James II review ä 3

review James II

James II review ä 3 ´ The short action packed reign of James II 1685 88 is generally seen as one of the most catastrophic in British history James managed despite having access to tremendous reserves of good will and deference to so alienate his supporters that he had to flee for his life And yet most of that life was spent not as king but first as heir to CharOf good will and deference to so alienate his supporters that he had to flee for his life And yet most of that life was spent not as king but first as heir to Charles II as Duk. A short biography which addresses the main uestion of James II's short reign What was he thinking Womersley moves away from traditional accounts of the Glorious Revolution which focus on James II as an unusually obstinate and misguided monarch and instead examines the broader political context of his times and the variety of different ideas about monarchy in Western Europe Still Womersley identifies traits in James II's personality and conduct that contributed to his overthrow in 1688 noting that James never seems to have grasped that an unswerving adherence to a plan no matter what the circumstances can show foolishness rather than resolution I would have been interested to read details about the influence of James's 2nd wife Mary of Modena the role of his 1st wife Anne Hyde in his religious conversation is discussed in some detail and about James' later life after the Glorious Revolution and the Battle of the Boyne

David Womersley · 3 characters

E of York after whom New York is named and then in the last part of his life as the first Jacobite 'Pretender' starting a problem that would haunt Britain's rulers for generatio. A good overview of a monarch I knew very little about and someone who had a profound and unintentional influence on our constitutionIf you previously thought that the English Civil War was mostly a push towards democracy and a constitutional monarchy then this will dispel that myth and show that it was THIS monarch's mistakes preceeding to whilst on the throne who actually provoked those eventsThe book is written in a very engaging style and provides a good overview of this monarch's brief reign only 3 years The Penguin Monarch books are generally 100 pages or less and serve as succinct guides to the British Monarchy

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James IIThe short action packed reign of James II 1685 88 is generally seen as one of the most catastrophic in British history James managed despite having access to tremendous reserves. JACO BITESIZE VOLUME WELL EXECUTED AND STYLISHLY PRODUCEDThe Penguin monarchs series is an ambitious project Get some of the best and sometimes upcoming writers some historians some not and ask them to write stylish lives within a brevity that is in itself potentially self limiting Can the writer suare this circle David Womersley is a professor of English literature but has few problems in navigating both the big picture and the micro aspects of his subject James 11 the last catholic king The books themselves are deliberately designed as things of beauty with pale cloth bound editions fronted by a half paper illustration It is almost as if Penguin know that there will be completists out there who just have to have them all They do indeed look striking and lovely and will have general appeal both as gifts and as academic primers I suspect the best of this series will not be given the label primer or introduction if the job is done well In the case of this volume Womersley is both careful and assiduous in his contextual framing about versions of Whig history which is supposedly epitomised by the Glorious Revolution of 1688 He carefully unpicks the nuances of this debate and I am pleased to see in a good and informative bibliography credit given to the historian JR Jones whose seminal books on the First Whigs and the 1688 revolution look at the policies of James in their own right and on their own terms Womersley then covers the period when James was Duke of York with interesting emphasis on the power he had in the last years of the reign of Charles 11 Finally his reign as king is covered and the unravelling of his objectives to convert the country back to catholicism and the intervention of his son in law William that saw an end to his rule despite the abortive attempt to return at the Battle of the Boyne Womersley handles this narrative with great care dealing both with the legalities of the kings use of prerogative power and the growing opposition to his rule So why four stars rather than five Well the book is 115 pages long including academic notes bibliography and index and within this framework for me this is a primer and an introduction rather than the full five star experience For this Womersley would have had to write with relish and with style the danger in these very short books is that the author just writes about the 'best' bits Womersley is so careful in explaining the intricasies rightly so that he forgets to polish to include verve and perhaps enjoy himself When one looks at the list of projected writers in this series Thomas Penn on Edward V; Tim Blanning on George 1;Jonathan Sumption on Edward 111 the mouth waters with anticipation If it stayed a little dry with this volume that is not to underplay its overall effect a great solid and stimulating introduction to that somewhat unfashionable subject James 11 and a thing of beauty as a book as well Still most volumes are £1099 each which is pricey for so few pages The writing has to be at the top of its game on every page So read it enjoy and follow up and maybe then onto the next one