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Book Title: Charles II|
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The author of the book: John Leslie Miller
Edition: Weidenfeld & Nicholson
Date of issue: 1991
ISBN 13: 9780297812142
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 11.87 MB
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he author explains right from the outset that he found out that Ronald Hutton was also embarking on a biography of Charles II , so they seemed to have reached a gentleman's agreement whereby Ronald Hutton would concentrate far more on Charles II life before the Restoration in 1660 and also bring Scotland and Ireland into the remit of his book.
So we are left with this biography first published in 1991 which examines Charles II record largely as a reigning monarch. John Miller had already written 'James II A Study in Kingship' (1978) and felt that there was enough new source material emerging in the 1980's to justify a biography of Charles II -'the most slippery of kings, a complex and evasive character'.
And we are left with a tough and thorough biography. There is no endless stream of anecdotes about the personal lives of the likes of Charles Sedley, Lord Rochester, not to mention the king himself. Virtually nothing about the bawdiness of Restoration drama, nor chunks of Pepys' diary subject to cut and paste. Very much a no-nonsense biography trying to discover how Charles II regime functioned. How and why war was waged against the Dutch, how England fared in international affairs. How war was financed. And perhaps more importantly , a large part of the book details how Charles navigated his rule to avoid the rising religious sectarian clashes, both in parliament and the judiciary, and on a popular level. With a Whig /Protestant faction increasingly trying to manipulate the Duke of Monmouth in a bid to stop (Catholic) James Duke of York succeeding the throne as James II. The crises just seemed to re-occur with Popish Plot, Rye House Plot, et al. Charles is shown as being quite tolerant of religion, trying to ease the legal sanctions against both Roman Catholics and Dissenters. The author does not subscribe to any speculation about Monmouth actually being Charles' legitimate son.
There is a useful portrayal of Charles complicated relationship with Parliament, especially in the latter years of his life when he tried to ensure that James' right to the succession was protected..
The book is a complicated read, and without footnotes or endnotes. But rewarding.
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