A Monarchy Transformed: Britain, 1603-1714
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A Monarchy Transformed: Britain, 1603-1714 (Penguin History of Britain #6)

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  145 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Narrates the tempestuous political events of the Stuart dynasty. This book charts the reigns of six monarchs, and the course of two revolutions as well as religious upheavals that shook the beliefs of seventeenth-century Britons to the core.
Paperback, 400 pages
Published December 1st 1997 by Penguin Books (first published 1996)
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Hope I never have to take a test on this book. Who were The Levelers, The Ranters, what was Armininianism, who won (or even fought in) the Battle of Benburg, did The Army Plot succeed, why doesn't the self denying ordinance get any upper case letters, what did the spice trade have to do with any of this, can you explain The Humble Person and Advice? This book has everything you want to know about 17th Century Britain and possibly more than you can absorb. The writing is, well, not spell binding,...more
Justin Evans
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 m...more
This contribution to the Penguin History of Britain has been around since 1996 and considering its age it still reads as a fresh, intelligent and detailed narrative of an amazingly busy period. Kishlansky writes with the authority gained from years of scholarship and is both balanced and enlightening in his views. Its easy for example to be prurient about James 1 but Kishlansky accentuates the positive achievements of his reign and has good words to say about characters such as the Duke of Bucki...more
John David
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 real...more
This is a reasonably compact history of Britain under the Stuart dynasty that serves a fairly good introduction to the period. There's a lot of ground to cover, and the focus of the book as stated up front is the political transformation of the period, from rule by a divine monarch, to a commonwealth, and then to rule by a constitutional monarch.

The half-dozen Stuart rulers play a leading role, of course, as do the royal favorites and advisors at the outset and the parliamentary leaders during...more
Karen Floyd
Well-written, informative and very readable. I even carried it back and forth to work so I could read it on lunch breaks. There was a lot of history to cram into one book covering the Stewart monarchs and Kishlansky does this admirably. Some reviewers complained that there wasn't enough depth of coverage on all the players, and while I too often wanted more detail, there were so many players in this approximately 100-year period that the book could be twice as long as it is and still not cover a...more
Glen Pekin
It's hard for me to rate this book as it is my first English History book in 30 years. Read the Plantagenets and Churchill's history way back. This is a volume in the Penguin history of England series. I read it to supplement my studies of 17th Century American history. With the help of Wikipedia I made it through. The book hardly mentions America and is devoted to the rule of the Stuarts so in that way it is sort of old school history of the Kings rather than social but Kishlansky does write so...more
Borrowed the book from Mosier (who knew that I liked the series _The Tudors_). I read through this fairly quickly, but I really enjoyed his style of condensing a pretty pivotal century in the development of England into Great Britain. Sure, it's history, but it's pretty interesting. I feel as though I got a gap filled between the stuff and monarchies of Shakespeare's time and the US colonial period in the 1700s.
He was quite extensive on Charles I, which was the reason I bought the book. But I was quite annoyed that the author largely ignored Queen Mary II and brushed Queen Anne's health problems off by saying she was just too fat. Try 17 pregnancies in 19 years, most of which ended in miscarriages, and see how your body handles that in an age where the medical community still thought in medieval ways....
Mark Singer
A well-done popular history of Britain under the reign of the Stuart dynasty. I would recommend this to anyone who needs background on 17th century British history. This was yet another book that had been collecting dust in my library, and is part of the "Penguin History of Britain" series.
Kishlansky does a great job here of creating a concise narrative of 'big' events in 17th-Century Britain, while keeping enough analysis to make it academically worthwhile as well. I couldn't put it down, which is especially high praise for an academic work.
This book was engaging and interesting. Although I read it as part of my history degree, it's very accessible to non-academics. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone with an interest in this particular aspect of our history.
I read this to provide some historical background to Quicksilver, and it did the job perfectly. Great companion book.
Jun 26, 2010 Megan added it
A Monarchy Transformed: Britain, 1603-1714 (Penguin History of Britain) by Mark Kishlansky (1997)
Oliver Bateman
An excellent narrative history that will satisfy historians and delight laypeople.
Very entertaining. Did not read like a typical history book.
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