RaveThe Times (UK)In lucid, often mischievous prose, Healey outlines the ideas and events that sent the state into constitutional cartwheels after the death of Elizabeth I in 1603 ... Healey is excellent on the culture wars that made eyes swivel over such issues as sports on Sunday and decorations in church ... His judgments are sound and based on impressive research ... This is a wonderful book, exhaustively researched, vigorously argued and teeming with the furious joy of 17th-century life.
RaveThe GuardianAntonia Fraser’s last history book was about the \'perilous question\' of parliamentary reform in 1832. The King and the Catholics takes on the \'abominable question\' of Catholic emancipation three years earlier. It is also, Fraser writes, \'in one sense, the sequel\' to her seminal study of the gunpowder plot. It deals with religious intolerance, xenophobia, rising populism, \'a people strangely fond of royalty\' (Lord Holland’s observation), and a seemingly intractable Irish problem. It was the great issue of the day, \'mixed up with everything\', one bishop noted, that \'we eat or drink or see or think\' ... Fraser, a convert to Catholicism, as well as a descendant of the Anglo-Irish Protestant Longfords, tells the story with erudition, sprezzatura and a tremendous sense of fun. Every page is shot through with humour and humanity.