The English Civil War: Papists, Gentlewoman, Soldiers, and Witchfinders in the Birth of Modern Britain

In this compelling history of the violent struggle between the monarchy and Parliament that tore apart seventeenth century England, a rising star among British historians sheds new light on the people who fought and died through those tumultuous years Like the Magna Carta and the American Revolution, the English Civil War resolved fundamental questions of sovereignty andIn this compelling history of the violent struggle between the monarchy and Parliament that tore apart seventeenth century England, a rising star among British historians sheds new light on the people who fought and died through those tumultuous years Like the Magna Carta and the American Revolution, the English Civil War resolved fundamental questions of sovereignty and political rights that are still the guiding principles of democracies today However, the price of peace included the execution of a king, brutal persecution of Catholics and Royalists, and years of tyranny Drawing on exciting new sources, including letters, memoirs, ballads, plays, illustrations, and even cookbooks, Diane Purkiss creates a rich and nuanced portrait of this turbulent era Purkiss peoples her story with fascinating characters, from the obstinate King Charles I to his opponents such as the poet John Milton, from the brutal and egomaniacal Oliver Cromwell to the self styled prophet Lady Eleanor Davies, to witchfinders, revolutionaries, and ordinary men and women The English Civil War s dramatic consequences rejecting divine right monarchy in favor of parliamentary rule continue to influence our lives In this colorful narrative, Diane Purkiss vividly brings to life the history that changed the course of Western government.
The English Civil War Papists Gentlewoman Soldiers and Witchfinders in the Birth of Modern Britain In this compelling history of the violent struggle between the monarchy and Parliament that tore apart seventeenth century England a rising star among British historians sheds new light on the people

  • Title: The English Civil War: Papists, Gentlewoman, Soldiers, and Witchfinders in the Birth of Modern Britain
  • Author: Diane Purkiss
  • ISBN: 9780465067565
  • Page: 166
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “The English Civil War: Papists, Gentlewoman, Soldiers, and Witchfinders in the Birth of Modern Britain”

    1. A very interesting account of the background, events and main actors in the English Civil War. I've read it mainly because I have a very deep interest (okay, an addiction) for Maria McCann'sAs Meat Loves Salt and I wanted to know more about the historical setting of her novel. This book certainly gave me food for thought and clarified some aspects of the New Model Army, the Diggers' colonies, the religious factions etc. All things I didn't know much about and that are central to McCann's novel i [...]

    2. Contrary to the title, this is not a history of the English civil war of the 1640’s. It’s a collection of contemporary accounts from original documents focusing on a number of people who were prominent and obscure participants in the historical events. The research was staggering and is documented in FURTHER READING at the end of the book. Reading the actual words of the participants is a revelation and immediately conveys the sensibilities and motivations of the time. To say religion was th [...]

    3. There is possibly no period of English (indeed, British) history more unjustly neglected than the Civil Wars. Far more than the feudal wranglings of the Wars of the Roses, they made the United Kingdom the nation that it is, politically, ideologically, and even spiritually. This is the central thesis of this magnificent book, illustrated through the words and actions of innumerable individuals: high and low, male and female, all the parts they play are instrumental in the unravelling of events. C [...]

    4. The research done for this book was obviously immense and there are many gems about all areas of English society during the civil war. When Purkiss writes about Milton, Cromwell, or the royal family for example, she hits her groove. Or when she gets on a more narrowly defined topic like food, Christmas, iconoclasm, or specific radical reformers, this book is riveting. However, the incredible body of research often takes precedence over the narrative of the story which causes the book to sometime [...]

    5. This history is rather disorganized and sometimes difficult to follow, but it does a good job of purveying the FEEL of the Civil War by examining the wartime experiences of people of more ordinary rank than the royals and grandees and other major players, including several women. Take it for what it's worth.

    6. Seduced by the cover blurbs, I thought this was going to be a history of the English Civil War done in a way more accessible than the C.V. Wedgewood classic - a book I found dry and hard to follow, a book where one gets lost in obscure doctrinaire disputes between the various religious dogmas.So, was this book better?Well, sort of.On the down side - the book is far too long, weaving in first hand accounts of many people, who pop up again and again in various chapters. But you've long since forgo [...]

    7. The English Civil War is the most underrated occurrence in British history; even the major battlefields are poorly marked and signposted. And yet this remarkable war amongst ourselves changed forever how this island of ours ruled their affairs.Of course there are countless books running through the battles and reasons, but this book goes deeper into the psyche of the real people - the ones who fought, the ones who remained behind to be savaged by both armies, the ones who battled for a real revo [...]

    8. I thought this was an excellent alternative to a traditional top-down history of the English Civil War. I was fascinated, but I am interested in this period so I suppose it wouldn't take much to hold my attention. It was engagingly written and I enjoyed the focus the author placed on religious extremism rather than battles. My only criticism is that she expected the reader to remember the names of all of her little-known figures as easily as they remembered the names of Cromwell and Fairfax, so [...]

    9. This is a very solid book about England during the civil war. It covers the events of the war as well as providing a solid overview of the cultural, theological and intellectual context in which in occurred. I have not read enough on the period to know how well it compares to other books written on the topic. It may even be worth an additional star.The book manages to explain both why the monarchy fell and why it would be restored once Cromwell was dead.

    10. Well written and interesting book, which chronicles the English Civil War from the POV of different members of the various classes of 17th century. I do not recommend the book as a first look at the conflict, as the author assumes a good level of familiarity with the topic. It was hard to follow the sequence of events and I ended up watching a BBC documentary to get a better view of the overall story. It would be a wonderful supplement to other reading on the ECW. This is the only reason I did n [...]

