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A Monarchy Transformed: Britain, 1603-1714

af Mark Kishlansky

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
490549,295 (3.76)15
"A Monarchy Transformed narrates the tempestuous political events of the Stuart dynasty. Beginning with the accession of James I and concluding with the death of Queen Anne, it details the aspirations of subjects and sovereigns, the growth and decay of political institutions and the clashes of ideology and of arms that make seventeenth-century British history one of the most fascinating of epochs. Here can be found the story of the reigns of six monarchs, the course of two revolutions and of religious upheavals that shook the beliefs of seventeenth century Britons to the core." "While the political history of England holds centre stage, developments in Scotland and Ireland, as well as the interaction of all three of the Stuart kingdoms, are carefully treated. The narrative is constructed to give full play to circumstance, accident and the impact of personalities in unfolding some of the most dramatic events of British history. Conspiracies, rebellions and revolutions jostle side by side with court intrigue, political infighting and the rise of parties. The personalities of political figures as diverse as the Duke of Buckingham and the Duke of Marlborough, the Earl of Strafford and the Earl of Danby, are captured in vibrant pen portraits. The characters of the two Kings James and Charles, of Oliver Cromwell, William and Mary and Queen Anne are assessed for their impact on the events of their eras. A Monarchy Transformed is a vigorous, concise account of the political developments that changed an isolated archipelago in the corner of Europe into one of the greatest powers of the Western world."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved… (mere)
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Mark Kishlansky offers and excellent survey volume of the Stuart Dynasty in England - the seventeenth century. As a survey, he obviously does not delve into great detail, but he does a very good job discussing both personalities that moved the age and the great events that shook the age. I felt that many times I wanted more detail, but that is not the intent of this book. Rather, Kishlansky is trying to give an over-view of the age. This book provides a good foundation upon which to build one's knowledge by seeking out more specialised studies.

The writing style is clear and concise, especially as he tries to untangle the myriad religious issues and conflicts of the age. Kishlansky opens each chapter with a tantalising event relative to that chapter. This captures the reader's attention and keeps one focused on the theme of that chapter. Its a technique that works well within the context of a survey history.

I would have liked to have had endnotes, but Kishlansky advises the reader at the outset that he is not providing them. There is a very good section for further reading at the back of the book. On the whole, this is a great book for someone just beginning to explore the Stuart Dynasty in England. ( )
  Blythewood | Sep 30, 2022 |
I sometimes think that my love of 'Penguin History of x' series is straight masochism; but Kishlansky's volume on seventeenth century Britain is very well done. He writes clearly, his sentences follow on from each other (not always the case with today's historians), and he seems to have written for people who are interested in history, rather than for professors who need a text-book for an era they know little about: this book is not about settling scores with other professors.

The book focuses mainly on narrating the Main Story of the times, but it does start with a couple of chapters on social and political structures. He's also a good bibliographer, giving you plenty of options for further reading. The only real caveat is that the book is probably better for someone who already knows that, e.g., there was an English Revolution and so on. Kishlansky does a great job of showing how and why things happened, and he doesn't focus on any particular set of causes over any other. I'm not sure how good he is at making sure you know who Cromwell is before launching into the events of the age. ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
I read this book several months ago, and don’t remember many of the details of the individual narratives, but these are some general impressions on finishing the book.

This is the sixth volume in the (so far) ten-volume Penguin History of Britain series. As with many of these, this was a bit of a slog. I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself. The author, Mark Kishlansky, professor of English and English History at Harvard, seems eminently qualified to make this an engaging book, but it really isn’t. Some reviews have referred to this as a good “undergraduate history” of the Stuart period, and that may be the case; I would only want to read it in a class where information was also pulled together in a more compelling way.

