He is equally readable on the political state of the country, and the details of the conflicts in Parliament. His coverage of foreign policy is less complete, and he only provides any details when there is a clear interaction with the internal politics of Great Britain -- which, to be fair, is much of the time. He is also fairly thorough in his coverage of Ireland.Read more ›
The accumulated scholarship of the last century, concerning social movements, economics and ideology, is allowed to seep in a bit around the edges, after a broadbrush survey that serves as a prefatory chapter, but the political doings of kings and ministers and generals are the main event, and the historian's well-phrased judgment the main service.
The book covers a period of 111 years -- the long Stuart century, from the accession of James I to the death of Queen Anne -- that works out to around 3 pages of narrative per year, and many are eventful, literally revolutionary years in the emergence of modern Britain. There's a bibliography, but no footnotes, and the author seems keen to shy away from scholarly controversy, but equally keen to exercise the historian's traditional prerogative to pronounce sweeping judgments in a style now obsolete, but still delightful to appreciate. The result can be intensely enjoyable, but not necessarily deeply informative reading.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is wonderful: full of details, facts and analyses. It is as good as a college textbook.Published 14 months ago by elizabeth a cain
I read a lot of history, and I wasn't a fan of this book. It's basically a political narrative of Britain under the Stuarts, with little analysis or explanation. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Tinmanic
Having taught this book, I wd say that in many ways it is v effective for an American undergrad audience. However, there are some difficulties. Read morePublished 17 months ago by shiversodread
Very lively history of a pivotal period in British history. Understanding the transformation from absolute to constitutional monarchy is fascinating and important in its own right... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Daniel DiLeo
The opening narratives for each chapter add to the reading. Those who want to get right into the details they may be skipped.Published 19 months ago by Robert Ehrlich
My goal in reading this book was to understand what the founders of the U.S. learned about when they were studying history as students. It was readable and not overly detailed. Read morePublished on January 11, 2014 by dlvryman
Starting in the reign of Charles the I through to the introduction of the Hanoverians, A Monarchy Transformed presents the most turbulent times in British history since the Wars of... Read morePublished on August 27, 2013 by D. Costello