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This review is from: 1649: Crisis of the English Revolution (Paperback)
Brian Manning's series of books on the English Revolution focus closely on what he calls `the middling sort of people', that group of rural and urban small producers who still possessed non-market access to the means of production, but who were dividing between those struggling to become capitalists, and those struggling against being sucked into an emerging proletariat. Manning sees the course of the English Revolution defined largely by the dynamism of this class, by the fact that it is in a state of flux. Importantly, for Manning, classes are dynamic relationships, not homogeneous and static phenomena, so class struggle occurs within as well as between classes.
In `1649: The Crisis of the English Revolution' he takes up the regicide, the relationship between the New Model Army leadership, lower ranking officers, rank and file soldiers, radical religious sectaries and the Levellers and the making and aftermath of the coup d'etat of Dec 1648 - Jan 1649 and the emerging anti-Cromwellian resistance. It includes a powerful, yet gently playful, critique of historians' confusion of status and class, which was an attempt to undermine analyses based upon class struggle. There is an excellent short treatment of the Diggers as a movement, and not just Gerrard Winstanley as a political theorist. Manning also delivers a study of patriarchy, gender and generational relationships in a revolutionary period. There is a careful and nuanced treatment of the army mutinies of 1649, the role of the Levellers in the mutinies and of the Cromwellian leadership calling a halt to the revolution.
As ever with Manning, the writing is crystal clear, the evidence thoughtfully sifted and the argument careful.