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Oliver Cromwell: British Library Historic Lives Hardcover – Illustrated, 1 Sep 2004

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: British Library Publishing Division; First Edition First Impression edition (1 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712348573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712348577
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 1.9 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 740,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Clearly written, well organized and suffused with human interest, this new study will prove deservedly popular in sixth forms and university courses." "History" "This book is as disciplined, vivid and vigorous as the man it celebrates. Gaunt offers a convincing interpretation of Cromwell's life and a shrewd assessment of his achievement." "John Morrill, Vice Master and Reader in Early Modern History, Selwyn College, Cambridge" "A carefully written and well argued account." "The Times" "A new and controversial account of one of the pivotal figures in British history. This scholarly account is nonetheless interesting and informative."" Rachel Dickinson, Waterstone's, Richmond, in The Bookseller" "A concise but thick-textured and comprehensive reconsideration of a character, a career, a life and a reputation, making no claim to be definitive - each generation commands its own reappraisal - but ensured of an enduring place in the historiography." "Ivan Roots, C

From the Back Cover

This book re–examines Cromwell′s life and career. It opens with an assessment of the man and myth, exploring the legends which surround Cromwell, the differing interpretations advanced by generations of historians and the source material upon which such interpretations can be based. The book then provides an extensive, chronologically based examination of Cromwell′s life and career, highlighting key events and turning points. It closes with thematic assessments of some key aspects of Cromwell, including his character and appearance, his political outlook and his religious beliefs. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By G. J. Weeks on 7 Jun. 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is the best biography of Cromwell which I have read. It is concise and an easy read. Particularly pleasing is how the author gives criticism of many sources on Cromwell to assess their credibility for many are from those with cause to hate him or so late to be of doubtful provenance. Despite losing some favorite quotes this way one is given plenty of others from Oliver himself which confirm that this was no hypocritical ambitious dissembler but a man who believed he was guided and blessed by Providence to lead and rule .

The speed of the transformation from a little known farmer to the greatest military leader on Briish soil and then to head of state is truly astonishing. Gaunt has a good analysis of the reasons why Cromwell refused the crown and of his much criticised Irish campaign.

I found this a very fair book. The reader is informed that you cannot understand Cromwell through modern secularist spectacles. You have to understand some 17th century theology to see what motivated this man. I think the author is very fair in giving us the views of those critical of Cromwell though showing that some critics, like Clarendon found much to admire in Oliver. He ultimately failed to get his godly reformation established but he was a champion of liberty before its time. Here is no self agrandising dictator but a man who only rules with his council of state and written constitution. He never sought the wealth and luxury of kings.
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By Thespionic TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 3 Nov. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Oliver Cromwell's name is possibly as well-known as Henry V111?
It appears though that not an awful lot is known of Oliver Cromwell's life, especially the earlier times, but there is just enough to make this a very interesting read.
This was a man who was once a tenant farmer, though he was certainly never poor. In `modern terms' he would be termed middle class.
He rose to the equivalent of a king and even turned down the opportunity of that title!
The book tells mainly of his military and political careers. It centres on the religious struggles of the `Stuart' period which was immensely complicated. He had a devout belief in God and this belief drove him forward in all that he did.
The book is well laid out, with plenty of interesting plates & paintings from the period. It reads easily and at 136 pages it's something that you could read in a day if you chose to do so.
The author tries to give you both sides of the man and how he was perceived.
There seems to be a lot of `conspiracy theories' regarding Cromwell and there's no doubt he had another side at times, even though he clearly never saw himself as a sinner? I feel that this book tells you all that you need to know about he man and a lot of it is left for your own interpretation. It's good read without doubt.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Norway93 on 11 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When Studying Cromwell at A level i found no other book that gave me all the information needed that was accesible as this text. Gaunt has created a book that is very easy to follow and very easy to use for referencing without a doubt my most used book for coursework on Cromwell.
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8 of 16 people found the following review helpful By The Jackal on 23 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
This book by Gaunt is the product of considerable research and is well-written to boot. However it needs to be understood that this is written from the perspective of an academic who wears his devotions on his sleeve, and who also happens to be the chairman of The Cromwell Association. It is therefore not a truly critical study - subscribing as it does to the view that Cromwell was the greatest Englishman ever to grace the shores of the British Isles, and that he could do little if any wrong. It is on Ireland that limitations are most apparent: any blame or culpability for his massacres at Drogheda and Wexford are glossed over, and any letters cited conveniently exclude Cromwell's less temperate justifications such as his description of Irish Catholics as: "Barbarous and bloodthirsty" (as delivered to Protestants in Dublin in 1649 to whom he offered rewards for those who would take part in his campaigns). We are still recovering from the effects of Cromwell's anti-Irish and anti-Catholic policy in Ireland.

This book is essentially a paean of praise to Cromwell and an apologia for his less defensible acts - dressed up as a critical study. Anyone reading this, needs to consider that there is more than one way of interpreting historical events and the people who make them. A useful counter-balancing study would be: `God's executioner: Cromwell and the Conquest of Ireland' by Dr Micheal O'Siochru (2008), Faber. Cromwell left a shadow in England as well, hence the celebrations that greeted his worldly demise.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Reads like an 8th grade term paper 17 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Very heavy chronological review with no assessment, opinion or background. Assumes you know everything about the English Revolution but need a chronological reference book.
Good primer on Cromwell. 23 Jan. 2015
By eturner - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I needed to read this to understand the Commonwealth and Cromwell's rule. The book does not glamorize him, nor does it make him out to be a religious nut. Cromwell is handled fairly and the context of his life is made clear. While not always attractive, he was consistent to his beliefs. Unusual for a politician...
not for me 4 Jun. 2015
By D. Filteau - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
repeats him self over and over again
4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Biased 11 Nov. 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
It appears the book was written by a Cromwell apologist, in the worst sense. I'd recommend finding a more critically written analysis of Cromwell's life.
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