The World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas During the English Revolution (Penguin History) Paperback – 12 Dec 1991
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About the Author
Christopher Hill was educated at St Peter's School, York, and at Balliol College, Oxford, and in 1934 was made a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. In 1936 he became lecturer in modern history at University College, Cardiff, and two years later fellow and tutor in modern history at Balliol. After war service, which included two years in the Russian department of the Foreign Office, he returned to Oxford in 1945. From 1958 until 1965 he was university lecturer in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century history, and from 1965 to 1978 he was Master of Balliol College. After leaving Balliol he was for two years a Visiting Professor at the Open University. Dr Hill, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and of the British Academy, has received numerous honorary degrees from British universities, as well as the Hon. Dr. Sorbonne Nouvelle in 1979.
His publications include Lenin and the Russian Revolution; Puritanism and Revolution; Society and Puritanism in Pre-Revolutionary England; Reformation to Industrial Revolution (second volume in the Penguin Economic History of Britain); God's Englishman: Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution; The World Turned Upside Down; Milton and the English Revolution, which won the Royal Society of Literature Award; The Experience of Defeat: Milton and Some Contemporaries; A Turbulent, Seditious and Factious People: John Bunyan and His Church, which won the 1989 W. H. Smith Literary Award; The English Bible and the Seventeenth-Century Revolution, which was shortlisted for the 1993 NCR Book Award; and Liberty against the Law. Many of these titles are published by Penguin.
Dr Hill is married with two children.
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Top Customer Reviews
So what is actually in this volume ? The thrust of the book is that the Civil Wars were a 'revolution', and that within this event - which did turn over the world as men knew it - both 'common people' and a middle class played an important intellectual role. Hill's main concern is not chronology, but the ideas and philosophy. The moot point of course is whether what actually happened is reconcilable with the 'social tensions' and 'class antagonism' which Hill regarded as a mainspring of events. Whatever your opinion on this crucial matter Hill clearly researched extensively, covered widely, and wrote with great elegance and conviction.
Key players in Hill's thoughtful vision are the Diggers, Levellers, Seekers, Ranters and Quakers, all of whom he probed and explained with great lucidity. The unleashing of these non-comforming idealists who ranged across the spectrum from the sober and pacifist to the most wonderful and bizarre of crackpots did indeed have an impact on religion and society that stretched far beyond 1660.Read more ›
Hill begins the work with a general survey of the social, religious and economic background to the English Revolution; the forces which created it, and the openings it itself created through, eg, the New Model Army, the consequences of the Protestant Reformation, and so on. Hill is looking at 'internal' and 'external' causes of the 'flourishing of radical ideas' in the revolutionary decades, 1640-1660. He traces the development of the ideas in themselves, and the response to social conditions, conceived here in the broadest sense possible. Thus his work follows a sophisticated dialectical structure, whereby 'ideas' are discussed in themselves, but always related to the social and cultural millieu in which they operate.
And what ideas! Christopher Hill shows enormous sympathy for the 'exhilirating freedom' of the revolutionary decades. He shows us, like Thompson, people making their own history, not because but in spite of thier 'circumstance'.Read more ›
Thompson's 'The Making of the English Working Class' is the most famous publication of the group, but 'World turned Upside Down' is, in the humble opinion of this author, the best.
It expands on Hill's thesis about the two revolutions that took place in England at the time of the Civil War. Focussing on the second, democratic, revolution, that ultimately failed; Hill examines some of the main players.
Groups such as The Levellers, The Diggers and The Ranters are examined as are the early Quakers, in a way that is sad, compelling and eminently readable. At the same time important questions are asked about the so-called 'traditional' view of history.....
Buy this book, read it and inject the arguments into your brain
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fine addition to the history collection in my home library regarding this critical period in history!Published 21 months ago by Harry Donaghy
I found this rather "intellectual" and hard going. Uninterestingly written. I gave up about third of the way through.Published on 5 July 2014 by Mr S P Crouch
Christopher Hill is an outstanding scholar who understands and loves his subject. He documents the age of radicalism and the prophets of radical thought from the 17 century.Published on 3 Jan. 2014 by Sylvester Hutton
: This is a classic text of left-wing history - throwing light on a fascinating aspect of seventeenth century English history and giving a sympathetic picture of the turmoil of... Read morePublished on 7 July 2013 by H. M. Hughes Mrs Helen Hughes
As a history sudentent Christopher Hill appeals to me because of the way he presents his ideas. His works are great in helping you develop your own ideas, partly because of his... Read morePublished on 23 Oct. 2009 by Coral Carrington
In the same way that many teenage readers of fiction adore the novels of D.H.Lawrence, so do many young history students become great fans of Christopher Hill. Read morePublished on 19 Mar. 2002
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