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The execution of Charles I in 1649, followed by the proclamation of a Commonwealth, was an extraordinary political event. It followed a bitter Civil War between parliament and the king, and their abject failure to negotiate a peace settlement.Why the king was defeated and executed has long been a central question in English history. The old answers, whether those of the historian S R Gardiner or of Lawrence Stone, no longer satisfy. Clive Holmes supplies clear answers to eight key questions about the period, ranging from why the king had to summon the Long Parliament to whether there was in fact an English Revolution at all.