3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Thorough and enjoyable,
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This review is from: The Great Siege of Chester (Paperback)
It's little known just how much of an important role the city of Chester played during the English Civil War. In the seventeenth century, as in the days of the Roman Empire, Chester was of vital strategic importance, commanding access to North Wales, and crucially providing a landing stage for troops from Ireland, which explains why so much fighting took place in and around the city during the 1640s. King Charles made several visits to the city to rally support, realising just how valuable an asset it would be to his war aims, and the tower upon where he supposedly sat to watch his troops retreating from defeat still exists today.
This book charts the course of the struggle between Royalist Chester, under Lord Byron, and the Parliamentarian Sir William Brereton. Drawing frequently upon primary sources, the fighting, carnage and desperation of the people starving within its walls are never too far out of reach for the imagination of a 21st century reader. The memoirs of a certain Randle Holmes recount the incessant shelling, and the attempted attacks on the breaches in the city's walls, and his narrative continues through the darkest days of the siege, and even beyond the war to when the city is struck down by plague. For anybody familiar with Cheshire there is the added interest of the lesser places that frequently appear, Tarporley, Christleton, Nantwich, Dodleston and Shotwick to name but a few. The latter, now some two miles away from the River Dee, was then an important fording point over the sprawling estuary; it is little facts like these that make this work such a treasure chest of knowledge. Aside from the conflict, I found the work to be quite useful in building up a mental picture of what the world was like in Cheshire and North Wales during the early seventeenth century, and would no doubt suit those studying social issues in the area during this time.
This book is an important starting point for anyone studying this subject, and naturally leads on to further reading. I found it as enjoyable as it was informative, and therefore would suit someone looking for a pleasure read.