Read The Awful End of Prince William the Silent: The First Assassination of a Head of State with a Handgun by Lisa Jardine Online


The assassination of Prince William of Orange by a French Catholic in 1584 had immediate political consequences and a profound effect on the course of history. It was a serious setback for Protestants in the Netherlands, who were struggling for independence from the Catholic rule of the Hapsburg Empire. But the crime's ramifications were even more earth-shattering, for itThe assassination of Prince William of Orange by a French Catholic in 1584 had immediate political consequences and a profound effect on the course of history. It was a serious setback for Protestants in the Netherlands, who were struggling for independence from the Catholic rule of the Hapsburg Empire. But the crime's ramifications were even more earth-shattering, for it heralded the arrival of a new threat to the safety of world leaders and the security of nations: a pistol that could easily be concealed on one's person and employed to lethal effect at point-blank range.In this provocative, fascinating, and enormously engaging work, noted author and historian Lisa Jardine brilliantly recounts the brazen act of religious terrorism that changed everything—and explores its long and bloody legacy, from the murder of Abraham Lincoln in 1865 to the slaying of Archduke Ferdinand in 1914, to the plague of terror and violent zealotry that infects our world today....

Title : The Awful End of Prince William the Silent: The First Assassination of a Head of State with a Handgun
Author :
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ISBN : 9780060838362
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 560 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

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

  • GoldGato
    2018-10-11 14:38

    Prince William of the House of Orange was a man with a price on his head, thanks to Philip II's public proclamation and reward bounty. It was inevitable that he would not live to be an old man, but the way he was killed is the main focus of this very short book on the protagonist who miffed off both the Catholics of Spain and the squabbling Protestants of the Netherlands.William was actually raised in the Habsburg family of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and received a Catholic upbringing. Yet he turned against them when he felt the Dutch Protestants (William himself was born a German) were going to be obliterated by the increasingly violent Spanish. Long story short, the Prince became the leading Protestant figure and his assassination began the eventual road to independence for the Dutch.The lead-up to his murder is very compelling, but I felt the book began to drop off a bit when the dissection of the murder weapon came into play. The author makes an interesting point when she states that the sudden end of knights in armor was actually the result of the invention and successful use of the wheel-lock pistol, which allowed light cavalry to replace heavy cavalry fairly quickly. She also lines up William's death with the future deaths of Lincoln and Archduke Ferdinand, citing the sudden terror for political leaders who would then have to face a hidden weapon that could be carried on one's body.As the title makes clear, this is not a full bio of William of Orange but I still wanted a bit more. Elizabeth I plays a prominent role here although the most fascinating part was the murder of the French Duke of Guise whose murder by handgun led to the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre of 1572. Really the overall message is that religion has played a deadly part in world affairs, up to and including the Twin Towers. Oh, and she also slips in a reference to Tupac Shakur, which makes for a rather different read.Book Season = Autumn (there's something in the air)

  • Converse
    2018-10-08 11:25

    Handguns as assassin's tools & fashion accessories go way back, at least to 1584

  • Ari
    2018-10-03 12:10

    It's a cute little book about an interesting topic, and with a number of striking details. Good reading for history-minded train or airplane passengers.

  • Erik Graff
    2018-10-12 15:27

    This slight, one might say 'incidental', book is part of a series of short histories about supposedly pivotal events in world history. The assassination of William of Orange 1n 1584 was plausibly such, given his importance in the relations between the Low Countries and the Spanish, English and French states at the time. Thus there's a brief history of the relations of 'Holland' with the Hapsburgs, a brief biography of William, a brief history of handguns to that date and a somewhat longer account of related affairs in Elizabeth's England--longer, presumably, because of the book's projected market.

  • Jon(athan) Nakapalau
    2018-10-10 16:10

    The gun arrives as a tool of assassination...and the world is changed forever.

