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Imprudent King

A New Life of Philip II
Narrated by: Nigel Patterson
Length: 18 hrs and 36 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)
Regular price: £27.49
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Summary

Philip II is not only the most famous king in Spanish history, but one of the most famous monarchs in English history: the man who married Mary Tudor and later launched the Spanish Armada against her sister Elizabeth I. This compelling biography of the most powerful European monarch of his day begins with his conception (1526) and ends with his ascent to Paradise (1603), two occurrences surprisingly well documented by contemporaries. Eminent historian Geoffrey Parker draws on four decades of research on Philip as well as a recent, extraordinary archival discovery - a trove of 3,000 documents in the vaults of the Hispanic Society of America in New York City, unread since crossing Philip's own desk more than four centuries ago. Many of them change significantly what we know about the king. 

The book examines Philip's long apprenticeship; his three principal interests (work, play, and religion); and the major political, military, and personal challenges he faced during his long reign. Parker offers fresh insights into the causes of Philip's leadership failures: was his empire simply too big to manage, or would a monarch with different talents and temperament have fared better?

©2014 Geoffrey Parker (P)2018 Tantor

Critic reviews

"He is at pains to know Philip through the testimony of his friends, foes, courtiers and his own words and this authoritative, intelligently revisionist biography must stand now as the primary reference." (Iain Finlayson, Times [UK])

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Exceptional biography, grippingly retold.

Parker’s biography of Philip II is one of the best available, managing to bring to life Philip’s complex, rivetingly interesting personality, and to assess with equanimity his accomplishment as a ruler in troubled times. Nigel Patterson’s performance, and particularly his obvious effort to get all the Spanish names and phrases correctly pronounced, is extraordinary.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Missee
  • 18-03-19

Great, but I jumbled

This is a great book, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The only complaint I have is one that I saw in another review, which is that the book does jump around a bit. It takes the different areas in his life and goes through each one in chronological order separate from the other parts. For example, you hear about all of his wives before you hear about most of his political life.

It would have been better if it was all knit together in order. That way you could see while one marriage may have been awful, what he was dealing with in his kingdom. How these separate parts may have affected each other is lost by separation.

In all, it is very good, if awkwardly ordered. The narration was superb. I definitely recommend this book.

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  • MamaHoneyBadger
  • 09-02-19

Informative but disjointed

I enjoyed the thorough research of this book, but it jumps back and forth so much it's hard to remember it all. It doesn't follow a straight chronology; for example: it tells of his marriage to Mary Tudor, then jumps back to when he was a child, talks of the Armada, then about the Escobedo/Perez scandal, then how he was a loving father, then back to Escobedo/Perez, etc. It would be fine if you had the hard copy to refer back to, but difficult as an audiobook.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful