Friday, January 22, 2016

The History of England III, Civil War - Peter Ackroyd

Initially, I reckoned Ackroyd should have called this book 'The Stuarts' (as opposed to 'The Tudors') yet seeing the emphasis he lays on the war of the title, it probably is aptly named, after all.

Whereas Mary Queen of Scots is generally a lot of fun to study, her descendants are a less colourful bunch. Here is a short run-through of Ackroyd's 500 pages :

1. Ill-liked spendthrift James I rouses public opinion against him, yet instigates the landmark 'King James Bible' in 1611. An opus major for the English language and hence literature.

2. Arrogant and overbearing Charles I; even more resented than his dad.

3. Parliament says enough is enough, and the civil war of the title breaks out in 1642. 
Here treated lengthily! Way too lengthily to my taste. 
Christmas is abolished in 1643! Not an enduring ban, though.

4. Oliver Cromwell is Dictator Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, and then his surprisingly sensible son abdicates.

5. Restoration, 1658 : Welcome womanizing French-lover Charles II.

6. Peremptory and - worse! - Catholic James II is so unsufferable William of Orange is earnestly invited to come invade England and - voilà! The Glorious Revolution of 1688!

End of book which you now don't really need to read, unless you are particularly attracted to the English civil war. 
You are welcome.


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