A review of Imprudent King: A New Life of Philip II, by Geoffrey Parker. This is a masterpiece of historical biography
Hugh Thomas for Spectator.co.uk–Geoffrey Parker is a product of Nottingham and Christ’s College Cambridge, and I think was once a pupil of the unforgettable Jack Plumb. He went to Urbana-Champaign (Illinois) in 1986, Yale in 1995 and since 1997 has been at Ohio State University. Against that improbable background he established himself years ago as the world’s outstanding historian of Philip II, his court, his problems and tragedies, having devoted much attention to the Dutch revolt.
His masterly biography of King Philip appeared first in 1978. Now, after publishing several authorative revisions, he has written a new biography of the same monarch. The book is justified by the discovery of several thousand invaluable original papers relating to the king in the personal collection of the railway magnate Archer Huntingdon, in the Hispanic Society of America, which he founded in Upper New York City. Huntingdon was a great Maecenas and his work as such has now been shown by Parker, and some colleagues, as extending far beyond his death.
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