CARLOS, THE KING WHO WOULD NOT DIE by John Langdon-Davies

CARLOS, THE KING WHO WOULD NOT DIE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Everyone is familiar with the parable of the kingdom lost for the want of a horse-shoe nail; nowhere will its meaning find a more pertinent application than with the reign of Carlos II of Spain: for want of the ability to produce an heir, this discrepit half-wit not only brought a mighty dynasty lurching to a swift and ignoble conclusion, but also plunged all of Europe into a deadly power-struggle from which it emerged in essentially the same ominous shape it was to remain until the 20th century. Mr. Langdon-Davies begins his morbid and entangled but always fascinating tale as far back as Ferdinand and Isabella, and demonstrates step by step how, through politically expedient inbreeding, the ""hereditary poison"" was concentrated in the Hapsburg alembic until; with Carlos, a king was distilled whose ""whole life was a dying""-- but a dying which unfortunately was delayed until the worst possible moment for Spain and for all Europe. It is a story of decadence, puerile fantasy, and superstition; Mr. Langdon-Davies tells it with a verve and an often astonishing command of intimate detail which cannot help but make for superior entertainment and instruction.

Pub Date: Aug. 23rd, 1963
Publisher: Prentice-Hall