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The First Bourbon: Henry IV of France & Navarre

By Desmond Seward

At various times Protestant and Catholic, a king by virtue of both parents and survivor of multiple assassination attempts until he was, ultimately, murdered, Henry IV of France and Navarre was a pragmatic and clever man who ruled France from 1589 to 1610.

The founder of the Bourbon dynasty, Henry was a hard-fighting, foul-mouthed southerner who fought in more than 200 battles and had at least 60 mistresses.

However, he was also a bright, practical man who transformed a nation that had become riven with religious hatred into the powerhouse of Europe. A man of enormous charm and humanity, he was remarkably tolerant and decreed that every French peasant should have a chicken in the pot on Sundays. Even Napoleon admired him.

In The First Bourbon: Henry IV, King of France and Navarre , Desmond Seward blends academic rigour with an accessible writing style to give a comprehensive and compelling portrait of this important figure, which can be enjoyed by scholars and non-historians alike.

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