John R. Yamamoto-Wilson is a retired Professor of the Department of English Literature at Sophia University, Tokyo. He has written extensively on issues relating to early modern translations of Catholic literature and the continuance of Catholic culture in post-Reformation England.
This Broadview edition’s critical introduction discusses the publication history and both seventeenth-century and current debates regarding the work and its authorship, while the appendices provide a generous selection of contemporary responses to Eikon Basilike and accounts of the king’s trial and scaffold speech.
Peter Wilson's book is a major work, the first new history of the war in a generation, and a fascinating, brilliantly written attempt to explain a compelling series of events. Wilson's great strength is in allowing the reader to understand the tragedy of mixed motives that allowed rulers to gamble their countries' future with such horrifying results. The principal actors in the drama (Wallenstein, Ferdinand II, Gustavus Adolphus, Richelieu) are all here, but so is the experience of the ordinary soldiers and civilians, desperately trying to stay alive under impossible circumstances.
The extraordinary narrative of the war haunted Europe's leaders into the twentieth century (comparisons with 1939-45 were entirely appropriate) and modern Europe cannot be understood without reference to this dreadful conflict.