Monarchy: From the Middle Ages to Modernity

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9780007247509: Monarchy: From the Middle Ages to Modernity
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To coincide with the Channel 4 series to be aired at the end of this year – David Starkey's ‘Monarchy’ charts the rise of the British monarchy from the War of the Roses, the English Civil War and the Georgians, right up until the present day monarchs of the 20th Century.

David Starkey’s magisterial new book Monarchy charts the rise of the British crown from the insurgency of the War of the Roses, through the glory and dangers of the Tudors, to the insolvency of the Stuarts and chaos of the English Civil War, the execution of Charles I, the rule of a commoner who was ‘king in all but name’, the importing of a German dynasty, and the coming-to-terms with modernity under the wise guidance of another German, Victoria’s Prince Consort Albert. An epilogue brings to story up to the present and asks questions about the future.

The crown of England is the oldest surviving political institution in Europe. And yet, throughout this book Starkey emphasises the Crown’s endless capacity to reinvent itself to circumstances and reshape national polity whilst he unmasks the personalities and achievements, the defeats and victories, which lie behind the kings and queens of British history.

Each of these monarchs has contributed, in their own way, to the religion, geography, laws, language and government that we currently live with today. In this book,Starkey demonstrates exactly how these states were arrived at, how these monarchs subtly influenced each other, which battles were won and why, whose whim or failure caused religious tradition to wither or flourish, and which monarchs, through their acumen and strength or single minded determination came to enforce the laws of England.

With his customary authority and verve, David Starkey reignites these personalities to produce an entertaining and masterful account of these figures whose many victories and failures are the building blocks upon which Britain today is built. Far more than a biography of kings and queens, ‘Monarchy’ is a radical reappraisal of British nationhood, culture and politics, shown through the most central institution in British life.

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Review:

‘this book...is vivid, lucid and engaging...his judgements delivered with quasi-Pontifical assurance are often acute...a very enjoyable book.’ Daily Telegraph

‘David Starkey tours England's monarchical horizon with gusto.’ Sunday Times

‘Excellent...the really crucial events in the history of the British Monarchy since the Middle Ages are assessed with authority, wisdom and wit...This is Starkey at his fluent and entertaining best.’ Sunday Telegraph

‘Combines compelling narrative and lucid analysis to guide us with a sure hand through two centuries of domestic turmoil unparalleled in any other period of English history...nowhere is there to be found a better short summary of the Glorious Revolution of 1688...Starkey's book will undoubtedly make him and his publishers a tidy profit.’ The Spectator

'I found myself compelled by David Starkey's vivid recreation of the hazardous uncertainty of Elizabeth's early life, her successive exclusions from the centre of power, the studiedly ambiguous answers she offered her interrogators, her inevitable implications in conspiracies and narrow escapes from execution.' Times Literary Supplement

'Combines a relaxed and unfussy style with a thorough knowledge of the period and a sharp eye for detail. Elizabeth's life makes for a compelling story and Starkey tells it well.' Spectator

‘Taken together...these two books supply the best short history of England written since J.R. Green in the 1870s...all of the familiar stories are here, from Alfred and his cakes, to the passion and elevation of St Diana of Knightsbridge...this is an enterprise of surpassing excellence. For those who wish for a panoramic view of English history...this is a study...that can be highly recommended.’ Times Literary Supplement

Sunday Telegraph:

'Excellent...This is Starkey at his fluent and entertaining
best.'

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