The English Civil War: A People's History Paperback – 5 Feb 2007
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‘Rich, vivid and passionate…a moving, lyrical and principled piece of writing…Purkiss has a gift for evocation.’ Independent
‘You begin to get close to what it would have been like to live through the nine momentous years from 1640 to 1649…it would be hard to imagine anything more irresistible than this rich layer cake of a book, crammed with the stories and the voices that make history human.’ Guardian
‘Purkiss has an eye for the narrative vignette that can illuminate the age.’ Sunday Times
‘Wonderful…Purkiss offers a sumptuous portrait gallery of the men and women who lived, wrote and died during this turbulent period…A joyous read.’ Daily Telegraph
‘Narrative history at its best: gripping, heartfelt, complex.’ Mail on Sunday
‘This book vigorously brings the horror and humanity of the conflict to life.’ Financial Times
‘Light in touch, though grounded in an enormous wealth of documentary material this “people's history” shows how England’s men and women coped with quite extraordinary times.’ Scotsman
This is a remarkable popular history of the English Civil War, from the perspectives of those involved in this most significant turning point in British history. This compelling history, culminating in the execution of Charles I, brings to life the people who fought in it, died in it, and in doing so changed the history of the world forever. In an excitingly fresh approach to the period, Diane Purkiss tells the story of this critical era not just in terms of the battle of ideas, but as the histories of the people who conceived them. "The English Civil War" builds a gripping narrative of the individuals involved and their motives, from those whose reputations were made on the back of this violent and brutal war, such as Oliver Cromwell and Lady Eleanor Davies, to witchfinders and revolutionaries; and ultimately, the ordinary men who fought and the women who lived with tragedy, finding their political voice for the first time. The consequences of ten years of bloody revolution were to stretch from the cities to the villages to the grand houses, form Ulster to East Anglia to the outer reaches of Cornwall.The tales uncovered by Diane Purkiss paint a picture of a world turned upside down, where madness and prophesy play their part, and where normal life and times are suspended. This important book uncovers forgotten lives and illustrates incisively the critical contribution of this extraordinary period in English history to contemporary politics and society. See all Product description
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27 October 2017
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Books like these are why historians are so precious. If you want military and political history I'd still say stick to Trevor Royle's a The War of the Three Kingdoms, but for a sense of what it was like to live through the English Civil Wars this cannot be beaten.
3 November 2016
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Great to see the faces behind the headlines, those people who are sometimes totally forgotten or who only appear in the histories by accident or as footnotes. I could have done with a bit more of the 'standard' history as well, but that's due to my almost total ignorance of the period. Despite that, I found this an absorbing place at which to start dispelling that ignorance.
31 March 2018
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Heavy going as the writing is so bad. I found myself forever re-reading sections as the narrative is disjointed.
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Most recent customer reviews
Fantastically vivid due to the stories of a wide range of people at all levels of society. In concentrating on the lives of the people who lived & died during it, a more visceral...Read more
I got this history book from Waterstones but I didn't know that what I was going to read was very academic, but reading the French Revolution beforehand gave me the courage of...Read more
An engaging narrative history of England’s most important war. It is constructed round the experiences of individuals on both sides as recorded in their letters and diaries.Read more
I started the book as a person knowing relatively little about the English Civil War, and I ended the book feeling as if I had learnt very little.Read more
Extremely readable, fascinating and well researched. More of a very good read than a heavy academic time.
I found this a curiously unsatisfying book., the author clearly knows her stuff and it is crammed with detail about the period, but it seems to be less than the sum of it's parts...Read more
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