The tragedy of Charles I dominates one of the most strange and painful periods in British history as the whole island tore itself apart over a deadly, entangled series of religious and political disputes. In Mark Kishlansky's brilliant account it is never in doubt that Charles created his own catastrophe, but he was nonetheless opposed by men with far fewer scruples and less consistency who for often quite contradictory reasons conspired to destroy him. This is a remarkable portrait of one of the most talented, thoughtful, loyal, moral, artistically alert and yet, somehow, disastrous of all this country's rulers.
Mark Kishlansky is Frank Baird Jr Professor of History at Harvard University and one of the world's leading scholars on Stuart England. He is the author of A Monarchy Transformed, the 17th century volume in the Penguin History of England series.