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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 23 February 2014
Tristram Hunt's book on the English (and it is almost exclusively English, with little on Ireland and Scotland, though he admits that early on, and to be fair that's not a bad thing) is of course, as the title would suggest, only minimally his book as such, at least 4/5ths being primary sources. Therefore it ought to be judged on two levels: the selection of sources and Hunt's explanations of them, the Virgil to our Dante whilst guiding us through this tumultuous time. The former he does decently, with a variety of sources (usually letters), the chief amongst these being Clarendon, Hutchinson and Cromwell's own letters. This obviously is flawed, since all, three of these figures (as well as most others) came from the elite of society, though granted it was a very diverse elite he took it from (no one side is given particular bias). Most other centuries in history I would understand such an approach, but mid-17th century England has such a wide variety of sources from every spectrum of society that giving the elite such preferrence whilst neglecting others (Wallington only gets a few quotes despite his vast array of words, more than any of the main three mentioned). Also given that the title had the words 'first hand' this also means that some sources such as Hutchinson and Clarendon were later historical retellings than actual first hand material. I wouldn't dismiss them, and since the book is certainly for the beginner, it's understandable
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on 31 August 2015
I wanted to learn more about this period of History as it's just not covered by the Nat.Curriculum. The book was easy to read and used some excellent sources. I liked the way it used a timeline of events at the beginning of each chapter and focused on the events as much as the characters of Charles and Cromwell.
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on 30 July 2005
As a History teacher I thought that Dr Hunt's book would provide an excellent source of primary material for me to pepper my lessons with and I was not disappointed. The author's readable style and justifiable choice of sources makes for a pleasant, chornological investigation of Britain during this tempestuous period. Dr Hunt clearly explains the complicated poitical wrangling that preceded the war and this book would prove either a good starting place for someone new to the topic, or a clarification tool for those wanting to have a rough overview of everything they had encountered so far.
All I would say to Dr Hunt is that, yes, some aspects of the period were indeed amusing, and rather than very vaguely alluding to this, you could have more of a sense of humour! A king stuck between bars on a window as he tries to escape is funny, lighten up!
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on 4 August 2013
Unputdownable book! Simly written! this book is recommended for all students, before reading some academic books ( big words. No simple detailed picture) especially myself a beginner as it will put the full and detailed picture together, from all the letters and offical reports. The author is very good, he will describe the circumstances,and adds the point of these personal testimonies,that's spoken from the individual's letters,those who are fore and against, giving you an insight, and a clear picture of the scenes, throughout the building up stages against the king, and to lead into war: Lady hutchinson, who describes Charles, with Catholism, from mps,that include letters,also who speak of,and witnessing the Pym's courageous speeches( the critisiser and provoker), ect, in short parliament, KIng Charles,who walks in there, "..I see the birds in the cage have flown away..." and families, who are now divided, be victims throughout this war, and still write, and see the affect it has on those who witness the bloodshed at first hand on the battlefields. Even including, the trial written by the offical report in the court, and levellers( Also famous Debates, are written as they were said ). And to eventually hear the words of Cromwell in good time, on the battle field, witnesses that speak of him, and to as a leader, in his own words.
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on 17 May 2015
Perfect for what I need. I'm new to the world of civil war reenactment and this book has given me the background knowledge that I needed.
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on 30 July 2011
Well written, concise and very informative. The first hand letters and speeches particularly of note. Gives a vivid and realistic picture of the English Civil War. Thoroughly recommended for all levels of interest in the English Civil War.
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on 28 January 2014
This is a most readable account of the events surrounding the English Civil wars. It is dependent upon primary sources but, most regrettably, fails to give any reference to those sources apart from a bibliography. It is therefore very difficult for the student to locate the works cited by this author. This is a serious failing, but otherwise the book is a good and informative read.
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on 8 August 2014
Excellent purchase. Arrived on time in excellent condition. Very good background on period. Extremely useful for subject.
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on 20 February 2015
An interesting introduction to the Civil War, and a great use of samples of written materials and images of the time.
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on 30 November 2014
To be highly recommended . It throws some light on some of today's seemingly intractable problems.
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