The Wisest Fool
The Lavish Life of James VI and I
432 Pages, 6.15 x 9.2 in, 16pp b/w plates
- November 2023
- Temporarily out of stock. Ships in 8-12 weeks.
James VI and I, the first monarch to reign over Scotland, England and Ireland, has long endured a mixed reputation. To many, he is simply the homosexual king, the inveterate witch-roaster, the smelly sovereign who never washed, the colourless man behind the authorised Bible bearing his name, or the drooling fool whose speech could barely be understood. For too long, he has paled in comparison to his more celebrated Tudor and Stuart forebears.
But who was he really? To what extent have myth, anecdote, and rumour obscured him?
In this new and ground-breaking biography, James’s story is laid bare and a welter of scurrilous, outrageous assumptions penned by his political opponents put to rest. What emerges is a portrait of Elizabeth I's successor as his contemporaries knew him: a gregarious, idealistic man obsessed with the idea of family, whose personal and political goals could never match up to reality. With reference to letters, libels and state papers, it casts fresh light on the personal, domestic, international and sexual politics of this misunderstood sovereign.
'A real page-turner for lovers of history' - Philippa Gregory
"A page-turner for lovers of history." ~Philippa Gregory
"Two kingdoms, two very different reputations. Veerapen brings fresh life and acute insight into the conundrum that is the reigns of King James." ~Leanda de Lisle
"Steven Veerapen's biography of James VI/I is so good that it seems likely to become the definitive work about the life of a much maligned and perhaps poorly understood character." ~Undiscovered Scotland
"He may not always have acted wisely during his reign, but a new biography shows that James VI and I was no fool...this is a very engaging book." ~Allan Massie, The Scotsman
"An extremely well-balanced account of James' character... a highly accomplished and well-written work of creative non-fiction." ~Country Life
It takes someone with the scholarship and narrative skills of Steven Veerapen to weave his way with through the evidence to provide a cohesive and plausible story, providing a book that will become essential reading for academics and ordinary history lovers alike' ~Robert Stedall, Amazon Five Stars
The Wisest Fool is a sensitive portrait of a king who, despite errors of judgement managed to negotiate a period of exceptional political and religious turbulence... this is a probing, wellrounded and very readable account of a king too often over-looked, despite his pivotal role in modern British politics.' ~Rosemary Goring, Herald
A really interesting biography… a deep dive into the facts and information paints something of a different story… busts some of the false ideas and presents a better picture of this historical person' ~Dr Miranda Melcher, Newbooks Network (British Studies)
Veerapen weaves a fresh and honest tapestry of James’s character in all its imperfect glory. It is based on scholarly study and achieved with appropriate gravitas . . . Only by examining his time as King of Scotland can later years be fully understood – and this is expertly done' ~Mark Turnbull, GoodReads, FIVE stars