The Awful End of Prince William the Silent: The First Assassination of a Head of State with a Handgun (Making History) Hardcover February 7, 2006

Hardcover, no date


harper; 1st edition (february 7, 2006) (no date)


"In The Awful End of Prince William the Silent, Lisa Jardine explores the historical ramifications of the first assassination of a head of state with a hand-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 Habsburg empire. But, as Jardine illustrates, its implications for those in positions of power were even more far-reaching, as the assassination brutally and irrevocably heralded the arrival of a lethal new threat to the security of nations: a weapon 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, being the subject of assassination plots herself, thrown into panic; in the aftermath of William's murder, 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 that would take in those of Abraham Lincoln in 1865 and Archduke Ferdinand in 1914, and is all too relevant even today."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member pnorman4345
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 contributions in the dark. William's military efforts ended in failure .Yet the rebels were able to
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keep Holland and Zeeland as a stable homeland. How? No answer at all. What was the role of Calvinism in all this. She does not say. She does not mention that the Dutch themselves played a significant role in the rebellion but this is barely mentioned.
Over and over again she talks about how a pistol can be hidden. I got that the first time.
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LibraryThing member jcbrunner
An entertaining appetizer about a shot heard across a continent. Lisa Jardine, as always, does not disappoint and introduces her readers to the time of the Dutch revolution, its leaders and opponents and the new weapons technology. Given the limited number of pages, the book can only glance at
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William's life and the topic of renaissance political assassinations. She devotes two out of six chapters to the English repercussions - too much for my taste. The space might have been better used to discuss other political assassinations from John the Fearless to Henry I, Duke of Guise, to Wallenstein. Instead she compares the murder of William to today's terrorist attacks, which is a major category error both in motive, weapon and target. William the Silent was killed by a Catholic infiltrator (like an original Assassin) most probably for monetary reasons. Ultimately, the assassination was counterproductive, as William was, on the verge of losing influence, turned into a martyr and topic of the Dutch anthem "Het Wilhelmus".
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LibraryThing member fist
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 precision (many a reader will walk away thinking Antwerp is a Dutch city). The perspective is unabashedly
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Anglo-centric, and it did feel odd to be informed almost exclusively about the repercussions on English politics of a fact that impacted millions of people on the Continent. Generally it felt like a university paper that was turned into a short book because it couldn't decide whether it was going to have the assassination of William of Orange as its topic, or the invention, mechanics and impact of modern handguns.
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