Geoffrey Parker, "Emperor: A New Life of Charles V" (Yale UP, 2019)


Manage episode 243160995 series 2421522
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The Emperor Charles V (1500–1558), ruler of Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, the Netherlands, and much of Italy and Central and South America, has long intrigued many scholars of early modern Europe. 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.

In Emperor: A New Life of Charles V (Yale UP, 2019), Professor Geoffrey Parker, one of the world’s leading historians of the period, 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’s 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’s reign and views the world through the emperor’s own eyes. A worthy successor to Karl Brandi's work of the 20th century. The Financial Times raves that “Parker has produced a masterpiece: an epic, detailed, and vivid life of this complex man and his impossibly large empire.” In short this is a book that any serious scholar of the period as well as the lay educated reader must have in his library.

Charles Coutinho has a doctorate in history from New York University. Where he studied with Tony Judt, Stewart Stehlin and McGeorge Bundy. His Ph. D. dissertation was on Anglo-American relations in the run-up to the Suez Crisis of 1956. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written recently for the Journal of Intelligence History and Chatham House’s International Affairs. It you have a recent title to suggest for a podcast, please send an e-mail to

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