The Awful End of Prince William the Silent: The First Assassination of a Head of State with a Handgun

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Harper Perennial, 2006 - Assassination - 175 pages

A brilliantly detailed and gripping account of the assassination in 1584 of Prince William of Orange, and the shockwaves it sent through an age.

The illustrious 'Making History Series', edited by Lisa Jardine and Amanda Foreman, explores an eclectic mix of history's tipping points. In 'The Awful End of Prince William the Silent', series editor Lisa Jardine explores the historical ramifications of just such an instance, the first assassination of a head of state with a hand-held gun. The shooting of Prince William of Orange in the hallway of his Delft residence in July 1584 by a French Catholic - the second attempt on his life - had immediate political consequences: it was a serious setback for the Protestant cause in the Netherlands, as its forces fought for independence from the Catholic rule of the Hapsburg empire. But, as Jardine brilliantly illustrates, its implications for those in positions of power were even more far-reaching, as the assassination heralded the arrival of a lethal new threat to the security of nations - a pistol that could be concealed and used to deadly effect at point-blank range.

Queen Elizabeth I, William's close Protestant ally, was devastated by his death and thrown into panic; in the aftermath of William's death, legislation was enacted in the English parliament making it an offence to bring a pistol anywhere near a royal palace. Elizabeth's terror was not misplaced - as Jardine observes, this assassination was the first in a long and bloody line including those of Abraham Lincoln in 1865 and Archduke Ferdinand in 1914 and is all too relevant today.

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User Review  - fist - LibraryThing

Interesting take on how modern handguns changed politics and head of state security measures. The assassination of William of Orange is described in great detail, though not with the greatest ... Read full review

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User Review  - pnorman4345 - LibraryThing

Cheap at best. No ideas. Nothing. It says that William tried to keep the rebels side unified. What were the conflicts among the rebels. She says almost nothing about this and hence leaves one of his ... Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Lisa Jardine CBE is Director of the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, and Centenary Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary, University of London. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and an Honorary Fellow of King's College, Cambridge and Jesus College, Cambridge. She writes and reviews for all the major UK national newspapers and magazines and for the 'Washington Post', and has presented and appears regularly on arts, history and current affairs programmes for TV and radio. She is a regular writer and presenter of 'A Point of View', on BBC Radio 4. She judged many important literary prizes including the 2000 Orwell Prize and the 2002 Man Booker Prize. She is the author of a number of best-selling general books, including 'Worldly Goods: A New History of the Renaissance', 'Ingenious Pursuits: Building the Scientific Revolution', and biographies of Sir Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke. Lisa Jardine is married to the architect John Hare and has three children.

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