  • Adleen
    2018-10-05 14:29

    So goodreads wants me to note what I learned from this book. I'll get back to you on that, but for the moment all I can think of it:1.) William the Silent--quiet guy or political genius--you decide2.) pistols! the aristocratic phallic replacement since 15983.) the narrative of pistol assassination remains the same as it was in the RenaissanceNote: the only part of this lil tome which I met with serious doubt was the authorial assertion that Philip Sidney was a 'favourite' of Elizabeth's. Not on your life.

  • Melissa
    2018-10-01 10:30

    Last book for my west and the world class. I really enjoyed this one (perhaps the most out of all the ones we read, although the Parthenon was quite good as well). Such an interesting topic and it's always fascinating to see how one act can completely change everything. I would definitely recommend this. An EXTREMELY accessible history book.

  • Megan
    2018-10-14 11:32

    I liked how short this book was, it made for a fast read and it kept my interest. It was interesting learning more about Prince William the Silent, since I really didn't know much about him before this, and can see myself wanting to read more about him now.

  • Kyle
    2018-09-28 15:20

    I read this book some years ago, excellent short study on Prince Williams life and help me understand the foundations of the Netherlands.

  • John Mccullough
    2018-10-17 16:22

    The is a short, straight-forward history of a very confusing period of European history, the principal countries involved being Holland (not yet a country but a series of small duchies and kingdoms), Spain, France and England. Philip II, King of Spain, has put a price on the head of a German Prince, William the Silent, who was made head of a coalition of that Philip thought was a Roman Catholic entity loyal to Spain, but turned out to be Protestant. Treason, in Philip's mind. The reward was 25,000 gold crowns, forgiveness of any past illegal activities and a hereditary title of nobility. A first crack at getting the reward in 1582 resulted in a neck and head wound to William which was painful, but not fatal, except for the perpetrator who was immediately cut down. The second try succeeded in William's death, with the perpetrator caught, tortured and slowly and painfully executed over a period of 4 days. The reason for the success was the recent invention of a handgun that could be preloaded with up to four balls in one charge, hidden in the clothing and fired almost immediately at will. The book reviews the horror inspired in heads of state who could be similarly dispatched by this weapon. Laws were generated regulating the purchase, presence and firing of these weapons (called "days"). In this, the book echoes the horror of today's semi-automatic and occasionally automatic weapons for the general populace as well as heads of state. The book includes 5 appendices containing the specific documents mentioned in the text, a detailed set of notes and a very useable index. The book is well-illustrated with contemporary portraits and a diagram of the pistol mechanism. It is very readable and can be read in less than a day.

  • Rob Lever
    2018-10-13 16:25

    Interesting piece covering the basics of William's assassination, but that is all, the basics. Very little is given to Gerard's past, motives, and execution. Jardine mentions only one prior attempt on William's life (there were more) and possibly up to two more active agents attempting to kill him at time of death. Jardine promises to expound on how the assassination "changed history," but ultimately fails to deliver. Jardine does provide some exposition on advent of the "dag" or the hand pistol. Interesting study with central focus on pistol as symbol of masculinity. Concept not fully developed.

  • Renee
    2018-10-14 16:18

    Like many of Lisa Jardine's book, she packs an awful lot into a rather short book. In this case it is a look at the ramification of William the Silent's assassination by pistol--the first killing of a Head of State with a hand gun. Not only did that assassination cause political problems in the young Republic of Netherlands(the killer was a rabid Catholic the Prince a moderate Protestant), it also caused a series of concerns to ripple outward to other sovereigns as the real threat of hand-guns was understood. A fear that is alive today. This is a short tasty read of a few hours.

  • Peter
    2018-10-10 09:20

    Lisa Jardine is a briiliant historian and this short and provocative books gives tremendous insight into politics, religion, fanaticism and the invention of true terror. The idea that a gun changed the equation of security and safety is truly inspired and the mixing of so many strands of history with the issues of today is deftly handled.

  • Cliff
    2018-10-14 13:17

    Fine overview of Dutch Revolt, in addition to good account of the assassination and use of handgun.

