Academics and the general public alike have an understandable fascination regarding the Spanish Armada. The naval confrontation in the Channel in 1588 and the subsequent disastrous Spanish circumnavigation of the storm-lashed British coastline, helped shape world history from the end of the sixteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth.
Christopher Durston has produced here the sort of history which my generation of school students was brought up to regard as the norm, taking a celebrated episode of political and constitutional history and setting out to re-evaluate it by reading a broader and deeper collection of sources for it than ever before, in both local and national archives.
In the popular imagination, the geographical complexity of the Holocaust has been reduced to two Polish towns, Oswiecim and Warsaw. The death camp sited in the former has emerged as not only the definitive death camp and representative of the state-sponsored factory-like mass killings of the Holocaust, but also as a synonym for evil.
Professor Robert Bireley SJ in his study The Jesuits and the Thirty Years War: Kings, Courts, and Confessors proposes to answer three closely interrelated questions.
The 1715 rebellion has never really sparkled in the heroic iconography of the Jacobite cause. Within the old received narrative of doomed chivalry and defeated virtue, it inhabits a melancholic role, untouched by the colour and charisma of Charles Edward Stuart and the ’45, or the epic afterglow of Viscount Dundee’s earlier stand at Killecrankie.
The New Model Army’s Declaration of 14 June 1647 famously stated that ‘We were not a mere mercenary army, hired to serve any arbitrary power of state’. This phrase, a favourite of historians of the period, captures the fateful politicisation of Parliament’s army; an event that ultimately catapulted England into its dalliance with regicide and republican government.
In 1990 John Morrill edited a collection of essays entitled Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution.(1) It was based on the premise that Cromwell was too complex and difficult a subject to be best summed up by a single biographer, and so should be tackled by a team which represented the best current experts in different aspects of his personality and activi
The civil wars that engulfed the three kingdoms of England, Ireland and Scotland in the mid-17th century remain a battlefield, and generation after generation they retain a capacity to provoke passionate debate and heated historical controversy.
Ian Gentles’ book (a welcome addition to the British History in Perspective Series edited by Jeremy Black) is the first new biography of Oliver Cromwell in many years. The book contains significant new research, and Professor Gentles presents us with a far more in-depth picture of the private and public life of Cromwell than have previous biographers.
Compared with the Civil War centennial of 1961–5, the sesquicentennial celebration of the American Civil War has been a muted affair. President Barack Obama, mindful of the political trouble the Centennial Commission caused another Democrat, President John F. Kennedy, has steadfastly refused to appoint a successor to preside over the 150th anniversary.