Henri IV of France: His Reign and Age

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Overview

Vincent J. Pitts chronicles the life and times of one of France’s most remarkable kings in the first English-language biography of Henri IV to be published in twenty-five years. An unwelcome heir to the throne, Henri ruled over a kingdom plagued by religious civil war and political and economic instability. By the end of his reign in 1610 he had pacified his warring country, restored its prosperity, and reclaimed France’s place as a leading power in Europe. Pitts draws upon the rich scholarship of recent decades to tell the captivating story of this pivotal French king.

From boyhood, Henri was destined to be leader and protector of the Huguenot movement in France. He served as chief of the Calvinist party and fought for the Huguenot forces in the bloody Wars of Religion before an extraordinary sequence of dynastic mishaps left the Protestant warlord next in line for the French crown. Henri was forced to renounce his faith in support of his claim to the Catholic throne and to unite his deeply divided country. A master of political maneuvering, Henri restored order to a country in the throes of great religious, political, and economic upheaval. He was assassinated in 1610 by a Catholic zealot.

Vincent Pitts expertly recounts this history and skillfully untangles its complex set of personalities and events. Pitts engages the vast amount of literature relating to the king himself as well as the large body of recent scholarship on France during this time. The result is a fascinating biography of a French king and a comprehensive history of sixteenth-century France.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of European Studies

A handsome work, an interesting text ably supported by extensive footnotes, at what is a reasonable price for a hardback...

H-France

Through Henri the complex and chaotic religious wars come into focus. For this reason, and for the biography's engagement with the most up-to-date scholarship on this period, I would highly recommend this book for any scholar or student seeking an entry into not only Henri and his reign but the wider field of sixteenth and early seventeenth century France.

French History - Jonathan Spangler

A great introduction to the subject for both the general reader passionate about this period of history, but also undergraduates new to the period, and indeed historians who specialize in other periods but would like a detailed, reliable, and well written resource for the reign of this important monarch.

Histoire Sociale - Social History - Penny Roberts

Meticulously researched and elegantly written... explore[s] the strengths and flaws in the king's character which may provide the general reader and the student of history alike with a better and deeper understanding of the challenges he faced and his responses to them during a turbulent age.

H-France

Through Henri the complex and chaotic religious wars come into focus. For this reason, and for the biography's engagement with the most up-to-date scholarship on this period, I would highly recommend this book for any scholar or student seeking an entry into not only Henri and his reign but the wider field of sixteenth and early seventeenth century France.

Journal of European Studies

A handsome work, an interesting text ably supported by extensive footnotes, at what is a reasonable price for a hardback.

Bibliotheque d'Humanisme et Renaissance

This is clearly a work of love and industry both, rich in detail and clear in its overview.

European History Quarterly
Pitts has done a magnificent job producing a biography—and a portrait—of Henri IV that is at once complicated and coherent.

— Andrea Frisch

French History
A great introduction to the subject for both the general reader passionate about this period of history, but also undergraduates new to the period, and indeed historians who specialize in other periods but would like a detailed, reliable, and well written resource for the reign of this important monarch.

— Jonathan Spangler

Histoire Sociale - Social History
Meticulously researched and elegantly written... explore[s] the strengths and flaws in the king's character which may provide the general reader and the student of history alike with a better and deeper understanding of the challenges he faced and his responses to them during a turbulent age.

— Penny Roberts

Reviews of Books
Henri IV of France: His Reign and Age provides a clear and lively narrative fo the life, reign, and historical context of the first Bourbon king of France...Vincent J. Pitts offers an excellent account of the king's many challenges and achievements.

— Diane C. Margolf

History: Reviews of NewBooks
The best biography of Henry IV in English and likely to remain so for many years to come... The wealth of detail and explanation—not only about the life of the king, but also about dynastic and international politics—makes this book indispensable reading.

— John J. Hurt

Reviews of Books - Diane C. Margolf

A clear and lively narrative of the life, reign, and historical context of the first Bourbon king of France... Pitts offers an excellent account of the king's many challenges and achievements.

Renaissance Quarterly - Camille Weiss

An excellent, well-researched study of one of France's greatest kings... This book is an ambitious and scholarly work as well as an engaging one to read.

Journal of Historical Biography - Christopher H. Walker

Pitts succeeds admirably in his newest book, Henri IV of France: His Reign and Age, the first scholarly English-language biography in twenty-five years of Henri de Bourbon, who was both Henri III of Navarre and Henri IV of France... Johns Hopkins Press is to be commended for supporting the level of scholarly documentation provided in this book—a hundred pages of endnotes, and a thirty-page bibliography—that will be of use to anyone studying the era.

European History Quarterly - Andrea Frisch

Pitts has done a magnificent job producing a biography—and a portrait—of Henri IV that is at once complicated and coherent.

History: Reviews of NewBooks - John J. Hurt

The best biography of Henry IV in English and likely to remain so for many years to come... The wealth of detail and explanation—not only about the life of the king, but also about dynastic and international politics—makes this book indispensable reading.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801890277
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 12/26/2008
  • Pages: 516
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Vincent J. Pitts has taught at Quinnipiac University and at Southern Connecticut State University. He is the author of La Grande Mademoiselle at the Court of France, 1627–1693, also published by Johns Hopkins, and The Man Who Sacked Rome: Charles de Bourbon, Constable of France, 1490–1527.Histoire Sociale - Social History

Johns Hopkins University Press

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