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My opinion of Charles II wavered from a long-held "what a dickhead" to "what a nuanced dickhead. I for one am glad you are stopping. Unglow shows how monarchical and parliamentarian interests were not always aligned and how Charles II used what prerogatives he had and tried to expand them. While attention was focussed on his sexual escapades and his spending, and the gossip in the coffee houses and on the streets was about this, his power remained mostly in tact. While the Restoration is still not one of my favourite periods, Jenny Uglow lured me in, guided me well and made it accessible in a way no other has. It's a single owner watch and appears to be a well used and quite dirty. Not just focusing on the monarch, Uglow also goes into the depths of his closest advisors and their own personal turmoil.

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She had her full share of the family charm, much of which is apparent in the only English letter she ever wrote, which is reproduced in the book. Her early and tragic death, shortly after the treaty was ratified, is the note upon which Uglow closes. And that is an appropriate place for the author to end her tale. Charles has entered into a treaty with France which provides him with much needed funds and reduces his dependency on Parliament for funds.

James is his only living sibling and a Catholic, whom he feels honor-bound to protect. He has spent ten years trying to live constructively with Parliament and his people, and to fulfill the promises of toleration and security he made before the Restoration--all largely to no avail. Now, ten years later, with his secret funds, he will be a different and more withdrawn kind of king. This is an ambitious history, but it amply repays the effort of reading it.

Jan 21, Louise rated it it was amazing Shelves: Jenny Unglow tells the story of the first 10 years of England's return to monarchy after the Cromwell regime. These years were as improbable as the Restoration monarch himself. Unglow shows how monarchical and parliamentarian interests were not always aligned and how Charles II used what prerogatives he had and tried to expand them.

He charts his own course, for instance, to decrease his reliance on Parliament for funds, he makes a treaty with is cousin, the King of France, that brings him a pens Jenny Unglow tells the story of the first 10 years of England's return to monarchy after the Cromwell regime. He charts his own course, for instance, to decrease his reliance on Parliament for funds, he makes a treaty with is cousin, the King of France, that brings him a pension.

The book shows the public, private and at all times cryptic life of Charles. While his reign had mixed success, he managed to hold the monarchy for over 25 years, something neither his brother nor father could do. The "Gambling Man" theme is carried out by dividing the book into the 4 suits of a deck of cards. I didn't understand the reasoning behind the topics selected for these groupings, nor did I understand the gambling metaphor I think Charles was pushing the envelope more than gambling but this didn't interfere with my enjoyment of the book, nor in my appreciation for the skill of the author.

There is a lot going on in these years. Just the wrangling over property - the connivance used to switch land and titles from republicans back to monarchists - would be sufficient to shake up the status quo in fortune, status and power for a generation. Results were not always predictable or fair. Some Cromwell supporters managed to keep their land and power, not all monarchists, no matter how loyal or brave, re-obtained their former possessions.

Some who got their lands back stayed deeply in debt for the re-acquisition costs. On top of the changes in fortune there were new religious laws.

One law stripped "non-conforming" clergymen of their parishes and required their removal to a minimum of 5 miles outside their former parishes. This reduced thousands to poverty and required countless parishioners to adopt new beliefs and modes of worship. Relief came in the form of new and exciting drama and new thinking and for Charles, in acquiring mistresses and children.

The whole thing is dizzying. Unglow does an excellent job of bringing this all into one readable story. She does an excellent job of presenting scholarship in a way that non-academics can learn from and enjoy.

Apr 10, C. Restoration monarch Charles II I had long procrastinated reading on, until this splendid book appeared before me. At once admiring this elegant product, its cover art and back page snippets, I was compelled to take it home. This great grandson of the executed Mary, Queen of Scots and son of the executed Charles I was invited to take the throne following the Interregnum.

Known as the Merry Monarch, his court was a den of hedonism, his subjects loving his looseness after the puritan Cromwellian prot Restoration monarch Charles II I had long procrastinated reading on, until this splendid book appeared before me. Known as the Merry Monarch, his court was a den of hedonism, his subjects loving his looseness after the puritan Cromwellian protectorate, or de facto Republic.

