The Early Life of James VI
A Long Apprenticeship, 1566–1585
by Steven Reid
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A very fine, original study of the first part (1567–1585) of the reign of King James VI that fills what has been a gaping hole in the scholarship on early modern Scotland. It is the first part of a radical new study that will transform the understanding of James’ reign before the union of the crowns in 1603
Professor Jane Dawson, University of Edinburgh
This book is the only extensive and scholarly account of the first decades of James VI’s life and of the politics of his emergence from minority to adult monarch. Drawing upon wideranging sources – including under-exploited documents – it presents an original, detailed, readable and compelling interpretation of its subject . . . This will be the key reference work on this period for scholars of Jacobean kingship and politics for many years to come
Dr Alexander Courtney, Associate Fellow Royal Historical Society
An intimate and detailed history of young James, the political contexts in which he was brought up, and his character, objectives and practices. No one has written yet about James in such intimate and sustained terms
Dr Anna Groundwater, National Museums Scotland
I am greatly looking forward to Professor Steven Reid's The Early Life of James VI'
Much has been written about James in maturity, but this new book deals with his formative years in Scotland… What a story!
National Trust for Scotland
About the Book
Shortlisted for the Saltire Society Scottish History Book of the Year Award
James VI and I was arguably the most successful ruler of the Stewart Dynasty in Scotland, and the first king of a united Great Britain. His ableness as a monarch, it has been argued, stemmed largely from his Scottish upbringing. This book is the first in-depth scholarly study of those formative years.
It tries to understand exactly when in James' 'long apprenticeship' he seized political power and retraces the incremental steps he took along the way. It also poses new answers to key questions about this process. What relationship did he have with his mother Mary Queen of Scots? Why did he favour his kinsman Esmé Stuart, ultimately Duke of Lennox, to such an extent that it endangered his own throne? And was there a discernible pattern of intent to the alliances he made with the various factions at court between 1578 and 1585? This book also analyses James’ early reign as an important case study of the impact of the Reformation on the monarchy of early modern Europe, and examines the cultural activity at James' early court.
Steven J. Reid has a PhD in history from the University of St Andrews and is a Senior Lecturer in Scottish History at the University of Glasgow. He was the first recipient of the Scottish History Society Postgraduate Prize in Palaeography in 2007 and was a Fulbright Scholar and visiting lecturer in Church History at Yale Divinity School in 2012. His first book, Humanism and Calvinism (2011), won the Hume Brown Senior Prize in Scottish History.
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