James I: Scotland's King of England by John Matusiak

Few kings have been more savagely caricatured or grossly misunderstood than England s first Stuart. Yet, as this new biography demonstrates, the modern tendency to downplay his defects and minimise the long-term consequences of his reign has gone too far. In spite of genuine idealism and flashes of considerable resourcefulness, James I remains a perplexing figure a uniquely curious ruler, shot through with glaring inconsistencies. His vices and foibles not only undermined his high hopes for healing and renewal after Elizabeth I s troubled last years, but also entrenched political and religious tensions that eventually consumed his successor. A flawed, if well-meaning, foreigner in a rapidly changing and divided kingdom, his passionate commitment to time-honoured principles of government would, ironically, prove his undoing, as England edged unconsciously towards a crossroads and the shadow of the Thirty Years War descended upon Europe.

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