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The gripping story of the Levellers, the radical movement at the heart of the English Revolution
The Levellers, formed out of the explosive tumult of the 1640s and the battlefields of the Civil War, are central figures in the history of democracy. In this thrilling narrative, John Rees brings to life the men—including John Lilburne, Richard Overton and Thomas Rainsborough—and women who ensured victory and became an inspiration to republicans of many nations.
From the raucous streets of London and the clattering printers’ workshops that stoked the uprising, to the rank and file of the New Model Army and the furious Putney debates where the Levellers argued with Oliver Cromwell for the future of English democracy, this story reasserts the revolutionary nature of the 1642–51 wars and the role of ordinary people in this pivotal moment in history.
In particular Rees places the Levellers at the centre of the debates of 1647 when the nation was gripped by the question of what to do with the defeated Charles I. Without the Levellers and Agitators’ fortitude and well-organised opposition history may have avoided the regicide and missed its revolutionary moment. The legacy of the Levellers can be seen in the modern struggles for freedom and democracy across the world.
|Product dimensions:||6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.90(d)|
About the Author
John Rees is an historian, broadcaster and campaigner. He is coauthor of A People’s History of London and author of Timelines: A Political History of the Modern World, among other titles. He is a Visiting Research Fellow at Goldsmith’s, University of London and a National Officer of the Stop the War Coalition.
Table of Contents
A Note on the Text xiii
1 'The Maddest Christmas That Ever I Saw' 1
2 The First Leveller, John Lilburne 23
3 London, the Great Leveller 43
4 Levelling by Print 67
5 Civil War 77
6 The War, the Church and the State 106
7 The Coming of the Levellers 128
8 Petitions and Prison 156
9 Agitators 172
10 Putney Church and Corkbush Field 198
11 Counterrevolution 221
12 Revolution 250
13 Defeat in Victory 280
14 Lieutenant Colonel John Rede's Last Stand 311
15 The Levellers and the English Revolution 334
Select Bibliography 445