- Hardcover: 412 pages
- Publisher: Yale University Press (May 29, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0300070810
- ISBN-13: 978-0300070811
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 22 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,993,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Philip of Spain
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From Library Journal
The depth of Kamen's research on his subject, who ruled Spain from 1527 to 1598, could overwhelm some readers, as his previous works have done (e.g., The Phoenix and the Flame, Yale Univ., 1993). In this first in-depth biography of Philip II, Kamen's understanding of and acquaintance with the sources is masterly. The author often disagrees with much of the classic beliefs about Philip's personality; for example, his supposed solemnity and predilection for black (Kamen notes that the king was rarely out of mourning). However, regarding Philip's reputed cruelty, Kamen says he was hard but "restrained the severity of his officials on numberless occasions," yet he fails to enumerate these occasions. While Philip dominated Spanish politics and culture for more than half a century, Kamen devotes only a few tantalizing pages to the effects of that reign on subsequent events. The audience deserves more of Kamen's insights toward this end. Still, this is a work of marvelous scholarship; highly recommended.?Clay Williams, Ferris State Univ., Big Rapids, Mich.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Philip II of Spain has received an almost uniformly bad press; scholars, particularly English and American, generally portray him as a narrow-minded, religious fanatic who reacted with predictable brutality to any stirrings of liberal religious or political thought. Kamen, currently a professor for the Council of Scientific Research in Barcelona, strives mightily to present a more balanced portrait. He scores points in indicating that the supposedly insular Philip traveled widely, mixed socially with Protestants in the Netherlands, and seemed willing to grant them a measure of religious (but not political) toleration. Instead of the absolute monarch often described in diatribes by Anglophiles, Kamen's Philip emerges as a ruler of a fragmented Spain who strived continually to cope with centrifugal forces. Kamen's prose is lucid, succinct, and thorough, without getting bogged down in details that would appeal strictly to specialists. In humanizing a man too often viewed as a cardboard tyrant, Kamen has made a valuable contribution to European historiography. Jay Freeman
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Now, I have to buy a new biography of Philip I.