Review: The Path of the King
The Path of the King by John Buchan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'd heard of Buchan years ago (39 Steps), but never came across a copy until recently. The author, an English nobleman, wrote this in 1929. It is a series of short vignettes tracing the descendants of a Viking king down to 1861. Forest Gump-style, each descendant has close relations to a significant historical figure or event (Joan of Arc, St Bartholomew Massacre, Abe Lincoln, etc.) You really have to know your history for it to make sense, though.
This would go well for high schoolers studying Western European history, into the New World.
The theme is really fascinating - kingly traits rise and fall in a lineage over time, sometimes falling into the gutter, other times peaking in a significant person who shapes history.
There is a strong anti-democracy point at the end - that nations and men need leadership from kings. They need leadership, not just a public servant to carry out the will of the people. The last couple chapters culminate in a historical figure I didn't expect - worth the read!
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