The Murder of King James I

Alastair Bellany and Thomas Cogswell

View Inside Price: $65.00


November 24, 2015
656 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
97 b/w & 4 pp. col.
ISBN: 9780300214963
Cloth

A year after the death of James I in 1625, a sensational pamphlet accused the Duke of Buckingham of murdering the king. It was an allegation that would haunt English politics for nearly forty years. In this exhaustively researched new book, two leading scholars of the era, Alastair Bellany and Thomas Cogswell, uncover the untold story of how a secret history of courtly poisoning shaped and reflected the political conflicts that would eventually plunge the British Isles into civil war and revolution. Illuminating many hitherto obscure aspects of early modern political culture, this eagerly anticipated work is both a fascinating story of political intrigue and a major exploration of the forces that destroyed the Stuart monarchy.

Alastair Bellany is associate professor of history at Rutgers University and the author of The Politics of Court Scandal in Early Modern England. Thomas Cogswell is professor of history at UC Riverside. His books include The Blessed Revolution: English Politics and the Coming of War, 1621-1624.

“It is very well written, thoroughly explained and convincingly argued, and free of academic jargon.. Personally I found it an immersive experience, at some points feeling that I knew the players and politics of the period of the “murder” better than I do the contemporary political scene.”—FictionFan

“It is very well written, thoroughly explained and convincingly argued, and free of academic jargon.. Personally I found it an immersive experience, at some points feeling that I knew the players and politics of the period of the “murder” better than I do the contemporary political scene.”—FictionFan

“[An] absorbing and meticulously researched study”—Marcus Nevitt, Spectator

“Cogswell and Bellany are both accomplished story-tellers, and their collaboration is much more than the sum of their considerable parts… This is an astonishing detective work. It is also a magnificent piece of political reconstruction, locating each twist and turn in the plot within a fully international context… This book does more than anything published in the last 20 years to explain why Charles I never had a chance and why there was a civil war.”—John Morril, History Today

“[The authors] display sleuthing skills as exceptional as any fictional detective’s, having tracked down every reprint and manuscript copy of Eglisham’s original text… the richness of the material unearthed is compelling. By the end of this exhaustively researched and elegantly written study, Bellany and Cogswell have made the strongest case imaginable for their thesis”– Anne Somerset, Literary Review

“The Murder of King James I is a work of imposing learning, imaginatively and adroitly organised, by two fine scholars who identify an unjustly neglected subject and bring it enjoyably to life.”—Blair Worden, London Review of Books

“Bellany and Cogswell observe, is not whether certain claims are true but why contemporaries believed them to be true and what the consequences of their belief were.”—Debora Shuger, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"Bellany and Cogswell have produced an important book that repays close reading--and careful thought about the implications of the authors’ findings... it transforms our understanding of the early Stuart period.”—Tim Harris, H-Albion

“Brilliant….an original and fascinating contribution to early modern studies... Told with skill by Bellany and Cogswell, it illuminates the perilous path of politics and paranoia that linked high statecraft and gutter gossip from the 1620s to the 1660s."—David Cressy, Journal of British Studies

“The book is structured like a thriller, and even those familiar with the period will find themselves wanting to know what happens next… The clarity and wit of Bellany and Cogswell’s writing, and their inherently interesting subject,  mean that The Murder of King James I should appeal to, and deserves to find, a wide audience.”—Dr. David Coast, Reviews in History

“Despite its bulk it makes for easy reading: it is exciting and accessibly written and introduces personalities, places and topics with care… Bellany and Cogswell have produced an excellent example of the genre, and one which illustrates its potential superbly for a better understanding of political history.”—Ronald Hutton, Times Literary Supplement

“[T]his is a book with an impressively extensive research base. . . . It offers a story that will be of interest to many scholars of early modern print and politics.”—K.J. Kesselring, CJH/ACH

“Bellany and Cogswell have illuminated a key episode: their scholarly and readable analysis provides a substantial addition to our understanding of these crucial and complex years.”—Pauline Croft, Renaissance Quarterly

"Bellany and Cogswell have written an astonishingly good book. If you read anything about the history of seventeenth century England this year, let this be your starting place."—Victor Stater, Journal of Modern History