Synopses & Reviews
After Charles I's succession to the English throne in 1625, he transformed the political landscape of the country, dissolved parliament, and began a period of eleven years of personal rule. This authoritative reevaluation of Charles I's personal rule yields rich new insights into his character, reign, politics, religion, foreign policy and finance, as well as the importance of parliament and the process of government without it. In doing so, the book offers a vivid new perspective on the origins of the English Civil War. 'A book written with verve, lucidity, and grace ... It is a magnificent achievement: scholarly history on a grand scale, presented with stylishness and panache.' John Adamson, 'The Sunday Telegraph' 'A truly breathtaking and brilliantly sustained narrative based on a mind-boggling array of sources.' 'History' 'An impressive book ... its discussion of the main characters and their motives is riveting ... Its evidence will remain an invaluable contribution to Stuart studies.' Ronald Butt, 'The Times' 'Discussion of English affairs under Charles will now start from Sharpe's work.' 'Renaissance Studies' 'A monumental new work ... with an enormous amount of valuable information.' Derek Hirst, 'Times Literary Supplement' 'A major work of historical scholarship.' Hugh Trevor-Roper, 'The Weekend Telegraph' 'The largest and most wide-ranging analysis of the personal rule that has ever been written ... This is history on a bold and exciting scale, which seeks to cover all aspects of government in a way that few historians would now dare to attempt ... A treasure-trove of new and exciting material.' Anthony Milton, 'History Today' 'A very considerable tour de force.' Patrick Collinson, 'The Observer' Kevin Sharpe was director of the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies and professor of renaissance studies at Queen Mary, University of London.
In 1625 Charles I succeeded to the throne of a nation heavily involved in a European war and deeply divided by religious controversy. Within four years he had transformed the political landscape of Britain, dissolved parliament, and begun a period of eleven years of personal rule. The nature of the King's government and the circumstances of its eventual collapse are central to an understanding of the origins of the English Civil War that followed. Kevin Sharpe's massive and authoritative analysis, based on a decade of research across a vast range of manuscript and printed sources, amounts to the most significant contribution to the history of early Stuart government since Gardiner's four-volume classic work in 1877.
Sharpe presents an entirely fresh picture of Charles I and his annexation of power. He analyzes the personality, principles, and policies of a monarch who, after summoning more parliaments in his first year of rule than his predecessors had for a century, determined to govern without them. He assesses Charles' program of reform in central and local government and in church and state, and he discusses the years of peace and prosperity it engendered. He also examines priorities in foreign affairs and their impact on domestic policy. Sharpe subtly evaluates the degree of cooperation and opposition elicited and provoked by personal rule, and he analyzes the Scottish rebellion of 1637 that occasioned its undoing.
The book yields rich new insights into the history of the reign, politics and religion, foreign policy and finance, the court and the counties, and attitudes and ideas. It provides a substantial reevaluation of the character of the king, the importance of parliaments, and the process of government without them. And it represents a critical new perspective on the origins of the political struggle that ended on the battlefields of the English Civil War.