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History, Stewart and Canmore Dynasty
John Donald
Publication Date
09 September 2014
Paperback (also available as an eBook)
Available for Sale
Birlinn Ltd
8pp b/w plates

James VII

Duke and King of Scots, 1633–1701
by Alastair J. Mann - Find out more about the author


eBook also available from the iBookstore

James VII and II is one of the least studied monarchs of Scotland, and has previously mostly been studied from an English perspective or as the muddled victim of the revolution of 1688/9 which delivered for Britain much-vaunted political emancipation.

This book provides the first complete portrait of James as a Stewart prince of Scotland, as duke of Albany and King of Scots. It re-evaluates the traditional views of James as a Catholic extremist and absolutist who failed through incompetence, and challenges preconceptions based on strong views of his failings, both in popular belief and serious history.

Investigating the personality and motives of the man, this biography assesses James as commander, as Christian and as king, but also as family man and Restoration libertine – a prince of his time. Painting a picture of James from cradle to grave, from childhood to resigned exile, it brings him to life within his Scottish context and as a member of the royal line of Scotland. The journey from dashing young cavalry commander to pious prince in exile appears oddly incongruous given the political and personal trials that lay between. That journey was much more of Scotland than previous studies have suggested – indeed, James was in many ways the last King of Scots.

Alastair J. Mann gained a degree from Napier University, Edinburgh. He worked in publishing for twelve years before undertaking a further degree and PhD at the University of Stirling, where he currently works as a lecturer in Scottish History. He is author of The Scottish Book Trade 1500 to 1720 (Saltire Research Book of the Year 2001), co-editor of Parliament and Politics in Scotland, 1567–1 707 and co-editor of The History of the Book in Scotland, Volume 1: Medieval to 1707. He is also co-editor of the Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707.

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