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A coffin for King Charles : the trial and execution of Charles I Paperback – 1966

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the Great Rebellion Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

³The finest account of the trial that has ever been written.² -- J. H. Plumb, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

THE CHICAGO SUNDAY TRIBUNE has summed up the appeal of Dame Cicely Veronica Wedgwood (1910-97): ³Easily the most distinguished woman historian of our time, [she] is the dream of the history fan. A scholar of unimpeachable diligence and accuracy, she also possesses the double literary gift of lucid exposition and brilliant portrayal.² Originally published in 1964 (its English title was The Trial of Charles I), A Coffin for King Charles is her masterly account of one of the most dramatic moments in British history: the trial and execution of King Charles I in 1648. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Time Reading Program (1966)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809436396
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809436392
  • ASIN: B00005VMM8
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,558,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is classic history--Wedgwood's erudition is obvious, but this very readable narrative is enlivened with vivid details of characters, events, and physical settings. Her assessments of the duplicitous and vacillating Charles and the narrow but undeniably brilliant soldier Cromwell are both shrewd and sympathetic. The book, her third on the life of Charles I of England, deals with the ten weeks which comprise the trial and execution of the first European reigning monarch to be publicly tried for treason and put to death by his subjects. The story opens in November 1648, with Charles a prisoner, separated from his wife and children. The English Civil War, begun in 1642, has brought the deaths of thousands of his subjects, political anarchy, widespread destruction, catastrophic harvests, and economic depression. Charles has failed to reach agreement with Parliament on its demands for reform, knowing that when Cromwell returns from campaigning, he and the Army will take the law into their own hands. Cromwell and the Army duly return, take Charles prisoner, exclude the Presbyterian opposition from Parliament, and vote to bring the King to justice for plotting to enslave the English nation and commit treason by levying war on his subjects. A somewhat undistinguished group of men is chosen to prosecute and try the King, the country's experienced and influential judges and lawyers having refused to participate. The King, never a good speaker, rises to the occasion with a forceful defense denying the legal authority of the court and arguing, cleverly, that he is protecting not himself but the freedom and liberty of the English people by resisting the court's violation of centuries of English common law. The inevitable death sentence is pronounced and the death warrant is signed.Read more ›
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By A Customer on October 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
This well written and well researched book tells the fascinating tale of the trial and execution of King Charles I at the end of the English Civil War. I have read several books dealing with this time period and thought that this was one of the best. It was so exciting that I ended up staying up much too late reading it.
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Format: Paperback
C.V. Wedgwood's 'A Coffin For King Charles: The Trial and Execution of Charles I' is generally considered the classic account of the trial and execution of Charles I. The book opens in late 1648 with Charles captive on the Isle of Wight. Having lost the first English Civil War (1642-1645), Charles had been taken into captivity from whence he plotted and conspired and provoked until Royalist uprisings blotted the countryside in what was known as the Second Civil War. Charles also played at negotiating a settlement, but despite his utter military defeat he had never accepted that he was not rightly entitled to be king. Believing himself ordained by God, Charles would not submit. Cromwell, for his part, also believed God he was doing God's work. At last, exasperated by Charles' deceitful behavior, Cromwell and his allies determined to take ultimate action against the king.

Wedgwood meticulously covers the events beginning with the collapse of treaty negotiations. The New Model Army took custody of the king and eventually brought him to London for trial. The Army had also taken control of Parliament by forcing out uncooperative members in Pride's Purge.

To say that the Parliament made a hash of the trial is an understatement. Wedgwood, however, at times argues a brief on behalf of the king that strains logic. Wedgwood essentially adopts Charles' argument that the trial of the king by the House of Commons (without the Lords) was unlawful. Indeed the circumstances were so novel - the people asserting the right to try and execute their ruler - that the Parliamentary judges were also flummoxed by Charles' denial of the jurisdiction of the court and his consequent refusal to enter a plea.
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Format: Paperback
The execution of Britain's King Charles I is one of the most shocking events in England's history. CV Wedgwood (Dame Cecily Veronica Wedgwood), noted historian and expert on the English Civil Wars, in 1964 tackled the daunting enterprise of unearthing, sifting through, and interpreting the primary documents pertaining to the final year of Charles's life.

At an impasse with the king over religious issues and his insistence on his Divine Right to rule without interference, Parliamentary factions determined that the only way to put an end to their warfare was to execute him. Wedgwood meticulously and impartially presented the evidence from both sides, writing an interesting and readable account from material that in itself could be rather dry. Her treatment of Charles's final week and of the aftermath of his death is compassionate but evenhanded. Surprisingly, the king's nemesis, Oliver Cromwell, did not play the most conspicuous role during this period. A Coffin for King Charles has deservedly become a classic on this remarkable period and its adamant antagonists.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. I found that it not only gives you a great deal of historical information, but you also feel like you a really getting to know King Charles.
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