Tudor family biographer Erickson ( Mistress Anne , etc.) chronicles the tumultuous life of the last Stuart heir, Charles III. In 1745, energetic and charismatic Bonnie Prince Charlie emerged from exile in Italy and France in an attempt to recapture the throne of his Catholic father, James Stuart III, from George II, an intolerant Protestant Hanoverian. In addition to succinct and relevant expositions of European politics, the author's narrative includes character portraitssometimes of a speculative natureand vignettes of conditions such as the luxury and squalor of Rome of Charles's childhood, or the remote, rugged Western Islands of Scotland. There the bonnie prince won the loyalty of Highlanders by sharing the hardships of their ill-fated invasion of England. Charles was defeated, according to the author, because of overcautious advisers, delay of French support and slaughter of his reduced, ill-equipped troops at Culloden Moor. His ambitions shattered, he was abandoned by his long-suffering mistress and wife, and comforted only by a loyal daughter. Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club and International Collectors Library alternate s. (Jan.)
Charles Edward Stuart, the subject of many biographies, has always been surrounded by an aura of romance and mystery. Here Erickson, noted biographer of Mary Tudor, Elizabeth I, and Henry VIII, among others, presents a credible, readable portrait of the ``Bonnie Prince,'' while simultaneously clearing up many of the enigmas associated with him. She is perhaps kinder to the Stuart pretender than he deserves, but there is no denying either her mastery of the available printed sources or her ability to breathe empathetic life into her subject. This book is delightful reading, thanks both to the nature of its subject and Erickson's telling touch, but it supplements rather than supplants David Daiches's Charles Edward Stuart (1973. o.p.). Recommended for academic and public libraries. James A. Casada, Winthrop Coll., Rock Hill, S.C.