New perspectives on britain's civil wars

Smith, DL 

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The crisis that gripped the three kingdoms of England, Ireland, and Scotland in the mid-seventeenth century continues to fascinate historians. The sheer variety of names attached to these events reveals the diversity of interpretations and preoccupations that scholars have brought to them. ‘The English Civil War’, ‘the English Revolution’, and ‘the British Civil Wars’ are just three of the different labels found in the titles of the eight books under review. Between them, these books offer a valuable cross-section of current work on the period. They present a range of perspectives, principally on the 1640s and 1650s, and give a flavour of the experiences of very different individuals living through these extraordinary events. They also indicate the variety of approaches that historians are now adopting to the period, ranging from finely focused work on particular figures to the reconstruction of British (or un-English) dimensions, and the use of interdisciplinary methods. Rarely in this field can such a wide range of tools have been simultaneously applied to so many different areas or individuals or types of source material. Such varied approaches are essential for recovering the experiences and mindsets of those who lived through these events, and between them these books offer a vivid sense of the richness, diversity, and drama of the period. © 2003, Cambridge University Press. All rights reserved.

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4303 Historical Studies, 43 History, Heritage and Archaeology, 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
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Historical Journal
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Cambridge University Press