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Charles I: A Political Life

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"This new biography of Charles I assesses his contribution to the politics of the era of the English Civil War and emphasises his qualities, as well as his weaknesses, as a king. He provided for his succession (the first responsibility of a monarch); he controlled his court and avoided the factional infighting that was one of the classic signs of a weak or incapable king; he did not cave in or give up in the face of political setbacks." Nevertheless, Charles I presided over a disastrous civil war and a temporary end to monarchical government in
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Overview

"This new biography of Charles I assesses his contribution to the politics of the era of the English Civil War and emphasises his qualities, as well as his weaknesses, as a king. He provided for his succession (the first responsibility of a monarch); he controlled his court and avoided the factional infighting that was one of the classic signs of a weak or incapable king; he did not cave in or give up in the face of political setbacks." Nevertheless, Charles I presided over a disastrous civil war and a temporary end to monarchical government in England. Richard Cust discusses how the complexities of Charles's personality influenced his actions - his strong sense of personal honour lead him to aspire to the highest standards of nobility and self control but also to harbour anxieties and grudges. He loathed Puritanism and feared popularity. He was an exasperating man to deal with and had an immense capacity to make a bad situation worse, but in the end it was his strengths as much as his weaknesses that brought disaster.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

'Richard Cust's new biography (is) by far the best to date... This is an outstanding piece of work: not only the best life of the king yet produced, but also the most subtle and balanced synthesis of current research on the politics and religion of the reign currently in print.'
John Adamson, BBC History

'Cust comes as close to producing a definitive account of the nature of Charles I's kingship as anyone is likely to do for a long time... We should be grateful....for this brilliantly conceived and deeply pondered work. It becomes a crucial point of reference, always trustworthy and enlightening.'
Anthony Fletcher, History Today, May 2006

'...the most impressive aspect of the book is the way that interwoven in the narrative is a consistent, novel and coherent view of Charles the politician. What is novel about Dr. Cust’s view is that he is not content to put Charles’s political failures down simply, as many recent historians have done, to the king’s lack of political ability. His explanations are more subtle and, thus, more convincing.'
Professor Barry Coward, Birkbeck College, London; author of The Stuart Age: England1603-1714 (Longman, 2003)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780582070349
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 7/18/2005
  • Pages: 512
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Cust has been a History lecturer, at Birmingham University for twenty five years and over this time he has published a series of books and articles which have helped to set the agenda for a ‘post revisionist’ account of early Stuart politics. His books include The Forced Loan and English Politics 1626-1628 and Conflict in Early Stuart England (edited with Ann Hughes), another Longman publication.

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Table of Contents

1. A Political Apprenticeship, 1600-1622 2. Charles and Buckingham, 1623-1628 3. The Personal Rule, 1629-1640 4. Charles and the British Problem, 1625-1638 5. Charles and the Outbreak of Civil War, 1639-1642 6. Charles and Civil War, 1642-1649 Conclusion

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