What We Are Reading Today: Emperor: A New Life of Charles V by Geoffrey Parker

Updated 06 July 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Emperor: A New Life of Charles V by Geoffrey Parker

Drawing on vital new evidence, a top historian dramatically reinterprets the ruler of the world’s first transatlantic empire.

The life of Emperor Charles V (1500–1558), ruler of Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, and much of Italy and Central and South America, has long intrigued biographers. But the elusive nature of the man (despite an abundance of documentation), his relentless travel and the control of his own image, together with the complexity of governing the world’s first transatlantic empire, complicate the task.

Geoffrey Parker, one of the world’s leading historians of early modern Europe, has examined the surviving written sources in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Latin, and Spanish, as well as visual and material evidence, according to a review published on goodreads.com. 

He explores the crucial decisions that created and preserved this vast empire and analyzes Charles’s achievements within the context of both personal and structural factors, and scrutinizes the intimate details of the ruler’s life for clues to his character and inclinations.

The result is a unique biography that interrogates every dimension of Charles’s reign and views the world through the emperor’s own eyes.


What We Are Reading Today: Democratic Equality by James Lindley Wilson

Updated 17 August 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Democratic Equality by James Lindley Wilson

  • It mounts a bold and persuasive defense of democracy as a way of making collective decisions

Democracy establishes relationships of political equality, ones in which citizens equally share authority over what they do together and respect one another as equals. 

But in today’s divided public square, democracy is challenged by political thinkers who disagree about how democratic institutions should be organized, and by antidemocratic politicians who exploit uncertainties about what democracy requires and why it matters. 

Democratic Equality mounts a bold and persuasive defense of democracy as a way of making collective decisions, showing how equality of authority is essential to relating equally as citizens, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

James Lindley Wilson explains why the US Senate and Electoral College are urgently in need of reform, why proportional representation is not a universal requirement of democracy, how to identify racial vote dilution and gerrymandering in electoral districting, how to respond to threats to democracy posed by wealth inequality, and how judicial review could be more compatible with the democratic ideal.