He sired a dozen acknowledged bastards by seven mistresses. Charles II was not merely the most infamous royal sleazebag of them all, he was a respected patron of the arts and sciences and had his work cut out in restoring England's shaky monarchy and seeing his kingdom through several great disasters.

His watch saw London's Great Plague eliminate approximately , people, thinning the capital's population. Also the Great Fire of London, famously ignited in Pudding Lane and destroying over 13, houses, odd churches and old St. Charles also reinstated the theatre, initiating two acting companies and legalising acting for women, after a long puritanical spell wherein theatre was considered frivolous and banned altogether.

Leaving no legitimate heir, he was succeeded by his brother, the less popular, more zealously Catholic James II, whose short reign reached an abrupt halt when he was overthrown for producing a Catholic heir and suspected of aiming to steer then staunchly Protestant England religiously backwards. I enjoyed studying this lovable, decadent, cultured rogue, whose mistresses included legendary orange-seller-turned-actress Nell Gwynn and notorious Barbara Villiers who bore five of his royal bastards.

While the Restoration is still not one of my favourite periods, Jenny Uglow lured me in, guided me well and made it accessible in a way no other has. Jan 15, Gumble's Yard rated it liked it Shelves: Although a Republican by background Uglow clearly relates to her subject and portrays him sympathetically: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.

To view it, click here. After The Great Fire of London in , rebuilding work began with a vengeance. But elsewhere, all is not well and Charles is about to take the biggest gamble of his life. View all 5 comments.

Feb 03, Morag rated it really liked it. Charles II was just 30 when he crossed the Channel in and the Restoration decade post Cromwell's death began. Jenny Uglow's research and story telling is impeccable. There are a lot of characters to keep track of but it's a ripper of a read. Nov 05, 4triplezed rated it really liked it Shelves: After the austere and puritanical times of Cromwell the Restoration was a time of decadence in comparison.

This book gives a good account of the changes with specific emphasis on the early part of Charles reign. Charles II is, in many ways, both too easy and too difficult a subject for a biography. He is one of those great defining characters of the British monarchy - like Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and Victoria - whose reigns stand out in our collective memory for one or two well-known events, and about whom most people think they know plenty.

The book is indeed a biography of the Merry Monarch, but it focuses on the crucial first ten years of Charles II is, in many ways, both too easy and too difficult a subject for a biography. This book was just way too detailed for me. Some short passages such as on the Dutch war were reasonably pleasant, but for the majority I was too bored with the overkill on information, especially culturally so many plays, actors, books etc.

Some short passages such as on the Dutch war were reasonably pleasant, but for the majority I was too bored with the overkill on information, especially culturally so many plays, actors, books etc.. I admire the sheer amount of information and I feel I did learn something about the period, but unfortunately for me overall it was too dense. This dude had a lot of unfortunate events happen under his reign; the Great Plaque of London in and the Great Fire of London the following year.

Admittedly he and his rich friends simply left London to rot during the plague, which was perhaps not the most kingly action, but there are sources in the book that describe how Charles was actively involved in trying to control the fire, which would eventually burn down most of the Palace of Whitehall and St Paul's Cathedral.

Uglow's use of source This dude had a lot of unfortunate events happen under his reign; the Great Plaque of London in and the Great Fire of London the following year. Uglow's use of sources is phenomenal - it really feels like a legitimate biography.

It is also not biased; I felt very much as though I was allowed to form my own opinion of Charles II. Unfortunately it is also a tad boring All in all, an incredibly well-researched and well-written biography, but lacking in excitement.

Nov 29, Sue rated it really liked it. I thoroughly enjoyed this informative and easy to read hstory of the ten years following the resoration to the throne of Charles II. Jenny Unglow provides a compelling story not only of the king and his court but also the social history of the ordinary and extraordinary people of the Restoration.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in the Stuarts. A well-thought-out book, enjoyable read. May 13, Cate rated it liked it Shelves: Mar 26, Bookthesp1 rated it it was amazing Shelves: A Gambling man is a book that deals with the first 10 years of the reign of Charles 11 and covers the crucial period when the Restoration Settlement was introduced and bedded in with the machinations at court as Charles 11 had to use all his guile and experience to survive haughty courtiers, naughty mistresses and a populace that were yet to be convinced about the new king.

