To a political historian, little is more important than politics (in the broad sense, as in the case of this book, incorporating religious division and the Reformation), and a book about a parliament is pre-eminently political.
When a late-medieval or Tudor historian is asked to compare and contrast a historical novel with a scholarly book that both take as their subject Thomas Cromwell, and the latter work has been written by the late G R Elton, the inevitable disclaimer becomes compulsory unless that historian has spent several decades inhabiting a historiographically-isolated cave during the rise and fall of t
For those historians who have studied the English Reformation or the writing of polemics, histories and plays in the 16th century the name John Bale (1495–1563) appears high on the list of English scholars supporting a reformist agenda. Bale popularised the genre of martyrology for an English audience, later taken to its logical conclusion in John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.
Sir Walter Scott, masquerading both as ‘The Author’, as well as his pompous alter-ego, the historian ‘Dr Jonas Dryasdust’, inserted the following dialogue into the beginning of his historical novel of the Restoration period, Peveril of the Peak (1823):
In seminar rooms from Dornoch to St Andrews, in Dublin, and around Europe, early modern history informed by social network theory is promoted with an almost religious fervour. Those of us who continue to take a deep interest in ‘bureaucratic structures and administrative measures’ (p. 179), here ridiculed by Keith Brown, can find its popularity as baffling as that of Twitter.
This book will give heart to anyone who has ever confronted the staggering number of works published between 1500 and 1800 devoted to ecclesiology and the nature and role of episcopacy in the English church.
The idea of an age of absolutism has lately fallen out of fashion, for several reasons. The word absolutism was coined only in the 19th century and the concept of a generic absolutist model can easily obscure significant differences between various monarchical states.
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.
Charles Carlton’s lively and readable book is an attempt to discern ‘how war … affected the history of early modern Britain’ (p. xx) between the battles of Bosworth (1485) and Culloden (1746).
This is a fascinating and absorbing account of Royalist conspiracy and spies throughout the Civil Wars and the Commonwealth and Protectorate. It highlights the increasing importance of underground Royalist activity as the Stuart monarchs failed to regain their kingdoms.