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Publisher's Summary

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' 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' reign and views the world through the emperor's own eyes.

©2019 Geoffrey Parker (P)2019 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"This is a splendid book. It's well-written, engaging the reader, even while marshalling to good use a truly impressive erudition...." (James D. Tracy, author of Emperor Charles V)

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Amazing.

The amount of study involved in the making of this book was significant. I can't believe how long this book is. Time just flew by the book is so interesting. Narration was also great.

13 people found this helpful

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Interesting story about a historical person

I liked the book. It was very detailed. I did find it a little repetitious but still enjoyed it.

2 people found this helpful

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best read on Charles V

best narrated book on Charles v. overall excellent historical background on family and the habsburgs.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Cool

It's really good but it needs some pictures to make the story more interesting and fun...😉

5 people found this helpful

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Excellent biography

I really appreciate the style by Parker. He brings Charles to life with great skill. Narration is also flawless.

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Excellent Content and Narration

Narration: Nigel Patterson is great, does a great job on emphasis and story development

The content is great for the historical reader. Germany, Spain, Reformation, Netherlands, France, England, Papacy, and Ottoman politics in depth. You almost can't say you know the Renaissance period without knowing this story.

You also great context on the importance and management of the New World for Charles V. It was actually quite the side show. You get awesome clarity on the age of exploration and how it unfolded within the framework of the dynastic struggle in Europe.

You will probably enter the book with England, France, Spain, and Austria as the major players in Europe.. But what you leave understanding is that (to the leaders) the most important thing was House of Tutor, House of Hapsburg, House of Trastamara, and House of Valois. The players were not religious or national zealots. They were political and dynastic tigers, some extremely slimy. France was selling out Christians to Ottoman allies. Even the interpretation of Luther was wrapped in Dynastic colors as much as religious.

Great book

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  • JJ
  • 09-01-20

Needed some editing

Bit too long and could have done with tighter editing. But excellent in depth look at the life and times of a remarkable man

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  • Mr
  • 05-28-20

Outstanding

Well written and researched, academic and readable and never loses sight of the aim of biography. First class narration too, particularly the latin and spanish!

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  • Ewan
  • 02-15-21

I quite liked it

It's a bit slow to get going if you're here for the geopolitical and dynastic thrills and spills, but after a good few hours going through Charles' half-interesting and occasionally somewhat hard to follow childhood and early interactions with councillors, the man himself starts to emerge on a supremely demanding world stage and it's a fascinating page turner from then on. Deep dives into Charles' wars with France, the Pope, his own subjects and Lutheranism. Less detailed but robust looks at his relationships with his family,, domestic politics, England and interactions with the Ottoman Empire and his American colonies. Lots of astute commentary on Charles as a human being and the logistics of running a global empire in the 16th century. Narrator's does a great job with both narrative and reflective sequences and handles French + Spanish well, if perhaps a tad more hesitant with German and Dutch. Easy recommend if you've got a decent whack of time and want to better understand Renaissance Europe, or just a good historical story.

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  • lone
  • 03-04-20

Emperor

Very interesting!! Have read many books where Charles V is a part of the story but until listening to this have never known much about the man behind the title. Well written and well read!!!! And now I’m about to start listening to the book about his son Philip II by the same author.