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Going to the Wars: The Experience of the British Civil Wars 1638-1651 Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
No-one has previously attempted to cover the wars in the way Charles Carlton does, bringing together the experiences of individuals from the soldiers who were ordered to kill each other to the hapless civilians they plundered or worse. It deserves full marks for bringing home the sheer horror of the events, that led directly or indirectly to the death and permanent ruin of a far higher proportion of the population of every part of Britain than any conflict before or since. This is no mean feat, given that 17th century Englishmen were not particular likely to record their experiences, much less their feelings, in a way that the modern mind can easily relate to.
There is a huge 'but' though and it is to do with unforgivably sloppy writing, editing and fact checking. On one single page, for example, Carlton refers to 'Strafford', then 'the earl of Strafford', then 'Thomas Wentworth, earl of Strafford'. All the same man and quite clearly the wrong way around.
To pick just on the localities I know best, Carlton at least twice correctly names Edward Massey as the governor of Gloucester during the siege, then on another occasion names him as Colonel Sir George Massey, who never existed; he has the county levies being smashed by the Royalists in Gloucester, not Cirencester (despite later repeating three times in the same chapter that the majority of those who were captured by the Royalists at Cirencester signed up to serve them); worse still, he even once puts the siege of Gloucester, by many people's reckoning the turning point of the war, in 1644 instead of 1643.Read more ›
The book is full of fascinating stuff for anyone interested in the history of this conflict and would be a great starting point for someone familiar with the outlines of events but wanting a more in-depth view of life at the time. The writing is good rather than great but is perfectly competent.
It[s not just politics and battles it's people and this author never forgets it.
However, readers (especially those new to the period)should be aware of a couiple of things:
1) The author is pre-Royalist, and this colours his interpretation in some areas.
2) His account of the general history of the period and the course of the major battles relies too much on either generalist work or books that have since been surpassed. For example he ignores Newman's account of Marston Moor.
3) The editing and fact checking is poor in places. For example there are accounts of parliamentarians fighting roundheads (!), and the assertion that Rupert's dog was killed at Naseby whilst Rupert hid in a beanfield is just unforgiveable.
Having said that everyone with an interest in the period should read this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's great to have these type of books available on Kindle as I need them as reference all the time.Published 21 months ago by atb731
OK - this was only the free taster so that heavily affects this review. However, all it consists of is a number of illustrations that are very difficult to get any details from on... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Andy Banfield
Book is a bit heavy going but is very infomative and thought provoking. I have am intetest in this time and will read ot againPublished on 4 Aug. 2012 by Trev
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