  • Raully
    2018-09-29 09:34

    A very accessible, thought-provoking history of the death of William of Orange. Great tidbits about the birth of a handgun culture. An assignment for my class this fall.

  • Jorie
    2018-10-10 15:17

  • Jorie
    2018-10-20 15:29

  • Nicholas Whyte
    2018-10-02 11:33[return][return]Got a battered second-hand copy of this cheap off the internets after reading Veronica Wedgwood's biography of William (which is not cited even once by Jardine). I think this is much the better book; it's also about a third the length. Where Wedgwood breathlessly tells of the exploits of her hero, Jardine analyses how events were reported and used in the wider geopolitical context. She makes much of the use of the new pistol technology for William's assassination, though I'm not totally convinced by her stress on the novelty of the murder method: in fact it was the second such attempt on William's life in just over two years, and it was more than two decades since the Duc de Guise had been shot by a pistol-wielding assassin.[return][return]What surely is unusual is the economic aspect to the crime - the fact that Philip II of Spain had put a massive price on William's head, and indeed paid out to the family of the assassin (who was himself put to death in a gruesome public execution in Delft lasting several days). Even then, a policy of decapitation of unfriendly regimes by physical attack on their leaders was regarded as particularly controversial, and the murder clearly damaged Philip II's already poor reputation still further. (The more modern parallels are obvious.)[return][return]Jardine concentrates a lot more than Wedgwood on the English aspects of the killing, though she goes in circles a bit (especially about the death of Sir Philip Sidney) and pulls in contemporary references in a way that will make this book feel rather dated before many years have passed. On the whole, though, I found her presentation of the historical details more lucid and interesting than Wedgwood's.[return][return]Anyway, a good quick read about an interesting part of European history.

  • Larry Hostetler
    2018-10-07 13:09

    I appreciated the historical information contained in this short (136 pages) book. I learned a lot and found to be a good premise for writing. Indeed, the assassination had dramatic effect and for a bit called into question the freedom of worship and other developing freedoms for which Holland and the Netherlands has become renowned.It begins and flows for the first half of the book, then slows with what seems to be a feeling that there needs to be more content to justify a book. The last half spent more time with the impact on English history than on how the resulting void affected Holland long-term.Early on I noticed the similarity to situations like Isis today, and yet the author felt necessary to make points about recent (and not so recent) events that also subtracted from the book.But it was nonetheless a good read.

  • Filip
    2018-09-29 14:26

    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 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.

  • Sandra Strange
    2018-09-24 15:37

    This nonfiction book tells the story of the assassination of William of Orange, the first assassination by handgun of a monarch. The historian not only tells the story of William and why the Catholic church wanted him assassinated, but the history of handguns at the time (they were an "in" accessory for men to wear hanging down from their waistbands like they'd also hang swords). The book also traces the repercussions in England, where Elizabeth I also had a Catholic threat hanging over her. I enjoyed this read, appropriate for anyone interested in 16th Century European history.

  • Vince Ciaramella
    2018-10-08 15:09

    I think the topic would make a better article than full length work. I just wasn't feeling it. I think part of my problem was the title. I kinda hints that the author has a sense of humor and that maybe the work would have some comedic overtones. NOPE...not even close. It's dry and well...boring. If I was going to write a book on this subject I would have taken it in another direction.On a positive note I did learn a lot but its a book I'll trade in and forget about.

  • Kate
    2018-10-22 16:11

    This little book is part of a series of books called "Making History", which focuses on turning points in history. This book focuses on the invention of the wheel-lock pistol, which can be pre-loaded to fire three shots. This short book makes for an interesting, quick read for anyone interested in the political history of Europe during the late 1500s.

  • David Vanness
    2018-10-12 08:31

    I found it a short history lesson. However, " 1532 the Nuremberg city council complained that although law-abiding citizens were not allowed to own...handguns, highwaymen and robbers all carried them..." Unfortunately, history repeats itself.