White King: The tragedy of Charles I (Hardback)Leanda de Lisle (author)
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Less than forty years after the golden age of Elizabeth I, England was at war with itself.
The bloody, devastating civil wars set family against family, friend against friend. At the head of this disintegrating kingdom was Charles I. His rule would change the face of the monarchy for ever. Charles I's reign is one of the most dramatic in history, yet Charles the man remains elusive.
Too often he is recalled as weak and stupid, his wife, Henrietta Maria, as spoilt and silly: the cause of his ruin. In this portrait - informed by newly disclosed manuscripts, including letters between the king and his queen - Leanda de Lisle uncovers a Charles I who was principled and brave, but also fatally blinkered.
He is revealed as a complex man who pays the price for bringing radical change; Henrietta Maria as a warrior queen and political player as impressive as any Tudor.
Here too are the cousins who befriended and betrayed them: the peacocking Henry Holland, whose brother engineered the king's fall; and the magnetic `last Boleyn girl', Lucy Carlisle.
This is a tragic story for our times, of populist politicians and religious war, of a new media and the reshaping of nations, in which women vied with men for power. For Charles it ended on the scaffold. Condemned as a traitor and murderer, he was also heralded as a martyr: his reign destined to sow the seeds of democracy across Britain and the New World.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 432
Weight: 738 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 38 mm
"It is probably the definite modern work about Charles I" - The Observer
"Formidable... with remarkable clarity she unpicks the tangle of religious, political and economic conflicts that led to the Civil War... This is not a story of a weakling or a villain: it's the tragedy of the right man in the wrong place in history" - Andrew Taylor, The Times
"De Lisle effortlessly carries the reader along with her as she recreates the tragedy of Charles I and the Civil War. This is the most gripping piece of revisionist history I have read for a long time" - Desmond Seward * Spectator
"A revelation... White King is that rare thing, a page-turning history that gently but insistently also asks provocative questions about a period on which our opinions have been all too fixed. Charles does not emerge with his reputation restored, but he emerges whole" - Mathew Lyons, Financial Times
"Excellent -- clear, fair, sympathetic and detailed" - Alan Massie, Wall Street Journal
"A riveting study that casts [Charles] as a blinkered idealist, and draws on previously unpublished royal letters that restore the humanity of his despised queen, Henrietta Maria" * Daily Telegraph *
"Engaging and well-written" -- Tracy Borman * Sunday Times *
"As Leanda de Lisle demonstrates with great skill, there was nothing inevitable about the Civil War - still less about the king's beheading" -- Noel Malcolm * Sunday Telegraph *
"Charles I has long eluded even the most scholarly of biographers; his personal contradictions, attractive qualities and ludicrous blunders require a writer of rare talent to let us appreciate the long-hidden character of the king... very well-researched and beautifully written" -- Andrew Roberts
"A splendidly colourful read ... an enthralling and resonant story of populist politicians, and religious war, and the reshaping of nations" * Bookseller *
"Leanda de Lisle has approached one of the great icons of history with understanding and compassion. She takes her readers through the twists and turns of the English Civil war so that they understand the enormity of the regicide and the foolishness and courage of the king" -- Philippa Gregory
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Excellent read well researched put Charles across in a new light. Could not put it down.
“What non-fiction should be ”
A really challenging read that has taken me almost a month to read 300 pages, but I feel good about it.
This book just makes you feel sorry for Charles and his family. He makes mistakes, but he isn't the first... More
“A portrait of a marriage”
There has been a severe lack of engaging, accessible biographies of this most unfortunate of monarchs in recent years, and Leanda De Lisle has filled that gap admirably with a well researched and page-turning account... More
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