A COFFIN FOR KING CHARLES by C. V. Wedgwood

A COFFIN FOR KING CHARLES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

(YA) Subtitled The Trial and Execution of King Charles I, this vividly written book by one of England's most distinguished historians gives a moving but never sentimental account of the last ten fateful weeks of Charles' life, and of his death on the scaffold. Charles held prisoner by Cromwell's army, had for two and a half years refused to yield to their demands that he abdicate. Therefore he had to die and the army moved to kill him, not by secret murder but in public, after the ""hurried and ill-considered expedient"" of an open trial. On Nov. 20, 1648, the army and Cromwell demanded of Parliament that Charles be tried before a High Court of Justice on the capital charge of High Treason. Convicted after a badly-conducted trial, he was beheaded on Jan. 30, 1649, in front of his own palace in Whitehall, an act which shocked all Europe. At his trial Charles, a small, gray man with no illusions as to its outcome, dominated the Court, confounding it by his dignity and his refusal to answer the charges brought against him, and bringing protests against his sentence even from his enemies. This fine book describes the trial and execution with the lucidity of an eye witness, and tells also of the political dissensions and the state of England at the time. It will appeal to students of the English Civil War and the Cromwellian era; readers with no basic knowledge of its historical background may find it confusing.

Publisher: Macmillan