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Civil War: The War of the Three Kingdoms 1638-1660 Paperback – 20 Jan 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 912 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (20 Jan. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349115648
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349115641
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 4.4 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 157,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

[A] superb narrative history. (GUARDIAN)

Royle's account is a compelling reconstruction of two of the most turbulent decades in British history. (SUNDAY TIMES)

Royle's magnificent history cannot be mistaken for anything other than a tour de force. (INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

Royle makes excellent use of primary sources, and, being a good historian, he throws everything into the battles (BBC History Magazine)

Book Description

* First complete general history of the English Civil War from its outbreak in 1639 to the last battle in 1659.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By EFMOL on 2 May 2004
Format: Hardcover
The mid 17th century is a well researched and well documented time in history. This of course is mainly due to several interesting things happening during this period.
If you're Irish (as I am) you are taught in school that during the English civil war Cromwell came over to Ireland and killed as many people as he could (just because they were Catholic and Irish) - we were taught very little else about this period.
I haven't read anything by Trevor Royle before, but after this I will certainly look him up again. When I saw this book in my local bookshop I thought that it was a devious marketing ploy to get people in Ireland and Scotland to buy this book about the English Civil War. This war truely involved all three countries and Royle expertly combines the this theme with his narrative.
Cromwell is treated sympathetically, while the Charles I is treated as a stubborn monarch unable to come to terms with the fact that he did not have a divine right to rule all his subjects as he saw fit.
The writing style is very easy for the amateur historian/reader to read. Some of the quotations from writers of the time are obviously difficult, but Royle adds useful explanations where necessary.
Though the book is about three kingdoms, Ireland features less than the other two. From an Irish viewpoint, there could be more about the Confederation of Kilkenny, the Plantations, Owen Roe O'Neill, etc - but overall no complaints about balance.
Irish, Scots, and English will all enjoy this book (Welsh too!). My only criticisim is that while the book is about the period 1638-1660, it does not end in 1660. Rather it continues up until 1690 and even describes the opening shots of the American War of Independence.
For me, the book should have stopped with the restoration of Charles II.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 18 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent book that covers the war in some detail. It is very easy to read and useful both for the historian and the general reader to understand the context and complexities of the war of the Three Kingdoms. If I have one small gripe it is that the book is divided into geographical locations within time frames, so it is not a continuous history in that respect. However, it is meticulously researched and contains many eyewitness comments. One of the best history books I have read in a long time.. Recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By SM on 12 Mar. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book by Trevor Royle tells in admirably clear prose the story of the religious and political origins of the Protestant revolution, the heated and absolutist religious mindset in the post-Reformation period and how this was in collision with an equally absolutist monarch obsessed with his divine right as king in all civil and religious matters.
The tortuous course of this story is made accessible through Royle's formidable narrative gifts. An easily grasped perspective is maintained throughout, as the campaigns in England, Scotland and Ireland, with their differing agendas and nuances, work themselves out. The human dimension is maintained also: the pain and tragedy inflicted is borne by real people, and it is real people also, inflamed by the passions of the times, who dish it out. Yes, civil war stinks, and, in Royle's hands you can smell it even while you admire, as well, the frequent gallantry even by those who turned their coats not once but several times.
Finally, you feel, in spite of yourself, for a King with an ossified mind, trapped on the top of tge watershed between medievalism and the beginnings of modernity. At the end, Royle leads you to feel it all had to happen anyway.
A wonderful read, and a deceptively profound work.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 May 2005
Format: Paperback
I cannot recommend this book highly enough, particularly to those who, like me, have found getting to grips with the military and religious complexities of the Civil War difficult. The author manages to pull together the various campaigns into a coherent whole whithout losing the detail of character and incident that makes the Civil War years such a fascinating period. He does so without the appearence of taking sides and brings across the human costs of a war which became increasingly brutal as frustration and hatred set in.
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Format: Paperback
I have been reading around the edges of the wars of the three kingdoms for some time, inspired generally by a failure on my part to fully understand the complexities of the issues that led, not just England, but Scotland, Ireland and Wales to internecine conflict in the mid-17th century. Mr Royle's book is not just exemplary in finding and pinning down the myriad reasons and agenda behind the war(s), he also places the period in its often tragic human context. I have to say also that despite being 800 pages long, this is unflaggingly, a bloody good read. Royle's portraits of battlefield manoeuvre in particular, are compelling, as are his portraits of the key figures of the day. An excellent piece of work.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Darren O'Connell on 17 April 2007
Format: Paperback
This is indeed an epic work, which is both a strength and weakness. Royle has considerable command of the English venacular that he uses to devastating effect in his narrative. The result is a fast-paced, humorous, ironic yet sympathetic re-telling of this bloody period in British, not just English, history. In my opinion, this book is remarkably balanced but overly long - it took me an age to get through it. Thoroughly recommended regardless of whether you are Cavalier or Rounhead, Stuart or Cromwellian or anywhere in between.
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