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King James II by John Callow

King James II by John Callow

This revisionist account of a controversial figure provides a reappraisal of James' career prior to 1685, examining his roles as soldier, administrator, imperialist and entrepreneur. It shows how he held many of the most important positions in the kingdom, including Governor and Proprietor of New York, Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company and Viceroy of Scotland, and exercised a degree of power and patronage second only to that of the King. However, James' failure to harness political support, or to present an acceptable public image to his brother's subjects, both examined here, effectively destabilized English politics for a generation. John Callow shows how James' obstinacy and authoritarianism truly rendered him, as one contemporary pamphleteer had it, an impolitic prince. Based on archive material, this study dissolves the traditional contrast which has been seen between James as Duke and James as King, demonstrating that the weaknesses of the latter were already manifest in the former.

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