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The King and the Gentleman
by Derek Wilson
ISBN 0091801605 / 9780091801601 / 0-09-180160-5
Publisher Random House
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English historians, it seems, never tire of examining the relationship of Charles I to his archrival, Oliver Cromwell. An unpopular ruler, Charles reigned as King of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1625 to 1649. His religious intolerance, exacerbation of class divisions, and financial recklessness provided ample fodder for Royalist opposition, led by Cromwell. A far more skilled military leader and politician than the King, Cromwell led the radical Independents to victory in the civil wars of the 1640s. His popularity and challenge to the monarchy ultimately led to its abolition as well as the execution of the King. Cromwell governed as Lord Protector until his death in 1658.
With The King and the Gentleman, Derek Wilson fills a scholarly void by examining the rulers' formative years as well as their religious convictions. According to the author, only a thorough understanding of both in context provides an accurate understanding of them as adults and their opposing visions for England. One of England's leading biographers and novelists, Wilson has not written for the initiate to English history; he expects a solid historical foundation from his readers. Those who find the conflict of Charles and Cromwell as absorbing and deserving of fresh insight will consider The King and the Gentleman a must-read. --Bertina Loeffler Sedlack [via]