• The White King

  • Charles I, Traitor, Murderer, Martyr
  • By: Leanda de Lisle
  • Narrated by: Graeme Malcolm
  • Length: 10 hrs and 43 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (120 ratings)

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The White King  By  cover art

The White King

By: Leanda de Lisle
Narrated by: Graeme Malcolm
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Publisher's summary

From the New York Times best-selling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the tragic story of Charles I, his warrior queen, Britain's civil wars, and the trial for his life.

Less than 40 years after England's golden age under Elizabeth I, the country was at war with itself. Split between loyalty to the Crown or to Parliament, war raged on English soil. The English Civil War would set family against family, friend against friend, and its casualties were immense - a greater proportion of the population died than in World War I.

At the head of the disintegrating kingdom was King Charles I. In this vivid portrait - informed by previously unseen manuscripts, including royal correspondence between the king and his queen - Leanda de Lisle depicts a man who was principled and brave but fatally blinkered.

Charles never understood his own subjects or court intrigue. At the heart of the drama were the Janus-faced cousins who befriended and betrayed him - Henry Holland, his peacocking servant whose brother, the New England colonialist Robert Warwick, engineered the king's fall; and Lucy Carlisle, the magnetic "last Boleyn girl" and faithless favorite of Charles' maligned and fearless queen.

The tragedy of Charles I was that he fell not as a consequence of vice or wickedness but of his human flaws and misjudgments. The White King is a story for our times, of populist politicians and religious war, of manipulative media and the reshaping of nations. For Charles it ended on the scaffold, condemned as a traitor and murderer yet lauded also as a martyr, his reign destined to sow the seeds of democracy in Britain and the New World.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2017 Leanda de Lisle (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"Leanda de Lisle uses hitherto unknown manuscripts to offer a sympathetic interpretation of the character of Charles I that is more nuanced than previous treatments thanks partly to a highly original account of his much-maligned queen, Henrietta Maria. The White King interweaves personal, national and international events in a vividly written account of his downfall and eventual execution in 1649." (Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy, professor of history, University of Virginia, and author of The Men Who Lost America)
"De Lisle paints a sympathetic portrait [and] skillfully places Charles's story within the context of religious, international, and domestic political rivalries.... Misogyny, religious prejudice, and prurient propaganda.... This fascinating look at a society in turmoil and the resilient, principled leader who tried to remain true to his religious and dynastic responsibilities will leave readers to determine for themselves the meaning of 'The White King'.... Engrossing." ( Library Journal)
"Charles I has long eluded even the most scholarly of biographers; his personal contradictions, attractive qualities and ludicrous blunders require a writer of rare talent to let us appreciate the long-hidden character of the king." (Andrew Roberts, visiting professor, King's College London, and author of Napoleon: A Life)