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Seventeenth-century England has been richly documented by th lives of kings and their great ministers, the nobility and gentry, and bishops and preachers, but we have very little firsthand information on ordinary citizens.
This unique portrait of the life, thought, and attitudes of a London Puritan turner (lathe worker) is based on the extraordinary personal papers of Nehemiah Wallington—2,600 surviving pages of memoirs, religious reflections, political reportage, and letters. Coming to maturity during the reign of James I, Wallington witnessed the persecution of Puritans during Archbishop Laud’s ascendancy under Charles I, welcomed what he thought would be the godly revolution brought by the Long Parliament, and watched with increasing disillusionment the falure of that dream under the Rump republic and the Cromwellian Protectorate.
The author reconstructs Wallington’s inner world, allowing us to see what an ordinary man made of a lifetime of reading Puritan doctrine and listening to the sermons of Puritan preachers. For the first time we can penetrate the mind of one of those who made up the London mob calling for the end of episcopacy and the death of the Earl of Strafford in 1641, who welcomed the revolution, if not the war that followed, and who finally came to approve the death of his king.
Posted February 17, 2004
I also read this for a college history class and thought it was an excellent insight into a more common man's life, for which we have so little information. It's not boring; it is just a journal written by a man from a time in which the language was different, and he wrote about the simple and mundane aspects of his life (like we all do in our journals). But through his words you can learn about what it was like to be someone in 17th century London who had a skill and trade, but was not nobility. I read this in 1993, and it still comes to mind from time to time, which is why I decided to look it up tonight. It's not Hollywood. It's evidence and reality and a unique source of information.
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Posted December 8, 1999
I am a college student, required to read this book for a final in one of my classes. I find it completely uninteresing reading. It is written in the most boaring manner possible. The class I have to read it for is a History of England course. I love the class and find it very interesting - but a warning to all you teachers and professers out there looking for reading for your students, this is a particularly bad choice. I would not reccomend this book to anybody who is not thinking of becoming a historian.
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