The English Civil War: A People's History

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9780007150625: The English Civil War: A People's History

This is a remarkable popular history of the English Civil War, from the perspectives of those involved in this most significant turning point in British history. This compelling history, culminating in the execution of Charles I, brings to life the people who fought in it, died in it, and in doing so changed the history of the world forever. In an excitingly fresh approach to the period, Diane Purkiss tells the story of this critical era not just in terms of the battle of ideas, but as the histories of the people who conceived them. The English Civil War builds a gripping narrative of the individuals involved and their motives, from those whose reputations were made on the back of this violent and brutal war, such as Oliver Cromwell and Lady Eleanor Davies, to witchfinders and revolutionaries; and ultimately, the ordinary men who fought and the women who lived with tragedy, finding their political voice for the first time. The consequences of ten years of bloody revolution were to stretch from the cities to the villages to the grand houses, form Ulster to East Anglia to the outer reaches of Cornwall.The tales uncovered by Diane Purkiss paint a picture of a world turned upside down, where madness and prophesy play their part, and where normal life and times are suspended. This important book uncovers forgotten lives and illustrates incisively the critical contribution of this extraordinary period in English history to contemporary politics and society.

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About the Author:

Diane Purkiss is Fellow and Tutor at Keble College, Oxford. She was formerly Professor of English at Exeter University. She is the author of the highly acclaimed `The Witch in History', and `Troublesome Things: A History of Fairies and Fairy Stories'.

From Publishers Weekly:

There are many ways to approach the history of the 17th-century upheaval that beheaded a king and laid the foundations for democratic revolutions to come, and this absorbing, ungainly study tries them all. Oxford historian Purkiss (The Witch in History) draws a gallery of sharp biographical sketches of participants from Cromwell to ordinary soldiers, paying special attention to the oft-neglected doings of women, like aristocratic intriguer Lucy Hay and radical dissenter Anna Trapnel. She also slathers on plenty of social history, digressing on everything from contemporary housing to cookbooks. And she interweaves an avowedly disjointed, episodic kings-and-battles narrative of military campaigns and political maneuverings, replete with dramatic eyewitness accounts. Fixated on trees rather than the forest, Purkiss offers no clear overview of events or much coherent interpretation of the conflict, aside from some facile psychoanalysis ("Charles I's longing to make the monarchy independent of any hurtful criticism proceeded from the bullied child he was"). The book doesn't work as a general introduction, but readers who already know some of the history will find it full of colorful personalities and scenes and evocative period writings that bring to life the people, culture and violent turmoil of the age. Photos. (July)
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. UK ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. This popular history of the English Civil War tells the story of the bloody conflict between Oliver Cromwell and Charles I from the perspectives of those involved.The compelling narrative draws on new sources such as letters, memoirs, ballads and plays to bring to life the Roundheads and Cavaliers, the foot soldiers, war widows and witchfinders of one of the most significant turning points in British history, culminating in Oliver Cromwell s triumph and the execution of Charles I.By blending the political and the personal, Diane Purkiss illuminates both the ideologies behind the English Civil War and the fears of those who fought in it; the men who were destroyed by the conflict and those, such as Oliver Cromwell, who were defined by it. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007150625

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. UK ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. This popular history of the English Civil War tells the story of the bloody conflict between Oliver Cromwell and Charles I from the perspectives of those involved.The compelling narrative draws on new sources such as letters, memoirs, ballads and plays to bring to life the Roundheads and Cavaliers, the foot soldiers, war widows and witchfinders of one of the most significant turning points in British history, culminating in Oliver Cromwell s triumph and the execution of Charles I.By blending the political and the personal, Diane Purkiss illuminates both the ideologies behind the English Civil War and the fears of those who fought in it; the men who were destroyed by the conflict and those, such as Oliver Cromwell, who were defined by it. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007150625

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