A period that was so riven by political and social conflict should, perhaps, be handled with that kind of history. I have always been more interested in intellectual and cultural history, which this volume (and, it seems, most volume in this series) ignores, though I’ve tried not to fault it for that in my rating. A reader who asks herself, at the end of the book, “How was the monarchy transformed?” would have a difficult time answering the question precisely because of the way Kishlansky wrote the book: as a series of vivid vignettes full of vibrant personalities. The changes that happened to the important institutions, however, are much less apparent. ( )
2 stem kant1066 | Feb 25, 2013 |
This book covers the entire Stuart period of English history from James I to Queen Anne. That period included the civil wars of the 1640's where Charles I lost his head, the Commonwealth and restoration, the Glorious Revolution. It ended with the war of the Grand Alliance where England became a world power and the War of Spanish Succession. The two left England with massive debts which led to the founding of the South Sea Company (South Sea Bubble of George I's reign). It led from an Absolute Monarchy justified by "Divine Right" to a Constitutional Monarchy justified by Social Contract. More importantly, it led to a real revolution in political philosophy with writers like Sir Robert Filmer and Thomas Hobbes, defenders of absolute monarchy; and like John Locke, Algernon Sidney, and David Hume, the defenders of social contract theory and the people's right to resist the sovereign. These latter, in fact, supplied the ideological fuel for the American Revolution and the United States Constitution 100 years after the Glorious revolution.

The style is easy to read and follow, though the author makes occasional use of trite expressions or similies. The book opens with two chapters on the Social and Political conditions of the century. From the third chapter on it is in strict chronological order. One feature that leads into the successive chapters is that each chapter begins with a two page description of one significant incident (2-3 pages in length) followed by a short 1-2 page thumbnail sketch of the entire period.

It is an easy read and informative for the non-specialist who is interested specifically in this period or in some of the background for the American Revolution. That connection is not explicit, but one familiar with American Revolutionary history cannot miss many of the parallels and the rhetoric common to that period. ( )
1 stem patito-de-hule | Dec 19, 2008 |
A Monarchy Transformed is the history of the Stuart Dynasty in England and Great Britain, beginning with the coronation of James I in 1603 and ending with the death of Queen Anne in 1714, when the throne switched to the Hanoverian Dynasty. On the whole, I thought it was a very interesting book. It deftly told the story of all of the Stuart monarchs, as well as the story of the Commonwealth that disrupted the Stuart monarchy from 1649 to 1660. Kishlansky is an engaging writer, and it read like a novel in many ways. It is detailed, thorough, and, in my opinion, very well written.

I did feel that Kishlansky did leave some areas lacking. It was historically accurate; there is no doubt about that. However, he tended to skim areas that I feel should have been covered in more detail. I was assigned this book for a class and, in all honesty, I felt that if it had not been for my professor's lectures, I would not have understood some of the details and events Kishlansky described. I also felt that he paid too little attention to the last monarchs of the dynasty, William and Mary, and Anne. Anne, in particular, received very little attention, only really being mentioned in the epilogue, and with nothing positive being said about her.

In spite of it's flaws, I believe A Monarchy Transformed should be read by anyone with an interest in the history of England, or the Stuart Dynasty in particular. I also believe that those who are interested in the English literature and writers of the time, such as Milton and Pepys, should read this. It provides interesting details of the monarchy, and of England as a whole, and it gives some insight into the environment and atmosphere which these writers lived in. Very, very informative and easy to read. ( )
1 stem shootingstarr7 | Dec 18, 2007 |
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"A Monarchy Transformed narrates the tempestuous political events of the Stuart dynasty. Beginning with the accession of James I and concluding with the death of Queen Anne, it details the aspirations of subjects and sovereigns, the growth and decay of political institutions and the clashes of ideology and of arms that make seventeenth-century British history one of the most fascinating of epochs. Here can be found the story of the reigns of six monarchs, the course of two revolutions and of religious upheavals that shook the beliefs of seventeenth century Britons to the core." "While the political history of England holds centre stage, developments in Scotland and Ireland, as well as the interaction of all three of the Stuart kingdoms, are carefully treated. The narrative is constructed to give full play to circumstance, accident and the impact of personalities in unfolding some of the most dramatic events of British history. Conspiracies, rebellions and revolutions jostle side by side with court intrigue, political infighting and the rise of parties. The personalities of political figures as diverse as the Duke of Buckingham and the Duke of Marlborough, the Earl of Strafford and the Earl of Danby, are captured in vibrant pen portraits. The characters of the two Kings James and Charles, of Oliver Cromwell, William and Mary and Queen Anne are assessed for their impact on the events of their eras. A Monarchy Transformed is a vigorous, concise account of the political developments that changed an isolated archipelago in the corner of Europe into one of the greatest powers of the Western world."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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