Author Topic: Emperor: A New Life of Charles V  (Read 128 times)

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Emperor: A New Life of Charles V
« on: June 13, 2019, 07:30:44 PM »
Emperor: A New Life of Charles V

Drawing on vital new evidence, a top historian dramatically reinterprets the ruler of the world's first transatlantic empire The life of Emperor Charles V (1500-1558), ruler of Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, and much of Italy and Central and South America, has long intrigued biographers. But the elusive nature of the man (despite an abundance of documentation), his relentless travel and the control of his own image, together with the complexity of governing the world's first transatlantic empire, complicate the task. Geoffrey Parker, one of the world's leading historians of early modern Europe, has examined the surviving written sources in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Latin, and Spanish, as well as visual and material evidence. He explores the crucial decisions that created and preserved this vast empire, analyzes Charles's achievements within the context of both personal and structural factors, and scrutinizes the intimate details of the ruler's life for clues to his character and inclinations. The result is a unique biography that interrogates every dimension of Charles's reign and views the world through the emperor's own eyes.


"A remarkable book, a panorama full of astounding and memorable details, and a gripping read. No other living scholar could have organised and analysed the vast and dizzying array of source materials. Parker is both psychologically astute and sets Charles in the huge canvas against which he operated, always presenting the diplomatic, religious, structural and systemic contexts of the decisions he had to make. A monumental achievement."--Lyndal Roper, author of Martin Luther

"This is a splendid book. It's well-written, engaging the reader, even while marshalling to good use a truly impressive erudition... [T]his is the only book I know that stands comparison with Brandi in that respect, and Parker covers a lot more ground."--James D. Tracy, author of Emperor Charles V

"Emperor leaves me in awe. It is an unprecedentedly thorough imperial, and indeed, global, biography. The book marshals a breath-taking quantity of evidence, while paying meticulous attention to its quality. Brilliant."--Bethany Aram, author of Juana the Mad, professor of modern history at Pablo de Olavide University, Spain, and principal investigator of the interdisciplinary project An Artery of Empire: Conquest, Commerce, Crisis, Culture and the Panamanian Junction 1513-1671

"No one has understood the Habsburg emperor better than the master historian Geoffrey Parker. In this meticulously- researched and brilliantly- narrated account, Parker strikes a perfect balance, highlighting Charles's strengths as a warrior-king together with his personal weaknesses as a family man. A tour-de-force."--Richard L. Kagan, author of Clio and the Crown

About the Author

Geoffrey Parker is Andreas Dorpalen Professor of History and associate of the Mershon Center at Ohio State University, and Profesor Afiliado, Division de Historia, Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas, Mexico City. Among his many awards is the 2012 Heineken Prize for History. Previous books include Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century.

Quote from: Dr. Barry Clayton
Professor Parker has written a book about Charles V, ruler of Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, half of Italy , and most of central and South America. Hundreds of biographies have been written in many languages. Charles wrote his own autobiography in 1550. His biographers complain of too few archives or too many. It is true that the records are massive. By the time he died he had signed over 100,000 documents. Libraries all over the world contain his output as he travelled all over Europe. For example he spent over half his life in the Low Countries, and some 6,500 days in Spain.

He was painted, written about, sculpt, and musicians composed works to celebrate his battlefield successes. Coins and medals had his image on them. Palaces and works of art were commissioned by Charles V. He suffered from gout and died from malaria. Parker sets out to illuminate three key issues: how Charlestook the many decisions that created and preserved and expanded his vast empire; whether his policy failures were structural or personal, and what was it like to be Charles V?

The book presents Charles's life in four sections: young Charles from 1500 to 1517; from 1517 to 1531; from 1532 to 1548 , and from 1548 to 1558. There are four appendices about his memoirs, his last instructions, his daughter Isabel, plus sources, a note on dates, notes, maps,, plates and a short bibliography. One chapter is thematic, dealing with the Americas. He was the first European to rule parts of these lands.

Charles was elected emperor in 1517 of the Holy Roman Empire. This comprised most of what is today Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, parts of France and Poland. These were in reality independent and semi-independent political communities over which Charles exercised delegatory power. It was not Holy, Roman or an Empire, according to Voltaire.

Parker reveals Charles's lies about the attack on Rome and capture of Pope Clement in 1527 and the murder of two French diplomats in 1541. He could and did behave very badly in private. He abused his mother Queen Joanna, keeping her under guard until her death in 1555. Charles helped himself to her jewels, silver, vestments, and tapestries while she was alive.

It is clear that the Emperor was an enigma. He was reviled by some and loved by others. Parker examines why. Despite the power he wielded Charles was not a very interesting person. His sole passion was hunting. He seems to have little real interest in art or intellectual pursuits.

This is a vast and splendid account of some 700 pages. It will deter other intending biographers of Charles for many years to come.

Read and buy the e-Book here.