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Kevin SharpeIn a bold attempt to put the fragmented seventeenth century back together, by crossing the traditional 1660 divide and by negotiating all the recent historiographical fractures, Scott pursues the persistent causes of instability which predated and post-dated, as well as caused, the revolution. At their core he identifies the problem of a weak monarchy and state facing new threats from abroad and confessional divisions at home.
England's Troubles is in some respect a curious book. Neither textbook survey nor research monograph, it is really a long interpretative essay, if that genre can run to 500 pages. Yet this is a book full of acute criticisms, new emphases, apt and fresh quotations (from Marvel and Dryden as much as Locke) and rich insights which repay the reader's effort. Scott offers a stimulating panorama of the whole seventeenth century, the first 'large scale explanatory analysis' that takes us beyond the attenuated and sterile debates over revisionism.