THE SECRET DIPLOMACY OF THE HABSBURGS, 1598-1625 by Charles Howard arter


Email this review


An Ainsley Award winner for 1962, this book by a professor of History at ulane University gives a carefully documented account of the methods of intrigue and espionage employed by the Spanish Habsburgs at the court of King James I of England and in other parts of Europe. Writing with wit and knowledge, the author describes the efforts of the Catholic Habsburgs to control Europe by controlling King James and his policies. James, who lived in a ""vortex of violence, hostility and general mistreatment"" was, contrary to popular belief, ""not a bad king"" and one who had learned the art of survival, a necessary knowledge, for Habsburg methods were not subtle. They had tried to kill Elizabeth I and had killed Henry IV of France; they were behind the Gunpowder Plot to blow up James and his Parliament; their network of intrigue was headed by the Spanish Ambassador, Count Gondomar, 1615-1629, who with his master spy an Male makes James Bond seem an amateur. That the Habsburgs did not entirely succeed was due in part to the wily king, whom they never really deluded, and in part to the incredible welter of espionage and counter-espionage in the court. Too complicated for the average reader, this exceptionally well-written book will appeal to students and historians of 17th-century European and English politics, and is a must for all comprehensive libraries of the subject.

Publisher: Columbia University Press