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Charles I was a complex man whose career intersected with some of the most dramatic events in English history. He played a central role in provoking the English Civil War, and his execution led to the only republican government Britain has ever known. Historians have struggled to get him into perspective, veering between outright condemnation and measured sympathy.
Richard Cust shows that Charles I was not unfit to be a king, emphasising his strengths as a party leader and conviction politician, but concludes that, none the less, his prejudices and attitudes, and his mishandling of political crises did much to bring about a civil war in Britain. He argues that ultimately, after the war, Charles pushed his enemies into a position where they had little choice but to execute him.
List of Abbreviations
Chapter 1. A Political Apprenticeship, 1600-1622
Prince of Wales
Attitudes and Influences
Chapter 2. Charles and Buckingham, 1623-1628
The Blessed Revolution
The Parliaments of 1625 and 1626
The Forced Loan and the 1628 Parliament
The Caroline Religious Settlement
Chapter 3. The Personal Rule, 1629-1640
The Road to Personal Rule
Laudianism and the Personal Rule
The Image of Virtue
Government and Politics
Chapter 4. Charles and the British Problem, 1625-1638
The Prayer Book Rebellion
Chapter 5. Charles and the Outbreak of Civil War, 1639-1642
The Bishops Wars
The Long Parliament
. The Party Leader
The Outbreak of War
Chapter 6. Charles and Civil War, 1642-1649
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.
'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. Custs view is that he is not content to put Charless political failures down simply, as many recent historians have done, to the kings 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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