The second, and better, biography of the Bonnie Prince to appear in a year (cf. Susan Maclean Kybett's Bonnie Prince Charlie)--this one by the author of Our Tempestuous Day: A History of Regency England (1986), Bloody Mary (1978), and other histories. Where the Kybett volume often got bogged down in heavy scholarly detail, Erickson fluidly chronicles the life of the Great Pretender. The author evokes the drive of the last Stuart heir to recapture his father's crown (""Charles' capacity for singleness of purpose was remarkable. Apparently, he had no vices to distract him""). Despite a ragtag assemblage of Highlanders that formed the backbone of Charles' support, by the age of 24, his military campaign through the English heartland had brought London within his grasp. But then came the massacre of Charles' forces at Culloden; Erickson follows the embittered young man as he was tormented by the memory of his lost men, yet dedicated to his own hopeless cause. With feeling, the author relates Charles' later years, as he ""sank deeper into his lethargy and isolation."" And what Charles lacked in vices in his single-minded younger years, he more than made up for near the end, yielding to the bottle and corpulence. A very accessible treatment of a popular--and heavily covered--life.