The Glorious Revolution by Edward Vallance. History book about the subject.
Background. The Glorious Revolution was the replacement of the Catholic King James II with a Protestant joint monarchy of Mary Stuart and her Dutch husband, William III of Orange; whose power and succession was limited by acts of Parliament. This was bloodless in England, as James fled William's powerful army, but led to warfare and rebellion in Scotland and Ireland.
This has been interpreted in various ways.
1. A truly glorious and very British revolution, where the power of monarchy was restrained by a peaceful evolutionary step, rather than bloody violence like the French and American Revolutions.
2. A successful Dutch invasion and takeover of the UK, aided by internal traitors.
3. A dynastic coup, where the Protestant branch of the House of Stuart outmaneuvered the Catholic branch.
1 is the traditional interpretation, 2 and 3 are somewhat revisionist. Vallance draws a balanced picture. He points out that both sides tried to court popular opinion, which was an important factor. James decided that as his army units and commanders quickly defected, and the unpopular Catholic-friendly placemen he'd put into local office could not muster much support, that he had not much chance of beating William.
On the other hand, elite politics was the prime mover in the events. Also the practical limits put on Royal power weren't that great. After James had fled, William was able to shrewdly use his army as a indirect threat against the English elite. He didn't threaten to use it against them directly, but quietly made it clear that if he took it back to Holland, there was nothing to stop James returning with a Catholic French army to exact a terrible revenge on the traitors.
Overall, a thoughtful, balanced and interesting book on the subject. Worth a read if you're interested.
What I'm Watching
The Fearless Vampire Killers on disc. Badly dated comedy , directed by and starring Roman Polanski, which ventures into Carry On territory: same sort of slapstick and leering, only without the puns and arch performances.
Some bits are unintentionally creepy with the passage of time. One subplot concerns Polanski's character being seduced and then chased around by a sexually harassing gay vampire. First it seems odd that being gay is scarier than being a vampire, second if he knew it's horrible to be sexually harassed, why did he so much of it?
Avoid this one.
What I'm Watching
Bottle Rocket. Early Wes Anderson movie starring Luke and Owen Wilson. Some inept young would-be criminals hide out after a robbery.
I liked some of the later Wes Anderson movies like "Moonrise Kingdom" and "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou", but this seemed a bit slow-moving and inconsequential, with characters who are irritatingly rather than charmingly eccentric
What I'm Watching 2
Tyrannosaur. Highly acclaimed drama about a friendship between an angry widower and a downtrodden charity shop worker. Definitely powerful and well-acted all round. The leads are good. Eddie Marsan has only a small part but might well portray one of the most horrible characters ever seen on screen.
Unremittingly bleak though, so much so that it strains plausibility at times. Bit hard to believe that the dog wasn't destroyed by police after it mauled the child, or that ultra-religious Hannah doesn't have some friends through the church.
Has a couple of disturbing scenes. Has a fairly clever construction. where everything ends up for the worse. The violent guy refrains from violence, which results in a child being mauled by a dog. The abused housewife finally retaliates, and ends up in prison.
Worth a look if you've ever thought the problem with Mike Leigh and Ken Loach is that they're too cheerful and upbeat.
Proof at the Menier Chocolate Factory. American play about the daughter of a brilliant mathematician, who has died after a long period of mental illness.
Veers a little bit into the sentimental at times. but is ruthlessly efficient at plucking the heartstrings. Good central performance from Mariah Gale as the spiky, emotionally damaged daughters. Has a couple of very memorable scenes, such as the final breakdown of the father.
Good play, well worth seeing. Also good to see some respect for the drinking abilities of theoretical physicists.
Going to the hulverwedding today! I'm planning to catch the 4PM bus from the ceremony venue to the reception. Might have a couple of hours to play tourist beforehand. All congrats to Mr and Mrs hulver-god!
Socioeconomics. Is the UK really 5 times more violent than the US?
Pics. Vintage librarian pics.
Video. Lego Breaking Bad.
Sci/Tech. Koshers switch only probably works.
Articles. The Business of Literature: "books aren’t sitting grumpily in economy class on the airplane to the future. They’re in the cockpit." Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us About Sex, Diet, and How We Live . Edmund Burke.
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