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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent, yet highly elitist, selection of sources with good, concise explanation
Tristram Hunt's book on the English (and it is almost exclusively English, with little on Ireland and Scotland, though he admits that early on, and to be fair that's not a bad thing) is of course, as the title would suggest, only minimally his book as such, at least 4/5ths being primary sources. Therefore it ought to be judged on two levels: the selection of sources and...
Published 15 months ago by Darryn

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars How much better it could have been!
This is a most readable account of the events surrounding the English Civil wars. It is dependent upon primary sources but, most regrettably, fails to give any reference to those sources apart from a bibliography. It is therefore very difficult for the student to locate the works cited by this author. This is a serious failing, but otherwise the book is a good and...
Published 16 months ago by Mr M D Tanner


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent, yet highly elitist, selection of sources with good, concise explanation, 23 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: The English Civil War At First Hand (Paperback)
Tristram Hunt's book on the English (and it is almost exclusively English, with little on Ireland and Scotland, though he admits that early on, and to be fair that's not a bad thing) is of course, as the title would suggest, only minimally his book as such, at least 4/5ths being primary sources. Therefore it ought to be judged on two levels: the selection of sources and Hunt's explanations of them, the Virgil to our Dante whilst guiding us through this tumultuous time. The former he does decently, with a variety of sources (usually letters), the chief amongst these being Clarendon, Hutchinson and Cromwell's own letters. This obviously is flawed, since all, three of these figures (as well as most others) came from the elite of society, though granted it was a very diverse elite he took it from (no one side is given particular bias). Most other centuries in history I would understand such an approach, but mid-17th century England has such a wide variety of sources from every spectrum of society that giving the elite such preferrence whilst neglecting others (Wallington only gets a few quotes despite his vast array of words, more than any of the main three mentioned). Also given that the title had the words 'first hand' this also means that some sources such as Hutchinson and Clarendon were later historical retellings than actual first hand material. I wouldn't dismiss them, and since the book is certainly for the beginner, it's understandable
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Readable introduction, 30 July 2005
By A Customer
As a History teacher I thought that Dr Hunt's book would provide an excellent source of primary material for me to pepper my lessons with and I was not disappointed. The author's readable style and justifiable choice of sources makes for a pleasant, chornological investigation of Britain during this tempestuous period. Dr Hunt clearly explains the complicated poitical wrangling that preceded the war and this book would prove either a good starting place for someone new to the topic, or a clarification tool for those wanting to have a rough overview of everything they had encountered so far.
All I would say to Dr Hunt is that, yes, some aspects of the period were indeed amusing, and rather than very vaguely alluding to this, you could have more of a sense of humour! A king stuck between bars on a window as he tries to escape is funny, lighten up!
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3.0 out of 5 stars How much better it could have been!, 28 Jan. 2014
This review is from: The English Civil War At First Hand (Paperback)
This is a most readable account of the events surrounding the English Civil wars. It is dependent upon primary sources but, most regrettably, fails to give any reference to those sources apart from a bibliography. It is therefore very difficult for the student to locate the works cited by this author. This is a serious failing, but otherwise the book is a good and informative read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars english civil war at first hand, 4 Aug. 2013
This review is from: The English Civil War At First Hand (Paperback)
Unputdownable book! Simly written! this book is recommended for all students, before reading some academic books ( big words. No simple detailed picture) especially myself a beginner as it will put the full and detailed picture together, from all the letters and offical reports. The author is very good, he will describe the circumstances,and adds the point of these personal testimonies,that's spoken from the individual's letters,those who are fore and against, giving you an insight, and a clear picture of the scenes, throughout the building up stages against the king, and to lead into war: Lady hutchinson, who describes Charles, with Catholism, from mps,that include letters,also who speak of,and witnessing the Pym's courageous speeches( the critisiser and provoker), ect, in short parliament, KIng Charles,who walks in there, "..I see the birds in the cage have flown away..." and families, who are now divided, be victims throughout this war, and still write, and see the affect it has on those who witness the bloodshed at first hand on the battlefields. Even including, the trial written by the offical report in the court, and levellers( Also famous Debates, are written as they were said ). And to eventually hear the words of Cromwell in good time, on the battle field, witnesses that speak of him, and to as a leader, in his own words.
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31 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Old England's Fear of New England's Tears, 7 Aug. 2006
By 
I was disappointed by Tristram Hunt's selection of primary source material in this otherwise robust account of the

English Civil War. Dr Hunt is obviously a man whose appetite for radical ideas does not extend to religion. His account of the period relies heavily on the evidence left by the Royalist historian Clarendon, who was writing some twenty years after the event, yet he spurns the opportunity to make greater use of the evidence left to us by Parliamentary supporters such as Nehemiah Wallington and Ralph Josselin. He also seems to gloss over the outrages perpetrated against civilians by the likes of "Prince Robber" Rupert. A more ambitious account of the war at first hand might have made more use of the evidence provided by Parliamentary supporters, such as Lady Brilliana

Hartley of Bramton Bryan. However, that said, the book represents an accessible introduction to the period by an

historian who is obviously enthralled by the political machinations of the King and Parliament as much as he is

repelled by Cromwell and the Puritans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars perfect reference for reenactors, 17 May 2015
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This review is from: The English Civil War At First Hand (Paperback)
Perfect for what I need. I'm new to the world of civil war reenactment and this book has given me the background knowledge that I needed.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The english civil War at First Hand, 30 July 2011
This review is from: The English Civil War At First Hand (Paperback)
Well written, concise and very informative. The first hand letters and speeches particularly of note. Gives a vivid and realistic picture of the English Civil War. Thoroughly recommended for all levels of interest in the English Civil War.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Super read., 8 Aug. 2014
This review is from: The English Civil War At First Hand (Paperback)
Excellent purchase. Arrived on time in excellent condition. Very good background on period. Extremely useful for subject.
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5.0 out of 5 stars and a great use of samples of written materials and images of ..., 20 Feb. 2015
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An interesting introduction to the Civil War, and a great use of samples of written materials and images of the time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars To be highly recommended. It throws some light on some of today's ..., 30 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: The English Civil War At First Hand (Paperback)
To be highly recommended . It throws some light on some of today's seemingly intractable problems.
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The English Civil War At First Hand
The English Civil War At First Hand by Tristram Hunt (Paperback - 27 Jan. 2011)
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