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A Monarchy Transformed: Britain, 1603-1714 11.1.1997 Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
Nevertheless, what this book does it does well. Kishlansky offers a clear and readable narrative of a century wracked with political and religious turmoil, something that in itself is no small achievement. It is also free of the numerous historiographical disputes, and as such is a safe book for readers wanting an introduction to the Stuarts' reign. The inclusion of Scotland and Ireland into the picture is especially welcome, as it gives a fuller understanding of the era than was available in the traditionally England-specific studies. As a result, it provides a good starting point for understanding how the government of Great Britain developed during the tumultuous decades of the seventeenth century, one that saw the permanent redefinition of the role of the crown in British political life.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is wonderful: full of details, facts and analyses. It is as good as a college textbook.Published 13 months ago by elizabeth a cain
This is what I would call a traditional narrative political history, a throwback in style to the grand, magisterial treatments of generations past, where the author provides his... Read morePublished 15 months ago by BrianWild7
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 16 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 16 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 18 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 18 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