    11. This is a 2 1/2 stars actually I've read this book a number of times in an attempt to see what precisely Purkiss was trying to say. As far as I can tell her overarching thesis is that the breakdown in social order in the 1640s allowed for a space for those who would not normally have been able to make themselves heard in the era such as women and those of the "lower orders". On the one hand as showing the sheer variety of ideas and views of the period, Purkiss is a success and reading it's clear [...]

    12. I deliberately selected this because the only things I know about the English Civil War are Roundhead vs. Cavalier and that Dr. Dolittle's friend Polynesia first came to England when Charles II was hiding in a tree (or Charles I). See? Nothing. Then I began to read it and almost immediately fell asleep. I cannot explain why the Stuarts, alone of all the English royal families, fail to interest me. (In first grade when I finally could read with fluency instead of slowly sounding it all out, I rea [...]

    13. If you want a history of the battles of the English Civil War, this is not the book for you. If you are interested in the human side of this horrific period, then this is a book for you. While the battles are mentioned, they are placed in a much broader context. This is a history of the English Civil War, told to a considerable extent through the words of observers and participants. Letters and diaries of people such as Brilliana Harley; tracts by Garrard Winstanley (a leading Digger); the debat [...]

    14. This is a popular history and lacks the detailed footnotes I want when reading this type of book.I read with very a very specific aim which it would have satisfied had it been footnoted. But I did skip chunks of it as not relevant for what I wanted.However, I seriously disliked her patronising tone regarding Christopher Hill. Should she ever become half the historian he was I would accept her comments but she has to my mind in no way reached that status and I doubt she ever will.This is not the [...]

    15. This took what was for me a long time to read. But it is a very long book. I really liked her vision of the war from "the ground up." It helped me understand the complexities of the situation for the people who were actually living it--and not just the powerful. I hadn't realized how much a fear of Catholics played into the events--not just hatred or bigotry but fear. According to Purkiss, everyday people were convinced that they faced imminant invasion. I also liked it for how it showed that lu [...]

    16. This is not your mother's history book. Do not read it expecting to get a linear account of the war, or a nice clean version of cause and effect. Rather, it is an intriguing and insightful glimpse into the complexities of the war, gleaned through the writings and lives of those who lived it. A tragic time, and yet one which really lays much of the groundwork for the philosophies that grounded the American and French revolutions. Fascinating read.

    17. So far so good. Standard, but well-written social history of the English Civil War based on the much revived narrative school. Brings in revised understandings based on work done on religious and women's history over the past 20 years. Purkiss' sense of contemporaneous geography, world-view and class bring a fresh sense of how large and how small, how public and private, the worlds of pre-William and Mary English were. Plus I learned what 'repandous' means.

    18. There's some crackingly vivid stuff in this book, which was marred only for me by a bit of sniffyness about the more radical tendencies thrown up by the conflict. That's not what I expect from something billed as "a people's history". Maybe some of Christopher Hill's work is what I need to be looking at for that.

    19. I loved this book. It was fantastically written and well presented and Purkiss didn't take sides and try and claim that one side was 'right' or 'better' than the other. She gave heart to the material and often added small personal remarks that were more humorous than anything else. For example, she describes John Milton as 'fiercely competitive, neurotic, insecure and emotionally constipated.' This book is well worth the read for any history buffs.

    20. This book was less interesting than I thought it would be. It probably would have helped if I knew something about British History, but I felt that the timeline was a bit too jumpy. It took me a long time- nearly 3 months to slog through it, without a particularly good sense of the overall argument- was kind of a mishmash of primary sources lacking the backbone of a clearly stated argument.

    21. It does help to have a basic knowledge of the English Civil War prior to reading this book. Purkiss presents the English Civil War though the viewpoints of the people who fought in it, lived during it, and wrote during it. It is an all encompassing look, focusing on people who do not make the over all big histories. Well worth the read if you like English history.

    22. It's an interesting read: the English civil war told through they eyes of the myriad people who lived it. But it can be tedious unless the reader is familiar with the events and the history. I'm not so I found it hard to get through the major history parts while waiting for the biographical parts. Nothing against the concept or the author, it just wasn't for me.

    23. Fascinating read that gives an overview of the world by digging into personal accounts and recollections of the war. Odd stuff crops up as a result such as the rise of the cook book, religious pamphleteering, and witch-hunting.

    24. In many ways, this is a superb book. The writing is occasionally odd and awkward, but the principle - a social history told by people of significance and insignificate almost half a millenium ago - is fascinating page after page.

    25. This was very interesting - better for a sense of the time and issues rather than an overview although I do think it could have done with a timeline. Bit too much 'psychology'/speculation about the impact of childhood experiences for my taste sometimes.

    26. Very interesting compilation of the stories of people from all walks of life woven into a history of the English Civil War. Having a passing familiarity with the major events of this war is helpful; I didn't, so I had to look things up (not that that's a bad thing). Good read, very enlightening.

    27. The world turned upside down but Diane Purkiss has written a book that will enable you to keep your footing amid a tumultuous period of English history. So good, I am going to read it again. Thank you for a clear social, political and military depiction of the civil war.

    28. An account of the "civil" in the Civil war, of the ways people saw and interacted with the war. Does that make any sense? I hope so. Not really an introduction to the war itself, since I learned about it in high school history I don't know what would make a good introduction. Sorry. Sorry.

    29. A little too speculative for this historian's liking, but a decent starting point for someone interested in an introduction to the English Civil War that focuses more on people (especially women) and less on politics.

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