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"The sequence of civil wars that ripped England apart in the seventeenth century was the single most traumatic event in this country between the medieval Black Death and the two world wars. Indeed, it is likely that a greater percentage of the population was killed in the civil wars than in First World War." "This sense of overwhelming trauma gives this major new history its title: God's Fury, England's Fire. The name of a pamphlet written after the king's surrender, it sums up the widespread feeling within England that the seemingly endless nightmare that had destroyed families, towns and livelihoods was ordained by a vengeful God - that the people of England had sinned and were now being punished. As with all civil wars, however, 'God's fury' could support or destroy either side in the conflict. Was God angry at Charles I for failing to support the true, Protestant religion and refusing to work with Parliament? Or was God angry with those who had dared challenge His anointed Sovereign?" "Michael Braddock's remarkable book gives the reader a vivid and enduring sense of both what it was like to live through events of uncontrollable violence and what really animated the different sides. The killing of Charles I and the declaration of a republic - events which even now seem in an English context utterly astounding - were by no means the only possible outcomes, and Braddock brilliantly describes the twists and turns that led to the most radical solutions of all to the country's political implosion. He also describes very effectively the influence of events in Scotland, Ireland, and the European mainland on the conflict in England." God's Fury, England's Fire allows readers tounderstand once more the events that have so fundamentally marked this country and which still resonate centuries after their bloody ending.
List of Illustrations
The Crisis of the Three Kingdoms, 1637-1642
1 From the Bowels of the Whore of Babel: The Scottish Prayer Book Rebellion and the Politics of Reformation 3
2 Self-Government at the King's Command: Politics and Society in Caroline England 40
3 Drawing Swords in the King's Service: The English and the Bishops' Wars 81
4 We Dream Now of a Golden Age: The Long Parliament and the Public Sphere 113
5 Barbarous Catholics and Puritan Populists: The Irish Rising and the Politics of Fear 156
6 Paper Combats: The Battle for the Provinces 182
7 Raising Forces: The Slide into War 209
8 Armed Negotiation: The Battle of Edgehill and Its Aftermath 241
9 Military Escalation, Loyalty and Honour: The English War Efforts in 1643 262
10 The War of Three Kingdoms: The Irish Cessation and the Solemn League and Covenant, 1643 304
11 Marston Moor: The Victory of the Covenant 323
12 A Man Not Famous but Notorious: Death and Its Meanings 356
13 Naseby and the End of the War: The Triumph of the New Model Army 370
14 Winners and Losers: The Costs and Benefits of Civil War 389
15 Remaking the Local Community: The Politics of Parishes at War 413
16 Post-War Politics: Print, Polemic and Mobilization 439
17 Military Defeat and Political Survival: Attempts at Settlement from Newcastle to Newmarket 465
18 The Army, the People and the Scots: Putney, the Engagement and the Vote of No Addresses 507
19 To Preserve That Which God Hath Manifestly Declared Against: Charles, the Scots, and the Second Civil War 529
20 The Occasioner, Author, and Continuerof the Said Unnatural, Cruel and Bloody Wars: The Trial and Execution of Charles I 551
21 Epilogue: England's Freedom 582
Picture Credits 596
Note on Authorship and Dating of Pamphlets 600
Note on Dates and Quotations 602
Notes and References 603
Bibliograpy of Secondary Works 694
Posted March 31, 2009
I Also Recommend:
Michael Braddick, professor of history at Sheffield University, has written a splendid new history of the civil wars in Britain in the 1640s. The book is in three parts: the crisis of the three kingdoms (1637-42), war (1642-46), and revolution (1646-49).
Part 1 describes the Scottish Prayer Book rebellion and the politics of reformation, politics and society in Charles' England, the English and the Bishops' Wars, the Long Parliament, the Irish rising, the struggle for the provinces and the slide into war. Part 2 studies the battle of Edgehill, the English war efforts in 1643, the Irish Cessation and the Solemn League and Covenant, the battle of Marston Moor, death and its meanings, the battle of Naseby and the New Model Army, the costs and benefits of civil war, and the politics of parishes at war. Part 3 describes postwar politics, attempts at settlement, the Putney debates, the Engagement and the vote of No Addresses, Charles' starting of the second civil war, his trial and execution, and England's freedom.
The people opposed the king's party on the issues of royal powers, his religious policies, taxation, his foreign policy, and his Catholic advisers. Charles sought to uphold his supreme power over the people. He refused to work with Parliament or to be subject to its authority. People noted that Charles tried to stay out of war in Europe against Catholics, but was ready to go to war against his own Protestant subjects. Public opinion was such that, as Braddick writes, "Military mobilization by prerogative power in order to enforce Laudian ceremonialism would have plenty of opponents." Yet in 1649, the king was still unrepentant and uncompromising, and still bent on another war: defeated in England and Scotland, he was as yet unbeaten in Ireland.
Braddick recounts the organised, disciplined and popular assertions of traditional common rights - throwing down enclosures in forests and fens, tearing up hedges, and breaking open the Earl of Middlesex's deer park and killing his deer. Tactically astute, people gathered in groups of two, thus evading the legal definition of a riot.
More and more people became active citizens. People fought for the idea that "All power is originally and essentially in the whole body of the people of this Nation."
As Braddick writes, "What was really new and radical . was that fundamental questions were being debated before a public audience." It was 'a decade of intense debate and spectacular intellectual creativity . the beginnings of a passage from the world of reformation to the world of enlightenment'.
Posted April 17, 2009
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