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The Glorious Revolution: 1688 - Britain's Fight for Liberty [Kindle Edition]

Edward Vallance
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In 1688, a group of leading politicians invited the Dutch prince William of Orange over to England to challenge the rule of the catholic James II. When James's army deserted him he fled to France, leaving the throne open to William and Mary. During the following year a series of bills were passed which many believe marked the triumph of constitutional monarchy as a system of government. In this radical new interpretation of the Glorious Revolution, Edward Vallance challenges the view that it was a bloodless coup in the name of progress and wonders whether in fact it created as many problems as it addressed. Certainly in Scotland and Ireland the Revolution was characterised by warfare and massacre. Beautifully written, full of lively pen portraits of contemporary characters and evocative of the increasing climate of fear at the threat of popery, this new book fills a gap in the popular history market and sets to elevate Edward Vallance to the highest league of popular historians.

Product Description


An account that is balanced without being anodyne, wide-ranging without being superficial, assured without being complacent . . . An up-to-date and well informed narrative (TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT)

Gripping . . . [Vallance] writes with considerable narrative flair . . . a tremendously exciting introduction to the period (TELEGRAPH)

Lucid and perceptive (Blair Worden, LITERARY REVIEW)

Vivid pen portraits of contemporary characters . . . a colourful, lively account (HERALD)

Book Description

The definitive popular account of the landmark event in British history by an acclaimed young historian.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1016 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (4 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #280,206 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A broader interpretation for the 21st century 15 April 2009
By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is subtitled, "Britain's Fight for Liberty", but what do we mean by `Britain'? And a fight for liberty for and from whom? Vallance is sure that whatever changes were effected by the Glorious Revolution, those to liberty WERE significant, "an important move, however unintended, towards the freedoms enjoyed by modern liberal democracies had been made," and a culture of toleration resulted.

But it would be unfair to tar the author with the deterministic brush of the Whig school of history. He cannot escape the conflicting claims of modern political history, a problem encapsulated in the two quotations that Vallance chooses to open his book, the first by Margaret Thatcher and the second by Karl Marx. Which of the two is the more astute observation on the consequences of the Glorious Revolution? Indeed, are the views expressed mutually exclusive? Vallance sees common ground between the two and goes on to describe the parliamentary debate that took place on the three-hundredth anniversary: "Conservatives ... applauded the Glorious Revolution because it was a revolution by Parliament, not the people. Left-wingers dismissed its historical significance for exactly the same reason ..."

Vallance proceeds in his preface to narrate how the events of 1688 have been viewed down to our own time. But he questions some of the consensus agreed between the Whig, liberal, Marxist, and revisionist interpretations. In particular, he argues that, "the Revolution was very far from being bloodless", pointing out that Scotland and Ireland were both "marred by horrific violence". But the untold violence of the Revolution is just one of three main strands of his narrative that dispute the commonly-held view of this supposedly most quiet of upheavals.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A well written account of this crucial period in British history. In the foreword the author sets out the very differing views of the episode held both then and now and sets a course between them, not subscribing wholly to one or other of these camps. This makes for probably the most comprehensive and readable possible account of the complexities of this period.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very brief thoughts 6 July 2011
By Mysay
The 'Glorious Revolution' was one of the many holes in my knowledge of history. Either I was away from school/College on that day or it was never covered. I picked up this book to try and plug the gap and having read some very readable yet still 'academic' books recently gave it a go.

I now know about the Revolution but this book wasn't what I hoped. I didn't find it an easy read. Clearly the revolution was a complex one which involved religeous, (prots v caths v others), political (Whigs V Tories) , National (Dutch V Brit) and Brit countries (Eng, Scot, Ireland) and Personal family squabbles etc.. I don't think the book gave me the context I needed to understand all this and the other issues which came up, and I didn't find the narrative or writing sufficiently good to involve me or help me work it out. I didn't get any sense of the people involved, or about life in Britain in the period which other books have given me.

The start to the book nearly killed me off. The 20 page preface wasn't helpful, and the Titus Oates business which I think must have been put in to try and suck the reader into a murder mystery type thrill didn't work for me since it just threw a lot of people, motives and complexity at me before 'setting the scene'.

I don't have the knowledge of the period to critique the book or its scholarship just to say that for me it ended up as a bit of a tedious grind which left me skipping chunks - a thing I rarely do - to get to the end quickly. Maybe I'm just a lightweight after all!
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