Similarly, it takes a European perspective, particularly focusing on France to show how charles had to please a foreign aud A Gambling man is a book that deals with the first 10 years of the reign of Charles 11 and covers the crucial period when the Restoration Settlement was introduced and bedded in with the machinations at court as Charles 11 had to use all his guile and experience to survive haughty courtiers, naughty mistresses and a populace that were yet to be convinced about the new king.

Similarly, it takes a European perspective, particularly focusing on France to show how charles had to please a foreign audience as well.

Uglow is incapable of writing a bad book and her attention to detail- in particular- the milieu of court and courtiers- is both telling and atmospheric. The gambling metaphor itself is less satisfactory. Charles reigned for 25 years and if he gambled with political or religious options the results could have been catastrophic. Uglow sees him constantly beset by issues and problems both domestic and foreign. The religious settlement evaded his own wishes for toleration and management of parliament seemed unpredictable and frustrating for a king whose Stuart roots erred towards absolutism.

Uglows narrative does see short termism as the rule of thumb- Charles hardly got through one crisis before another engulfed him. Uglow doesn't always explain why Charles seemed to be constantly wrong-footed by parliament but does give excellent pen portraits of ministers and advisors- notably Buckingham and other members of the 'Cabal'.

His mistresses are dealt with in a non judgemental way despite the fact contemporaries constantly judged him and Uglow chimes in with some scholarship over the last years that sees the kings increasingly political role as a product of the more confident parliamentary scene- JR Jones in his book Charles Royal politician also sees Charles having to adopt a constant short term reactive agenda.

He strikes a more heroic figure in crisis such as the fire, where he literally helped to douse the flames and Uglow is good at using theatre as a barometer of the political scene- plays literally played out and commented on courtly intrigue.

Overall Charles is tainted historically by The secret Treaty of Dover where a French pay off in return for his suposed announcement of a conversion to catholicism epitomised for some his dissembling nature and life in thrall to the mighty Louis of France. Uglow is sympathetic to Charles and sees him as playing a double game with Louis.

A Gambling Man is certainly racy, readable and informative about all aspects of the Restoration regime. It is not a masterpiece like Claire Tomalin's biography of Pepys but has a narrative that is sometimes surprising and full of anecdotes and memorable information.

It is no gamble. Reading it is a very safe bet. Sep 12, John Kentigern rated it really liked it. It cover the period from to - the first ten years of Charles II's reign, after the restoration. I don't know a lot about the period I mainly picked it up for context - I was interested in the history of England in the years just prior to the creation of the Bank of England , so I'm in no position to judge how revisionist or otherwise it is.

But it's a good portrait of Charles II as an individual. He comes across as a relatively sympathetic for a monarch of that time , I enjoyed this. Looks to be a step dial, as far as I can tell. The pics are quite poor, but my experience is that they are usually better in real life, so I hope that holds true. The case looks a bit polished, but at the price point I think worth the gamble.

Hope your gamble pays off and it does, great find! Posts 8, Likes 19, At twice your cost! Posts 1, Likes 3, I'd be confident that you'll get the watch. If they sounded cordial and friendly they likely are.

Bad pics like that beget good watches. These are the thrilling finds we all hope for. Posts 5, Likes 16, Not a step dial as some have suggested, but it looks to be a nice late-'70s to '80s example.

You must log in or sign up to reply here. Your name or email address: Do you already have an account? Normally not a gambling man, but I bet the farm on the [10] Posted: Mar 23, 9: My bookie is going to hate seeing me today. I see what you did there Normally not a gambling man, but I bet the farm on the [4] Posted: The whole forty acres [3] Posted: How'll you stay warm in the winter? My bet was a lock.


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